Friday, March 02, 2007

Coffee with Kasey and Case

So I just discovered this new website where you can find videos and stuff ... OK, no, I'm not that clueless, but I'm not much of a YouTube surfer either. However, I just came across this horrible recording of a particular song, and it made me happy enough to share.

About four years ago, I moved to Vancouver after living in Mexico for two years. I'd never lived here - I'm an Alberta girl - so I didn't have a job to return to, didn't have an apartment, didn't know anyone. I did have an aunt and uncle in the area who I didn't know very well at the time, but whose house was as big as their hearts, and they invited me to stay with them until I got on my feet. Still, I wanted my own place within the month at least, which meant I wanted an easily obtainable McJob while I looked for a "real" job. So I worked at Starbucks for the first few months after I arrived, and I have to say, despite the fact that it felt like a huge step backward career-wise, and my soul died a little every time I put on the green apron, it was fun, and they treated their employees far better than most other service industry places I've worked. Scratch that - far better than many places I've worked. Plus, free beverages.

Anyway, Starbucks had taken over Hear Music, or maybe it was always a Starbucks brand, and the espresso machine whine was balanced with some cool music from that label playing in the background. In this crazy busy downtown Vancouver coffee hub, where two Starbucks stores stare each other down across the street, there was never a lot of time to focus on the music. But like the smell of burnt coffee beans, a couple of beautifully melancholy songs absorbed into my skin. When I left my career as a barista, I couldn't shake the melodies from my head. But I had never thought to discover the names of the singers or of the songs. I think the overpowering coffee aroma did something to my cognitive abilities.

One was easy enough: I Googled the line "Not Pretty Enough" to find Australian alt-country chick Kasey Chambers (and, today, the cheesy video for it).

The other was not so easy. I had never paid much attention to the lyrics, and only the line "I'm so tired, I'm so tired ... blah blah blah blah blah blah blah" had stuck. Try Googling "I'm so tired" and see how far you get. At least I knew it wasn't The Beatles; it was definitely a woman. I tried every combination I could think of for the blah blah part, hoping my subconscious would come to the rescue. My subconscious let me down.

Cut to a couple of years later, and a friend and I were on Vancouver Island to visit a friend of hers who had this gorgeous but secluded house in the woods and was dying for company. He was cooking us dinner to the accompaniment of Neko Case when The Song came on, the song I'd been trying intermittently for a couple of years to find.

"I'm so tired, I'm so tired, and I wish I was the moon tonight."

Well, what the hell? "I Wish I Was the Moon." Can't blame my subconscious for not getting that one. I believe my friend and her friend thought I was a complete freak when I got way too excited about the music suddenly, and breathlessly tried to explain why, that it wasn't just that I like the song so much, it's that I like the song so much and I thought it was lost to me forever, and then there it is, like a gift.

This clip absolutely does not do justice to it, but even though it's now been part of my iTunes favourites for a while, the moment of discovery of even this terrible recording made my heart leap a little.