Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Psychedelic Music

Without question, the most-viewed series we've EVER done (bar none!) was our "Favorite Psychedelic Songs" piece from about six years ago.  (At the time we asked our readers via email to define psychedelic music in a language that our then nine-year-old daughter could understand.)  Since Paige just turned fifteen a couple of months ago, it's amazing to think how much time has already passed by since this series first ran in Forgotten Hits.
Then, a couple of years ago, we posted the countdown (and the winning definitions) on the website:
And since then, over 50,000 people have visited this page to read the definitions!  And they're STILL coming!
In fact, here's an email we received just the other day:
I have just discovered your webpage. It is remarkable, to say the least. I first jumped in because I was looking for other peoples' versions of top 10 lists of their favorite psychedelic songs. Just about all of mine were to be found here.
I read all about the contest you had on how to best describe psychedelic music to your then 9-year old. Sublime idea! 
I'm a bit of a writer; meaning, I have always had the tendency to write, and I'm 51 now, and I still write. I tend to want to write every day, but I do not. Some days even a REAL writer doesn't write. Perhaps they don't event think about it? Hmmm. Well anyway, I wait for and need inspiration, and reading all about your contest a few years back provided it. Writers were readers first, eh?
So I just started writing as if I were entering the contest, and this is what I came up with. Hope you don't find too many tiring post-contest entries! Or find post-contest entries tiring.
We never tire of finding new and different ways to talk to children now do we?
-- David Rinesmith

