Everything a metaphor for everything else... Good morning ladles and genitalmen and welcome to another Song for Odin, that thing done each Wednesday featuring a song and some words about it. What we have here is "Itching Powder in the Sleeping Bags" live at Gilman Street in May 1995. https://youtu.be/4q92XPPQSdI I've posted a few songs from this set already (you can go to the Songs for Odin playlist to check them out if you want, see below). The video and audio quality isn't spectacular, but I think it captures a certain something, the essence of what Gilman shows were like in that middle period as well as what the MTX was like in that early phase of that line-up. I may be mistaken, but I believe this was the first Doctor-Jym-Joel show at Gilman. You can kind of see us trying to figure out how to be a band in that... "format." Love Is Dead hadn't yet been released. Just speaking for myself, I had no idea that this was to the "start of something big" (relatively speaking, of course -- I am well aware it wasn't all that big, believe me.) Anyway, there's a glitch mid-song and the very end is cut off, but is the only video document of this particular song that I've come across, though the song goes back to a much earlier era. In fact pre-dates the MTX. It was written some time during my high school years -- I used to play it on the piano back then, if you can believe that. (As an instrumental, keeping the lyrics in my head, too shy to sing them even when I was all alone.) It's... well, it's a rather clumsy essay at a songwriting approach I was to get better at as time went on, where you take an obscure item (from popular culture, in this case) and force it into a metaphor for something more personal. Here the source is the Brady Bunch episode called The Slumber Caper, in which the Brady girls have a slumber party and the boys react by playing practical jokes on them, including the matter referred to in the title which is what brings the episode to a climax by creating the occasion for Marcia to discover she has treated one of her friends unfairly and to learn her valuable lesson. "Itching powder in the sleeping bags" is proposed by Greg after a brainstorming session concerning the most effective policy for dealing with the impending invasion of "giggling girls." In the song, it's a rather heavy-handed "battle of the sexes" metaphor. It doesn't bear a whole lot of scrutiny or explication, but it is broadly a metaphor for immaturity and lack of concord in more "adult" relationships, I suppose, the idea that supposed grown-ups often retreat to childish behavior when confronted with conflict or strife. And, though I wouldn't put this song forward as the perfect expression of it by any means, it is a great truth of human nature, an observation in the same vein as "high school never really ever ends." And, as I've discussed before, like so many of these songs that are grasping towards effectiveness as "art" and communication, its very obtuseness and confusion lends it considerable help in getting the point across. In a song about immaturity, actual immaturity in the composition makes it an example of it as well as a comment on it. A neat trick that would be difficult to do on purpose. And like a lot of things in this world, it works better if you don't think about it too hard. Anyway, for all its undoubted flaws, it has a pretty nice structure and melody (which is why it suited being plunked out melancholiliy on the piano) and the guitar solo/break still works. This rendition (which can be heard much more clearly in the live-on-the-radio version on Shards vol 1)is quite a bit better than the original recording on the Night Shift album, in which one side manages to get the chords wrong. Of all those elder songs it's one of the handful I'd like most to revive in the current set, and maybe that'll happen one day. And there you have it. Christmas is imminent and as our next Wodnesdæg happens to fall on cristesmæsse and there will accordingly be no Song for Odin on that day: from all of us here at Song for Odin, gesælige cristesmæsse and bless you one and all. We'll see you next year, mostly likely. notes: -- The Slumber Caper: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0531146/ -- on video: https://youtu.be/N2RFX4YEFrc -- from Shards vol. 1: https://youtu.be/Q-o6CTmuZbY -- from Night Shift: https://youtu.be/L8kFFek8wNA -- playlist of songs so far from this show: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLommF46BbnARHWN76QqQTvqd53dB7Agfa -- Songs for Odin playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLommF46BbnATopffORs0YkspebJHka2o_ #music #songs #video #minds