One of the signature sounds of the holiday season is the song, Silver Bells. In its original form, this is one of the slowest, dreariest Christmas songs that is played each year. So, we have a one-color doodlewash in just Payne’s Grey in honor of it. The song is set at a tempo that makes it sound as if someone bumped into an old record player and accidentally changed the speed. You keep anticipating the next phrase, but it fails to come in a timely fashion, and rather than feeling joy, you just feel like you want to curl up and have a nap. I far prefer the uptempo sounds of Brenda Lee’s Jingle Bell Rock. Also, this was the song that was playing the first time Philippe and I met in Chicago, 5 years ago today, so it has a special meaning at the holidays. And Brenda Lee sounds a bit like an elf, so what’s not to love about that?!
Actually, we have holiday songs playing as I type this and Silver Bells just came on. I bet I can finish this post before it finally lopes along to its lackadaisical conclusion. One thing about the classics that is remarkable is that everyone sounds as if they’ve drunk too much eggnog spiked with whiskey. They slur each word and scoop up to try to find the next note in the song, very often succeeding. Listening to these songs after you yourself have had too much eggnog is rather metaphysical experience. That’s really only happened once as eggnog is far too rich in general to drink in excess. One season, however, my sister made rum balls so strong that a handful would knock you off your chair. Yet, they were so incredibly delicious that nearly everyone had a full handful. That was a rather happy holiday season to be sure.
No matter what music is playing, one thing is certain. This time of year makes me incredibly happy. I’m enthralled at the lights and thrilled by the food. I find each moment amazing and spend a year waiting for these moments to return to me again. It’s truly one of the most wonderful times of the year. And I was right, by the way, Silver Bells just now lumbered along to a conclusion and let us know that, “Soon it will be Christmas day.” Obviously using a word like “soon” in a song so ridiculously slow is meant to be some sort of irony. But this is, after all, the season of anticipation so maybe it’s the perfect song after all. An ode to a holiday countdown filled with excitement for the gifts ahead and the endearing, glittering beauty of those silver bells.
About the Doodlewash
Sennelier L’Aquarelle: Payne’s Grey. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon with black ink in a little red cloth hardbound l’aquarelle journal I found in a Paris shop.