How To Describe Psychedelia to a 9-Year Old

You wake up one morning, but you think you are still dreaming, and in color this time, many many colors, new colors, more new colors than in a box of 64 Crayola crayons. Suddenly, your mind is like a sheet of white paper, without lines, and it's being colored for you, and you just watch for a while, until that becomes boring. After a minute, it's only a sheet of paper, and it's only a box of crayons with some new colors you haven't seen before. But now you've seen them. Time to move on. 
Oh, wait a minute ... this sheet of paper is bigger than you thought. It's growing wider and taller. No, wait ... is it? You are confused for a minute, but then you figure it out for sure. Yes, it is growing wider. And taller, too. So this is different. A piece of paper isn't supposed to be growing wider. Paper can't grow. It's not a living thing. But you can see it growing wider. Why is it doing that? You learned in school from Mr. Hall in Science that paper is made from trees. If trees are a living thing, and if paper is made from trees, can paper grow? You have just discovered your first unanswered question. You tell yourself not to forget to find the answer to that one later. 
Ha ha, you just remembered that Mr. Hall smells like toilet paper. Why did you think about that just now?
But now what's this? The colors are growing too! How can that be? Colors cannot grow. Oh yes they can! Colors CAN grow. But not paper? Hmmmm. This is a growing mystery. But nothing to be afraid of. Growing colors seem to be a good thing. Colors can't hurt anyone.
Oh look! The paper is flying now! Can paper fly? No, of course not, but if the wind catches it it can. So you figure out that paper cannot fly on its own, but the wind can make it fly. Does the wind know it makes paper fly? Here's your second question, to figure out later, of course.
You look around again and see there is another white sheet of paper, and it's growing, and it's being colored, and it's flying, too. Oh wait ... it has all new colors and all of these colors are completely different from any of the colors on the first sheet of paper. You suddenly think maybe you lost count of how many new colors there were on the first sheet of paper. It was more than one for sure ... maybe ten. But this second sheet of paper has all new colors, so many you cannot count on ten fingers or ten toes! You think maybe you need more fingers and toes.
Then you hear a tiny sound, and it's hard to tell where it's coming from. Is it coming from the first sheet of paper? Is it coming from the second one? It's so hard to tell, but it's a nice sound: it starts out like an angel singing a song, then it almost stops but not entirely, then it begins again. You can hear it behind you, then over your left shoulder, then over your right shoulder. It's never in front of you. 
So you turn around, and there's a third sheet of paper. It's all red and it's the prettiest and brightest red you have ever seen, but it doesn't hurt your eyes at all. Your eyes like this color of red, and they almost soak up the color like a sponge. Red never was your favorite color before but now you feel it is for the first time in your life.
Suddenly the third sheet of paper (which is all pretty red) draws 100 straight lines up and down on itself. All the lines are perfectly straight, and spaced apart just a little bit. It's all red with 100 darker lines up and down on it. Then the paper changes. Every red space between the lines are changing colors, but they are all different colors of red. Each one is different, but they are all still red. Is the third piece of paper trying to is show you how there are 100 different shades of red? Is this a real question?
Then it sings like an angel again, and you know this is definitely where the sound was coming from, and then it suddenly disappears like a ghost, without a sound. But you still remember it was once there. It's like it never really disappeared. But it is no longer in front of you. You think it must be somewhere, and not too far away. It seems like if you forget about it, it may get farther away. So you tell yourself not to forget about the red sheet of paper, because it is important not to forget it, and it will probably be important later.
You cannot forget the sounds of that music either.
Meanwhile, the first sheet of paper is still growing wider and taller. It still has all the colors of a box of 64 Crayola crayons plus some new ones (but you're still not exactly sure how many new ones, maybe more than ten, maybe more new colors than you have fingers and toes, and maybe you still need more fingers and toes to find out ... but you can always figure that out later.)
And the second sheet of paper is still flying, and it is growing bigger also, with all new colors that you've never seen before, and you definitely will need to grow lots and lots of fingers and toes to count all THESE new colors! But you have to grow new fingers and toes to count the new colors on the first piece of paper first, then grow some more to be able to count all these on the second sheet. Then you have a better idea. You can just get a calculator for that. Now you won't need new fingers and toes. Yay!
Maybe you can invent a new kind of calculator that will do all that work for you. It can be programmed to count each new color as it is being created, and it can ask you if you want this new color to have a new name. You can have fun making new names for all the new colors! What fun that will be, later on! This is only the first day, and you can make the second day your day for just naming new colors! Wow! That will be fun! And you will really need it, because there's already 100 new colors of red to name. You just remembered the third sheet of paper that was all red, with 100 lines up upon it. It's still gone, but it's like it is still there, somewhere not too far away because you still remember it. 
You remember learning in school that the three primary colors are red, blue and yellow. So what about blue? What about yellow? You saw that there were 100 different shades of red, so if that's true (and you know it is) there must also be 100 different shades of blue and yellow, too. 
But you don't need to see the fourth sheet of paper. You already know it will be all-blue, and it will have 100 lines on it, and it will show you 100 new shades of blue. It's like you created the fourth sheet yourself. Blue used to be your favorite color. But now you like both blue and red the same. You tell yourself you will not forget about the fourth sheet of paper, which is all blue, with 100 lines on it, and each one a different shade of blue. You know that although you never really saw the fourth sheet, it is still in your mind, where it needs to stay, for now. You will not forget that fourth sheet. You will need it later.
But you stop for a second to think. Where did blue come from? I saw where the red came from, but not blue. But now there is blue. You have just stumbled across your third question that you will need to find the answer to, later.
And of course there's the next sheet of paper. You are counting them, and this will be the fifth sheet. And you already know what color it will be. Should you peek? Just for a split-second? Yes! Peek at it ... No! Wait ... you already know it's yellow ...
"They call it Mellow Yellow ... quite right-ly"
You peeked, didn't you?
Or was it all just a silly but unforgettable dream ... 
-- David Rinesmith
>>>7. Elvis Presley once climbed 17 floors up the fire escape of The Peabody Hotel in Memphis to hang out with Freddy Cannon, Frankie Avalon, and Fabian after a concert. 
(David Salidor)
>>>That would be very hard to do as the Peabody has only 13 floors!  I know because I've stayed there.  Makes you wonder how many others of these 'unknown facts' are wrong ... David Salidor probably should have done a little fact-checking before emailing this out.
>>>Ooops!  (I think he gotcha there on this one, David!  lol)  Of course we ALL know these stories get repeated SO many times over the years (and sometimes embellished just a little bit, too!) ... but part of OUR job is "correcting history" ... so consider today's lesson "noted".  (kk)
Actually the above information about the 17th Floor was not too far-fetched ... back in those days, Elvis was mixing LSD and Hashish with alcohol ... anything was possible!!! ... needless to say the origins of the other 4 floors!
Says David Salidor:
Mea Culpa .. Mea Culpa … yes, in our haste to get everything out in a timely fashion to Forgotten Hits, we didn’t check as thoroughly as we should have … and, as such, stand corrected. Thanks to Eileen and Gvanwin (and, I hope that’s correct) for their thoughts and comments.
Meanwhile, Freddy’s book (with ace-author Mark Bego) continues to be fine-tuned. Again, the working title is “Where The Action is.”