A Horoscope, An Eye Exam, and Davy Jones

Davy Jones UKYou’re probably looking at the title of this blog post going, “What the hell?” Trust me. It all connects and it’s all a lot of introspective, realization bullshit that you probably don’t care about, but that’s okay. You can refer back to it when you decide I’m not acting like myself.

I’m going to try to make this as brief and witty as possible, so let’s start at the beginning.

I love horoscopes. I don’t care who knows it. I look at them very scientifically. Statistically speaking, given the number of people born under any given sign, it stands to reason that any horoscope on any given day would be accurate for at least one person and, hey, why not me? Besides, even when they’re flat out wrong, I’m amused, and sometimes they say I’m going to be a bitch or I should take it easy and be lazy and you’d better believe I use that like a doctor’s note.

Every year I have a solar return chart done. A solar return chart analyzes where the planets are in your chart for that given year. So, this year, it was about what planets are in what houses while I’m being 35. So, amusement and excuses. And once again, from a scientific standpoint, it’s interesting to try to figure out how much this information influences my behavior, consciously and subconsciously, and therefore makes the reading “true”.

This solar return chart said that I’d be dealing with self-worth and part of that would come with analyzing how people treat me. And to be honest, I have a tendency to be treated as an afterthought, not out of any malice, but just that’s how things have gotten to be. Other people and their needs come first because Kiki can take care of herself. And just like the horoscope said (probably because it’s been lying in my brain all year), this is really starting to come into better clarity for me. I realize this is an energy I carry with me and can project even when I don’t want to.

It was illustrated this past week when I went for an eye exam. I filled out my paperwork, was told it would be a few minutes, and that was the last time I saw anyone until I left almost an hour later. I never got the exam. I said I had an emergency and I had to leave. This was not a lie. I did have an emergency and that emergency was that I needed to get out of there. I hate eye exams and in the past few years, I’ve really come to dread dealing with the people there because they treat me like I haven’t been wearing glasses since I was in third grade and haven’t been wearing contacts since I was 13. Sitting in that little room, forgotten, did nothing for my mood or my temper.

And for everyone saying that they would have said something earlier about the wait, good for you. I didn’t say anything for two reasons. One, I would have been there longer in order to endure my exam and by that point I was done being there. Two, I was too busy having an existential crisis about being invisible. Basically, I was no longer in a good mental place to have this exam done and when you’re uptight about all things relating to eyeballs, that’s not a good place to be.

(I know that sounds stupid. I think it sounds stupid. And one day I might tell you all about my eyeball issues, but for now, let’s stick to the topic.)

I left. As the incident rolled over and over in my head, I realized that a) I need to find another eye place because I deserve to be as comfortable as possible when I’m doing something that gives me the anxiety and this place isn’t up to that challenge and b) I deserve to be seen and I deserve to be seen in everyday life without having to yell for attention. Right now, I feel like I have to scream at the top of my lungs just to be ignored rather than completely overlooked. And that can’t be acceptable anymore.

Then yesterday, I saw pictures from Davy Jones’s last performance as part of The Monkees. This would have been in 2011 when he was touring with Peter and Micky for the 45th anniversary. That year, they did a show within driving distance of me and I really wanted to go, but I didn’t go.

I didn’t go because I was working a day job that I hated, a job that didn’t like to give me any time off during the work week because “it would look bad” because I hadn’t been there “long enough”, a job that the guys I worked with hated doing  as much as I did and felt that was beneath them. I didn’t go because I put work ahead of everything else, like I always do, and decided that they were right and I hadn’t worked hard enough to earn that concert and shoved my heart’s desire to the bottom of the list. I told myself I’d have to catch the guys during the 50th reunion.

Because that’s what I’ve always done. Put what someone else wants first. No matter who it is, no matter what it is, it trumps me and whatever I have going on lest I risk being called selfish and be given lectures on hard work and earning fun things and how inconvenient it is for me to want to do things that I want to do. It is the established law of the west and one I’ve accepted.

Davy didn’t make it to the 50th reunion (which is next year) and I’ll never get another chance to see him perform.

That’s a supreme bummer to think about, but indicative of the way I’ve been running my world.

If I don’t respect my wants and needs and desires and goals and wishes and dreams and requirements, nobody else is going to either. Nobody else is going to go out of their way for me because I don’t go out of my way for me. I need to lead by example. It’s the only way shit is ever going to get done.

Me putting myself first sometimes is not going to go over well because it’s going to buck the status quo and the order of the Universe a lot and people are going to have to get used to seeing me even when I don’t yell for their attention.

But, hey. That’s what my horoscope said, man.

