Saturday, November 21, 2009

T Party Express: Start All Over Again

Finally, my SBTX (soon to be ex-husband) is oot of the hoose, as our Canadian friends might say. That is cause for some kind of celebration and the only one I can afford until payday is the party in my head featuring deceased VIPs. Y'all come now.

For my money, which is mostly of the coin variety right now, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were two of the most entertaining, talented performers ever to grace cinema. At a time when generations devastated by the Great Depression needed hopeful diversion, they danced and romanced our collective troubles away.

There has never been a dancer more gifted than Astaire, but he doesn't get near enough credit for his vocal skills. The most successful composers of his time chose Astaire to introduce many songs that became American standards and classics. Fans are quick to point out that Rogers did everything Astaire did but backwards and in high heels, and she did such an admirable job keeping up with him that they seemed evenly matched.

Until they were teamed by RKO, Astaire was a Broadway star with an appeal more aesthetic than sexual. Rogers spent much of her career playing down-on-her-luck heroines. Katharine Hepburn famously observed of them, "Astaire gave her class, and Rogers gave him sex."

The premise of their 1936 collaboration, Swing Time, is that Rogers is a dance school instructor and Astaire a hoofer who pretends he isn't. At the beginning of our song du jour, we find Rogers giving Astaire a pep talk in Pick Yourself Up.

In part 2, Astaire realizes he is risking Rogers' job and decides to show her boss what a great teacher she is by breaking out his moves.

The lyrics serve as a reminder that we might get knocked down, but we get up again and you're never gonna keep us down - unless we choose to be victims.


Please teacher, teach me something.
Nice teacher, teach me something.
I'm as awkward as a camel.
That's not the worst.
My two feet haven't met yet.
But I'll be teacher's pet yet,
'Cause I'm going to learn to dance or burst.


Nothing's impossible, I have found.
For when my chin is on the ground,
I pick myself up, dust myself off,
Start all over again.

Don't lose your confidence if you slip.
Be grateful for a pleasant trip,
And pick yourself up; dust yourself off;
Start all over again.

Work like a soul inspired
'Til the battle of the day is won.
You may be sick and tired,
But you'll be a man, my son.

Will you remember the famous men
Who had to fall to rise again.
So take a deep breath;
Pick yourself up;
Dust yourself off;
Start all over again.


I'll get some self assurance
If your endurance is great.
I'll learn by easy stages
If you're courageous and wait.

To feel the strength I want to,
I must hang onto your hand.
Maybe by the time I'm fifty,
I'll get up and do a nifty.

Pick yourself up; dust yourself off;
Start all over again.

Previous stops:

Special by Garbage (1998).

The Whole of the Moon by the Waterboys (1985).

Empty Me by Chris Sligh (2008).

So Long Self by Mercy Me (2006).

Here's Where the Story Ends by the Sundays (1990).

Broken by Lighthouse (2009).

God Shaped Hole by Plumb (1999).

The Thrill Is Gone by B.B. King (1970).

Love and Regret by Deacon Blue (1989).

Real Gone Kid by Deacon Blue (1989).

My Book by the Beautiful South (1990).

A Little Time by the Beautiful South (1990).

Your Ex-Lover Is Dead by Stars (2005).

This Woman's Work by Kate Bush (1989).

Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division (1980).

Reptile by the Church (1988).

Accidents Will Happen by Elvis Costello (1979).

Tears Run Rings by Marc Almond (1987).

Killing Moon by Echo and the Bunnymen (1984).

Love Lies Bleeding by Elton John (1973).

Last Time Forever by Squeeze (1985).

Conjure Me by the Afghan Whigs (1992).

Debonair by the Afghan Whigs (1993).

Hallelujah by Jason Castro (2009).

Total Recall by the Sound (1985).

Fly by Jars of Clay (2002).

Train in Vain by the Clash (1980).

It's My Life by Talk Talk (1984).

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