Janinda Hill, cont.

“Skeet, I’m having a hard time forgetting something you said the other day.”

“What’s that?”

“Remember when I asked how Janinda Hill got it’s name, you thought a bit and said that Jack Hill used to live right there on the sharp curve?”

“Jesse”

“Jesse? Jesse Hill?”

“Yep, did you know his boy Roger? Kinda screwed up in the head?”

“um….I don’t think so….I knew Gary and Bernie Hill….Roger Hill, huh?”

“Yep. Some mornings he’d wake up a boy, other mornings he’d wake up a girl. Dressed that way too.”

“I guess somebody named Janinda lived over that way at one time.”

“Probably.”

3 responses to this post.

  1. Once, when I was in primary school and you were not yet an embryo, received wisdom said people who lived out in the sticks were born into sagacity. They achieved this reputation by not talking very much; thus in the absence of evidence to the contrary townies assumed that deep thoughts were being processed behind these blank facades.

    Gradually attitudes changed and the townies got suspicious, found themselves wanting to challenge the idea that silence was necessarily a symptom of intelligence. “Tell me,” said a townie addressing a West Riding native, “you lean against this wall, staring out over the field, saying nothing. Could you tell me what thoughts are passing through your mind?”

    “Maistly nowt.”

    Which translates as “Mostly nothing.”

    Popular opinion (ie, the sort townies like) suggests the townie came out on top with this one, that he’d rumbled the rustic. Me, I think at worst it was a tie. At best the townie had got the brusque brush-off.

    Things are clearly different in upstate New York. There’s a calypso quality to Janinda Hill, cont, each chap seizing hold of a tiny fragment of what had gone before and then rushing off in the wrong direction. Two generations hence they’ll be doing it to guitars. Selling it as Real Folk.

    Reply

  2. “Calypso”….I had no idea until now (semi known word, looked up) that the lyrics traditionally satirize local personalities and events. Semi-knowledge had it as just a rhythm thing. Intense Googlization of the Janinda family turned up a family local to the hill – in the 1930 U.S. Census. Czech origin, one generation out of Europe.

    “…rushing off in the wrong direction…” That sounds like jazz to me. Heard a quote from Bill Evans recently: “There are no wrong notes, only wrong resolutions.”

    Reply

  3. Calypsos were supposedly songs (with a Caribbean beat, often accompanied by a steel band) where the words were made up again each time the song was sung afresh. They have a charm which quickly dies when you start to recognise – often in advance – the verbal ploys singers resort to when invention fails and the lyric ahead lacks a destination.

    I can’t remember now whether calypsos were ever sung as duets but obviously for such a technique, two heads are better than one. However in Janinda the conversation (and you could say all conversation has a calypso form) diverges wilfully from a logical progression and thus touches on poetry. In effect the two participants are saying “We will not take you where you expect to go but the journey will be worthwhile for other reasons.” And so it is.

    The Bill Evans quote may be self-serving – a licence never to arrive at a resolution, thus breaking through the restriction of the 12 in. 78 rpm shellac disc, then the 12 in. 33-1/3 rpm LP, then the CD (say 75 min), and finally infinity (more or less) as offered by the electronic download. Fine if we’re talking tenor sax, less so if any drummers get to know about this new freedom.

    Reply

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