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party poker

Matches ... candles ...

[Beatles Christmas Record (1966)]

During my high school years, I lived near a major freeway and occasionally broadcasted a loose-format twenty-minute talk show on CB channel 18 to the continual delight of the passing truckers (“I’m going to talk a lot about milkshakes tonight ... ” “Who the sombitch is that shit? Shut up, asshole!”) under the name “Jerry Todd.”1 It was all quite insipid, but the most enjoyable part of the program for me was just playing random sound samples with long pauses inbetween to allow truckers time to compose their own freeform insults in reply2. One of my favorite sound sources during this time was the Beatles Christmas Collection, an LP compilation of the 45s they put out each Christmas, from 1963 to 1969. The first few years the messages were very personable: hey, how’s it going, thanks for being fans, etc. Then they started taking drugs. In 1966, they stopped reading the dull third-party scripts and wrote their own material. Falsettos, sound effects, surreal speech (Lennon 1968: “ ... the sound of a manservantile defectively lasting barred up in a love-dizzy gar-di-dell time. How close can you Gettysburg and ever underly council ya originally a birdbathy ...”), and small narratives were jam-packed into each double-sided flexi. One segment (clocking in at 52 seconds) centered around a dilemma shared by “Podgy the bear” (Lennon) and “Jasper” (Harrison in falsetto). The chums need to go to the shop to buy matches, candles, and buns, so Podgy tells Jasper to make a list.

“There’s no more paper to write on, Podgy.”
“No need to worry, Japser. You keep saying to yourself ‘matches’ and I’ll keep saying ‘candles’ until we reach the shop. Then we won’t need to write it down. We’ll remember.”
“Who’ll remember the buns, Podgy?”
“We both will, Jasper ... matches ...”

The truckers couldn’t get enough of that one. There are at least five different CD compilations of all the Christmas flexidiscs occasionally being offered up only at your favorite online auction shoppe because they’re all apparently bootlegs, or you could buy the original album (it’ll set ya back $250).

Jeff Stendec (October 29, 2001)

1 Eventually I met one of my (and quite possibly the only) non-mobile “listeners.” My friend and I got in the car with an in-dash CB radio, and the listener directed us via CB to his house. We drove by, he waved from the upstairs window.

2 Yes, it would have been smart to record this, and then even maybe play it back to different truckers at a later date. That would have been a corker. You should have mentioned it back then.

Tags: audio | repetition