Monkees Music

The Best of The Monkees

In the weeks since Davy Jones passed away I’ve been listening to my Monkees albums and reading articles about him. What struck me was the music was typically discussed more than the show. Not to downplay the show at all (it did when an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series and truly is pretty outstanding), but considering how critically derided the band was for being created and not playing the instruments on their first two albums that’s quite an accomplishment.

In listening to the albums I have from start to finish several times, I realized just how much good music The Monkees made, a credit not only to the studio musicians and songwriters they worked with, but also to The Monkees themselves. Remember, after the second album, they took over creative control of their music.

I’m also reminded how much of their music ISN’T played today. My local oldies station did a Monkees music weekend in honor of Davy Jones and they played so many songs that never get airtime. Good songs. It occurred to me that when people think of The Monkees, they think of “Last Train to Clarksville”, “Daydream Believer”, and “I’m a Believer” first. Then maybe they remember “Pleasant Valley Sunday”, “(I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone”, “Mary, Mary”, and “Valleri”. Maybe.

Not wanting to let good music go to waste, here are the songs (a few from each album) that I don’t think you should miss:

From The Monkees: “This Just Doesn’t Seem to Be My Day”, “Take a Giant Step”, “Papa Gene’s Blues”

From More of The Monkees: “Auntie Grizelda”, “Look Out” (Here Comes Tomorrow)”, “Sometime In the Morning”

From Headquarters: “You Told Me”, “Sunny Girlfriend”, “Randy Scouse Git”

From Pieces, Aquarius, Capricorn, Jones LTD: “Daily Nightly”, “Love Is Only Sleeping”, “Star Collector”

From The Birds, The Bees, and The Monkees: “Auntie’s Municipal Court”, “PO Box 9847”, “Tapioca Tundra”

From Head Soundtrack: “Circle Sky”, “Long Title: Do I Have to Do This All Over Again”, “As We Go Along”

From Instant Replay: “Teardrop City”, “Someday Man”, “I Won’t Be the Same Without Her”

From The Monkees Present: “Bye Bye Baby Bye Bye”, “French Song”, “Listen to the Band”

From Changes: “Oh My My”, “Ticket on a Ferry Ride”, “99 Pounds”

From Pool It: “Heart and Soul”, “She’s Movin’ in with Rico”, “Gettin’ In”

From Justus: “You and I”, “I Believe You”, “Unlucky Stars”

Bonus Tracks: The Rhino re-issue CDs feature some really good bonus tracks. Two of my favorites are the live version of “Circle Sky” on Head and an alternate take (with different lyrics) of “Mommy and Daddy” on The Monkees Present.

My further unsolicited advice: All of their albums deserve a listen (including Live ’67, which has my favorite version of “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone” ever, and Then and Now…Best of the Monkees, which features three new tracks, “That Was Then, This Is Now”, “Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere”, and “Kicks”), but if you’re looking to start somewhere other than the beginning, start with Headquarters and then listen to Pieces, Aquarius,… as those two, I think, are two of their best.

You won’t regret it.

Remembering Davy

Davy Jones of The Monkees passed away on February 29, 2012 and he took with him to the great beyond my love, respect, and a little bit of my heart.

The Monkees are my favorite band. I make no secret of it and I admit it with pride. I love them. I love their TV show. I love their music. I love them individually and together.

I first became acquainted with The Monkees during their 20th anniversary tour. I was six and it was love at first sight and sound. Davy was my first favorite (over the years, they’ve each been my favorite to the point that now I can’t really pick). He was cute, he was small, he had a tambourine…what more could a six year old ask for?

Mom let me watch the show in the afternoons when everyone else had to be outside playing. I’d stay up extra late on the weekends to watch it, sneaking out of my room while Mom slept (Dad worked nights) to watch it on the TV in the living room (we only had one TV).

Then and Now: Best of the Monkees was the first tape I ever asked for. It was the first of ANYTHING I ever asked for, as I was raised by parents that didn’t abide by children asking for things every time we went to the store. But I saw the cassette among the others in the rack at Wal-Mart and I couldn’t stop myself. I asked my mother for it and instead of getting the negative answer and the lecture, Mom ended up getting it for me.

I still have that tape.

The first story I wrote (okay, maybe not the first, but definitely the first one I remember writing) involved The Monkees. Today it’s commonly known as fanfiction, but at six or seven, I had no idea there was a name for it. It was a “book” I wrote, complete with illustrated cover and big words (albeit misspelled). I was very proud of that story.

I still have it, tucked away with the papers I never want to lose.

Ten years later, I was living with Dad in housing and my parents were going through a rather bitter divorce. The typical challenges of being 16 were compounded by the war zone my parents created. Most kids hated going to school, but it was the only place I got to feel like an actual kid. At home, I was expected to be the adult.

