SOME OF THE BEST
16 December, 1999
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Photo by Dan Chapman ©2001 Stanyan
A Thought for Today
Who is not a love seeker when December
comes, even children pray to Santa Clause.
A DAY IN
Now and again I get a note
from Jay Hagan saying that what people really want to read in my daily
Flight Plan is what I’m doing at the moment. Lots of other letter writers
send variations of the same thing.
I find my personal life pretty dull. I work too hard and I hardly play at
all anymore. Romance is up or down or not at all. Let’s be honest, who
wants to be involved with anyone who out of habit will always be more
involved with his work that he probably ever can be with you?
For better or worse I live with an anal retentive neatnick and any
organizational skills I have come out of being disorganized. Together we
make “The Odd Couple” seem like The von Trapp Family. Trust me, life in
our Southern California house is no TV sitcom.
But here goes and remember you asked for it. Don’t blame me if it’s
boring. What did I do today? After opening a couple of parcels Wade sent
me from back east I wrote him the following letter, which pretty much says
December 14, 1999
So FedEx delivers these three
glorious ego-boosting items just when I need a little help. (Haven't been
out of the house for a couple of weeks and work is mounting; Edward & I
have had a spat that has lasted one full week - as of today that shows no
sign of stopping any time soon & you could only cut the tension around the
house with a very heavy cleaver; no Christmas spirit of any kind and the
thought of driving myself to the Mac to write yet another Flight Plan is
far from appetizing. Well, you get the picture.)
So which to open first. The CD with the neat cover showing five fresh
looking young men collectively called Westlife which contains one of my
songs; The new book "Sessions with Sinatra" that drops my name a couple of
times or the annual Christmas card from The White House. Each in its own
way a kind of pat on the back. You know, as if to say, “You’re not as bad
as you think you are.”
How is it you always manage to send the right things at the right time?
Including, but not confined to thoughtful mystery parcels that once opened
lift big weights off tired shoulders. Naturally reminding me of all the
years we worked side by side and I counted on the support from you that
was always there.
I liked Westlife's version of "Seasons in the Sun," their approach was
thoughtful and the arrangement didn't fall back on any of the clichés that
have unfortunately become associated with many versions of the song. I
listened to some of the other tracks on the disc and the guys are good
too. How refreshing to find a new 'boy band' that seems original even to
the extent of devoting an entire album to ballads.
"Sessions with Sinatra" is an important book. Aside from the obvious, it
is very much a work about recording in General. It traces techniques from
cylinder to CD. There is a history of studios, including some of our
favorites (Western & United, for instance) There's interesting information
on owners and layouts of studios, engineers, producers, and an absorbing
dictionary of microphones that certainly brought back a lot of memories.
Acoustic, electrical and finally digital recording is all discussed and
always with the backdrop of Sinatra sessions - from RCA to Reprise and
back again to Capitol - woven into a very serious work. It's easy reading
while being intelligent and intellectual. Everyone who's ever made a
recording should have it and anyone who ever wondered how recordings were
made should read it.
This year’s card from President & Mrs. Clinton is a snowy watercolor view
of the North Portico of The White House with wreaths at lighted windows,
by American artist Ray Ellis. The message underneath the presidential seal
on the inside reads
"Our family wishes you and yours a blessed holiday season
filled with treasured memories of past traditions and joy and peace in the
It's signed Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton. It's a reminder that
there will only be one more Christmas card from President Clinton's White
Yes, Wade, your parcels and the forwarded card were a timely and great
The day didn't pass without a few smiles. Yesterday Dwight came by to pick
up some product for Stanyan and stayed for dinner. Today I got the
"I'm wearing my nuclear suit, just protecting myself from atomic fall out
...the radiation level was very high over there yesterday ... should I
send in a team of scientists? I know people at NASA.Com :) Love, Dwight."
I know, I know, after all these years I should know and remember "I'm
sorry" is not in E.'s lexicon. Thanks again. Love, Rod
Two days ago Westlife’s version of “Seasons in the Sun” was released in
London as a single. According to friends in Great Britain enough copies
may have been pre-sold & shipped to guarantee it a place on the charts
next week. Hope you’ll keep me posted as to what happens.
- RM 12/15/99 Previously