Sunday, October 12, 2008

We love our shoes

To my readers: I wrote this piece purely for your amusement. In no way is it meant to diminish the gravity of world events. Sometimes, when I have a lot on my mind, I deal with it by putting on puppet-shows and writing about small things.

Dear Dan Zanes,

I love your work. You've had many a mention on my blog even before you won the Grammy. Therefore, please understand that I have all our best interests at heart when I ask you please to stop talking about how you aren't interested in singing songs about tying your shoes or using a fork. Here are some examples of theme and variation:

*Dan Zanes is the big daddy of family music, by Chad Berndtson, Taunton Daily Gazette (exact quote also found in a Washington Post article) :

“It’s great to be able to do what I love and get attention for it,” Zanes said. “The landscape has definitely changed since I started doing this around 2000. I remember, there were a number of people who actually felt sorry for me singing songs about using a fork and learning to tie your shoes and stuff like that.”

*Dan Zanes wants parents to get with the music, by Stephanie Dunnewind, Seattle Times:

"I've been eating with a fork for almost 40 years now, so it's not something I'm going to become emotional about," [Zanes] said. "And it's not easy for kids to relate to romantic love. But somewhere in between learning to tie your shoes and songs about my old girlfriend is a huge range of subject matter. Almost anything is fair game once you get away from the two extremes."

*All in the family: Dan Zanes makes music for young and old, by Greg Glasgow, Daily Camera:

"I wanted songs that I could connect to emotionally and that my daughter would be excited about," says Zanes, 45, who started playing family music 12 years ago, when his daughter was born. "Songs about learning to tie your shoes or eat with a fork didn't really fit into that, because I've been eating with a fork for a long time. It doesn't mean anything to me anymore."

*Dan Zanes rocks for little kids, by By Maja Beckstrom, Portsmouth Herald

"I didn’t realize the world of children’s entertainment would be as segregated as it is," he says. "Kids can’t understand adult music because it’s largely about romance or sexual love, and grown-ups can’t understand kids’ music because they’ve already learned to use their fork and tie their shoes."

Mr. Zanes, you make it sound as if there is an abundance of songs about the subjects you eschew. I figured some preliminary research was in order. As I was looking through my music collection for songs about shoes, I came up with a few: "Blue Suede Shoes," written by Carl Perkins and performed by Elvis Presley, "Boogie Shoes" by K.C. and the Sunshine Band (yes, I own the "Staying Alive" soundtrack), Cyndi Lauper's "Put on Your Green Shoes" (which is about saving the environment), and "I Love My Shoes," by Eric Ode. Yes, Ode's song is geared for children, but we know very well that some grownups kvell over footwear, and if you tell them to hold back on shoe-purchases, they will get emotional.

So... I couldn't find any songs in my music library that covered tying shoes (although here's a nifty link if you're looking for rhymes) or using a fork.* That doesn't mean they don't exist, but I do listen to a lot of music. So, with all due respect, Mr. Zanes, it's time to put to rest your quotes about the two subjects you don't find interesting, because hardly anyone else is singing about them anyway.**

Thank you.

*Did you know that over 2/3 of the world uses either fingers or chopsticks when eating? Verify this fact and more in the book What You Never Knew About Fingers, Forks and Chopsticks, by Patricia Lauber.

**("Yeah, Alkelda, but what about
this musician?" Fine, Smarty! You've got me there.)


TadMack said...

If that is a picture of actual boots that you own, I may have to stop speaking to you, they're so cute.

This is also a wee note to self: to remember what I say in interviews so that I do not repeat myself!!!!!!!

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

TadMack: Fear not, I do not own these boots. The heels are too high for me nowadays. However, I do have a lovely pair of knee-high laceups with one inch heels, so you might stop speaking to me anyway.

No kidding about remembering what one says in itnerviews. I think about that when I do storytelling--it's one thing to tell the same story, and another thing to tell the same joke.

Lady K said...

I eat my peas with honey
I've done so all my life
It makes the peas taste funny
But it keeps them on my knife.

Your post made me think of this nonesense poem in a book I had as a child. I wonder what ever happened to it?

AND, I actually had to stop walking the dog to tie my shoe today. :-)

Lady K said...

LOL NONsense.

Lone Star Ma said...

Personally, I am in search of a heavy metal or punk rock or at least very hard rock musician who could please teach an almost thirteen-year-old child in my care how to use a fork....anyone? Please? Anyone? Her four-year-old sister and I have really tried but we are just not up to the task.

Library Lady said...

On the other hand, if Dan Zanes can't remember what it feels like to learn things like that, what the heck is he doing pitching songs to kids?

Oops, I forgot. He's pitching to their parents. Never mind the kids, they just get the stuff their parents buy for them, so who cares what they care about?


adrienne said...

Personally, I think we could do with more songs about shoes *and* eating with forks, although perhaps not at the same time.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Adrienne: I sent Eric Ode a link to this post, and now we're working on a poem/song about using a fork and tying shoes. I think I'm going to dedicate it (my contributions at least) to Library Lady. Speaking of whom...

Library Lady! I was wondering if you'd weight in on this one. You are not the first person I've heard feel disgrunted about Zanes pitching to the parents. That quote I pulled is okay when said once, but when it's reiterated in a number of different articles, it starts to come across as a bit ageist. Woody Guthrie himself sang, "I dropped my dolly (pick it up, pick it up)."

LoneStarMa: Personally, I'm a fan of fingers or chopsticks, but maybe Joan Jett is up to the task. Ask her the next time you two hang out.;)

LadyK: It's still around! Anyone know who the author is? (The Internet Magic 8 Ball is curiously silent on the matter.)

Lone Star Ma said...

If only St. Joan knew I existed...I am sure she would be up to the task...

Anonymous said...

You are too funny! And I love the boots picture. :)

Jules at 7-Imp said...

I think *you* should write a children's song about using a fork.