As my luck would have it, The Monkees decided to celebrate their 30th anniversary, reminding me of the happy fun-times of my childhood. I dug that old tape out of the few things I had and it became my life raft in the stormy sea of what had become my life. I submerged myself into rediscovering The Monkees. I constructed a happy place out of their music and the show, filling it with news and stories and CDs and solo work and pictures and memorabilia and fandom.

The summer before my senior year, 1997, I worked for my cousin in her daycare. When I found out that The Monkees would be in Chicago in August, she became my partner in crime so that I could go to the concert.  Not only did she help me get the tickets, but she also took me and paid for the hotel room. The entire Monkees Trip Experience deserves to be retold in another post (and probably will be), but suffice it to say, I had an amazing time at the concert, watching three of the four men that I credited with keeping my head above water perform on stage.

My senior year is forever tied to The Monkees. I listened to Justus so much I’m surprised the CD didn’t wear out. Mom enabled my obsession, getting me a cardboard cutout of the group from a music store. Papa got me a few their CDs. My sister helped me decorate my graduation cap with the Monkees logo. I had all four of their names written on it. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have made it through high school with any sort of sanity intact (though, friends might argue the sanity part, since my graduation cap also featured “Loco 4 Life” written on it and my nickname was Skitz, short for skitzo, but I stand by what I mean).

My Monkees Happy Place was built to last and over the years, I’ve only added to it with more music (not just The Monkees, but their solo stuff as well), shows, and memorabilia. Family and friends see Monkees stuff and they think of me. I had a friend bring me a Monkeemobile model car from Canada because he saw it there and thought of me. I’ve grabbed unique items off of eBay and been able to find the not so easy to find music on Amazon. I visit it often; my iPod is full of Monkees music and on shuffle. I don’t go a day without hearing one of their songs. Bummer of a day? Nothing an episode or two can’t fix. I’m working on a collage of their album art. It’ll be really great addition to the happy place when it’s finished.

But first, I need to fix the happy place.

On Leap Day, the Universe kicked down a wall of my happy place. Davy’s death leaves a pretty big hole, one that I will patch up with memories and music and pictures. It won’t be the same, of course. But even though Davy slipped from the mortal coil and crossed the horizon into the next world, he left behind a lifetime that he shared with the world. His smile, his laugh, his voice have all been preserved. It’s not the same, but it’s not that different, in a way. At least for someone like me, a fan that only got to see the star from a distance. It’s the future that’s been compromised, not the past. He can’t do anything more, but he’s already done so much.

And he did more for me than he can ever know. Except maybe now, he’s in a place that he does. I hope he knows how much I appreciate it all.

Catch you on the flip side, Davy Jones.

Rerun Junkie–The Monkees

I know I’ve talked about the music before, but now let’s focus on the show. After all, it’s the reason for the music anyway, right? At least in the beginning.

The premise was simple enough: four band members lived in a kickin’ beach pad and had wacky adventures while playing really catchy tunes that are still played to day. Most episodes got two songs and these were usually set to “romps” in which the boys and the guest starts ran around and acted silly. There were also given an excuse to play at least one number in many episodes.

The second season got a little crazier as the guys were more prone to imporve and more prone to smoking pot. There weren’t so much as script as there were guidelines to an epidsode and even tehn they were quite loose. The episodes, though a little stranger, were still fun.  “The Devil and Peter Tork”, “Fairy Tale”, and “The Monkees Christmas Show” remain to fan favorites.

Peter, Mike, Micky, and Davy. Yes, I know what episode this is from.

The band was comprised of Davy, the cute one; Micky, the crazy one; Mike, the in-charge one; and Peter, the dumb one. Okay, that’s over-simplifying things a bit, but the point was there was a “type” for every girl (though the target girls ended up being 8-12). Davy was the teen idol heartthrob with a British accent bonus. Micky was as charming and funny with a good heart. Mike was the epitome of the strong, sarcastic Texan with a protective air. And Peter was sweet, sensitive, and a little naive, which made you want to protect him. I think every one of these guys has been my favorite at some point or another. I think they planned it that way. Very clever.

The show managed to attract some fun guest starts including Rose Marie, Julie Newmar, Lon Chaney Jr, Monte Landis, Phil Leeds, Butch Patrick, Ron Maask, Rip Taylor, Ruth Buzzi, and Joey Forman.

Sporadic reruns of the show have garnered new generations of fans. I got hooked when I was six during their 20th anniversary tour. Though I listen to the music almost daily (I’ve got all but 2 albums on my iPod and I will have those one day, oh yes), I still love watching the show, particularly when I need a mood boost. Most of the eps I have are on VHS. It’s the only reason I still have a VCR.

I can’t imagine a higher compliment than that.


Where I Watch It