Saturday, September 28, 2013

Track of the Week: The Kinks, "Autumn Almanac"

As I have mentioned a few times before, I cherish the changes in the seasons, especially the transition from summer to autumn.  When the night air gets a little chill and the leaves start to fall, I get a thrill.  I've already been going back to my old seasonal rituals, including making giant pots of chili, drinking pumpkin beer, taking long walks, and watching hours of football.  (Luckily having children works well with most of these activities.)  Having the redhead's curse of weak skin, the summer sun is less a delight and more a painful annoyance, and so after months of suffering, I welcome days like this, when the sun shines, but a cool breeze blows.

The older I get, the more these seasonal rituals matter to me.  They provide a kind continuity and security, and much comfort besides.  My delight in the safety of repetition and routine is likely a sign of my descent into middle age, but with my back aching more and my metabolism slowing down rather alarmingly, I guess it's time to face facts.  Ray Davies of the Kinks was an old soul himself at quite a young age, and thus the only rocker capable of penning a song like "Autumn Almanac," which is an ode to the same old simple seasonal pleasures.  The character in the song opines about "football on Saturday, roast beef on Sunday" and how "this is my street, and I'm never gonna leave it, even if I live to be 99."  It's one of the Kinks' jauntier tunes, clearly influenced by old music hall numbers and for that reason insanely catchy.  I often find myself humming it while putting the cumin in the chili, kicking a pile of leaves, or strolling down to the Passaic River.  And why not?  Big things will always go wrong in our lives, it's the small things that sustain us.

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