Wednesday, June 1, 2011



I follow and enjoy Thomas’ blog. He makes entries that put me in the mind of a cynical Charles Kuralt, who is trying to find all the good things that exists in the world but without ignoring some of the ‘less than good’ about life and the world. But what drew me to his blog is the ‘itch factor’ of his journals name, ‘Living Next Door To Alice’. The familiarity kept picking at my brain. I could not remember why the phrase, ‘living next door to Alice’, was so familiar to me.

The song was released in 1976 by the band Smokie and was big, big hit. I because it coincided with my discovering Rush, the glow of the Montreal Olympics, and the Bicentennial, and that was an important year for me (exactly why, I have no idea… but it is the ONLY YEAR that stands out in my mind as important solely for positive reasons). Anywho, with so much going on at the time (hey, didn’t ‘Star Wars’ come out that year? Does anyone else remember ‘the Micronauts’? And wasn’t that around the time Chris Claremont and John Byrne begun to breathe life into the X-Men?), it makes sense that I started to veer away from the softer edged music of the 70’s and my English invasion roots.

Putzing around the website, I put in ‘…Alice’ and voila! Smokie’s albums popped up and I was whisked away to the back seat of either a Challenger or a Cordoba (with its ‘rich Corinthian leather seats), listening to whatever radio station that the driver, either an Aunt or my Mom, had tuned on the radio.

Smokie – Living Next Door To Alice

Listening to the song for the fist time since childhood and HEARING it prolly for the first time ever, I wonder if the interpretation of the song that I have now was the same I made as a kid. It is pretty obvious that it is about the hurt of that a boy who grows up with the ache for his ‘one and only love’ and never moves on it. He is consumed by not being able to approach ‘Alice’ and is so lost in his pain that he does not notice ‘Sally’, who possibly has been right there all along.


Smokie also covered this song. The video can be seen at the right of ‘Alice’ in the suggested video list. But other than by the Ramones, I don’t want to hear anyone else sing this song but Jackie!!

Hindsight informs about a lot of things. One of the things that my getting older and on my own has brought me was an understanding of why my Mother had her concerns about me and my identity. With others, when I felt compelled to answer questions about my ‘non- afrocultural interests’, I would shrug and say “I like what I like.” That was sufficient for dealing with people in their 20’s and minds were more open and less fixed on stereotypes.


In the last ten years there must have been a memo that I did not get. Either that or I am not as evolved as I thought I was when it comes to relationships. One of the reasons that I want to take a woman studies course is to be around women in a less emotionally charged atmosphere talking about relationships. Because there is something that I do not understand about those in my peer group that I have engaged with, and it is something that I have overheard listening in on conversations with relationships as a focus.

The movie ‘Down With Love’ has a woman writer advising women to pursue their careers and to have relationships that are disposable. Her aim is to get women to think more like men. Perhaps while I was admiring the design and the color of the sets, the part of what was in the memo I missed might have been in the lukewarm plot of the film.

If women have decided that they can do without the affection in a relationship… then what is the point? I still want to caress and hug, leave cards, notes that lets her know how much she means…

… but I guess that doesn’t mean as much as it once did. Hey, I’m jus’ sayin’..! I hope no one takes this any other way as conversational because that is how this entry is… not making a statement or anything else. Anywho, enjoy the videos!


* Ashleigh * said...

I feel groovy after watching that "Alice" video! lol

I've never seen "Down with Love" but I recalled it didn't get very good reviews, despite it being the time Ewan MacGregor was popular from "Moulin Rouge".

Personally, I can't do disposable relationships or friendships. Like one of my fave country songs "Friends scatter on the wind..."

Lovebabz said...

Disposable relationships? All the best love songs ever written are about love and the pursuit and need of love.

SOME women feel that way...not all of US!

The key is finding women/men who are in alignment with what you need and want. The discussion has to be then why do folks choose so poorly? Because if you want affection, love-notes, etc why would you get with someone who does not want that? I think putting this off on someone else is not the answer. I think the real questions are internal.

I like talking about this. Keep raising the issues.

Toon said...

Wow -- you're in an oldies mood today! Most of my favorite music was released in the late 80s and 90s. The 90s was just a great decade for me, musically and otherwise.

Thomas said...

Fun Fact: "Needles and Pins" was co-written by Sonny Bono, pre-Cher. :D

I love the comments you leave over at LNTDTA. Sometimes I post things just to hear what you've got to say about it.

mac said...

No matter what the woman who wrote Down With Love thinks, Love is the most powerful force ever known.

Sure, I run from it. But, I hope I can stop when it's the right time.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Woman's study class sounds very intriguing.

Jonthy, Alice the uppity white cat's babysitter said...

Mark, do you know about Charles Kuralt's secret life with another woman while he was "On the Road?" Seems like he was sorta married to two women.

Jonthy, Alice the uppity white cat's babysitter said...

Here's a link if you are interested.

Have Myelin? said...

I think I'll be able to leave a comment. I seem to be signed in...this time.

D'oh. Of course! Like you I was wondering about "Living Next Door to Alice" rang a bell but obviously not hard enough. lol.

I'll go look up the versions with lyrics since I don't hear well enough to pick out the words but thanks for figuring this out.

Disposable relationships, I thought it was men that went for that kind of thing for the most part. That's my personal experience anyway.

Maybe it's really a draw?