Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Monday, May 09, 2005


I had a hankering for Barry White while washing dishes tonight. Love the voice, love the beats, love the tunes. Love the semi-comic, often-mocked reputation for sexiness too. Tonight it occurred to me: Those of us who’ve mocked, we were wrong.

People chalk up his sexiness to his basso voice and the beats, but more than the voice, it’s what he does with it. He wrote most of his hits and produced them all -- I’ve always hepped to his musicianship. But his singing really sank in tonight.

One of my faves, with the witty title and tag line:

I’m qualified to satisfy you
Anyway you want me to
Qualified to satisfy you
Anyway you want me to

It’s easy to joke about getting certification in satisfaction-delivery, state board certified, blah blah blah, but can you think of very many lyrics as devoted to the pleasures of the beloved?

I’m your man and you know I can
Make you feel the way you want to
Just tell me whatever you need
And that’s what I’m gonna do

It’s a complex lasciviousness, compounded of confidence and enthusiasm, but also tenderness and generosity, and, in other songs, vulnerability. It’s the complete sexy package.

And in this song, he sounds really, really, really happy at the prospect of making “you feel the way you want to.”

Right on.


Earlier this evening, after dinner, we hit the living room dance floor to my late grandmother’s old LP of Reiner conducting the Chicago Symphony in Rossini Overtures. Such a range in dynamics and in tempos! Reiner and the band rocked it hard. The 2-year-old and I tore it up trying to keep up with the crazy beat. My beloved spouse joined us for a bit too. Cathartic!

After the 2-year-old went bedward, I watched a TV soap opera I’m into, though I miss a lot of episodes, Everwood, a show I got semi-hooked on one lazy night when seeing someone I know in a main role stopped me in my channel surf mid-wave (metaphor trouble here, sorry), and then, surprise, I enjoyed the melodrama. Tom Amandes is the ex-brother-in-law of good friends of mine in Chicago. Years before he got famous I saw him shine in the lead role of a Bernard Shaw play at a professional, subsidized theater associated with the University of Chicago. He’s a darn fine director too, judging from the one -- surrealist -- play I saw him direct, under the table, in violation of his actor’s union rules. Long time ago. Anyway, he’s excellent in this role as the uptight, judgmental, self-critical, loving husband-dad-small-town-doctor. There’s a horribly manipulative cancer plot going on now, and I cried and cried tonight, and it was great. Cathartic!
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