Mano a Mano

My buddy Tim Greiving wrote a nostalgic blog post last week over on his blog, The Greiving Process, about a tradition that I’ve never experienced—just hanging out with a friend and listening to film music. Tim has told me this story before and I’ll admit that it always makes me wince a bit with jealousy each time hear (and now read) it.

Hopefully, I won’t sound completely pathetic, but until last year, I had never actually sat down and talked about film music with a fellow fan. I’d had my share of online discussions here and there, and occasional phone conversations, but never in person. Sure, I’ve gabbed about film scores with friends for years, but 99% of that fall on deaf ears. (A situation that has probably happened to most of us.)

Through this site, Facebook and Twitter, I’ve met some great people and broken through that barrier a bit. Every couple of weeks, my buddy Justin and I grab a drink (or five) and geek out, our opinions getting more and more pointed (and entertaining) the more alcohol we consume. (Don’t worry, we have fun, sober conversations too.)

But I have yet to actually sit down with someone, outside of a concert hall or multiplex, and actually listen to film music. Perhaps it stems from my upbringing. Being a relatively shy, introverted person growing up, I retreated into the worlds of books and music. I had no problems entertaining myself or being alone. (I still don’t.) Park me in front of the TV with a bag of chips and a PB&J and I’m all set. (Hmm, the more life changes, the more it remains the same.)

So for years and years, listening to music has been a solitary endeavor. No two people experience art in the same way and I guess I never felt compelled to share that special experience with others, especially when the appeal of film music escapes most people. It was simpler to just give them a mixed tape (wow, that dates me) for them to ignore, I mean listen to, on their own rather than have them stare blankly at me in stupefaction in person.

So I’ll admit, I’m jealous that Tim had that experience. And I’m sure he treasures it even more, now that he’s moved and it is no longer a regular part of his life. But I’m excited to hang out with my fellow film music geeks this Friday as we descend to Middle-earth for the LORD OF THE RINGS concert at Radio City. Tim will be there, Justin too, and some other great people I’ve gotten to know through the wonders of cyberspace but have yet to meet in person. It’s still a group endeavor, and still in public, but I’m grateful for the bonds that film music and this site have brought me, and in no way will I take this for granted.

Maybe one of these days I’ll enjoy that special experience that Tim so eloquently describes. For me that picture includes me and another film music fan chilling mano a mano (I’ll start out slow for the moment and work my way up to multiple fans), our feet comfortably draped on my tacky coffee table, sipping our beverage of choice with one hand as the other perpetually grabs for some artery-hardening munchies, while the sweet, thrilling sounds of Williams, Newman, Goldsmith et al burst from the Bose and bounce off the walls of my overpriced cave. When it comes to film music, “Mi cueva es su cueva.”

  1. You know I’ve been thinking about this same thing for a few weeks now. Strange that you bring it up here. Both times I went to CA this summer and met other film music fans we barely talked about film music, let alone actually listened to anything. And I’m surprised that the two of us haven’t listened to anything together. I’ve had some minor experiences of listening to film music with other people and it’s always been in my car driving somewhere. But that’s not quite the real experience of having two fans sit and listen. So let’s try it! It’ll be an adventure. You choose the music. I need to learn something new anyway. :)

    1. Perfect! Once I put the next issue of FSMO to bed, I’ll sandblast the walls of the cave and figure out something(s) appropriate. We’ll experiment and report back here with a follow up post.

  2. Take the plunge, Jim! We’ll come back to NYC again sometime when our schedules aren’t running rampant with Orcs, and we’ll share some music in person. Maybe you can even try and convert me to the golden age…

  3. I actually have a ploy for subjecting my friends to film music sessions in person. I have a home theater and there is generally a half hour of film music played before a screening begins – often it’s a makeshift overture related to the film, but it gives folks a chance to settle in – and I’m intrigued by how many visitors seem to appreciate it and become engaged. Eventually discussing film music with my friends is part of the whole ritual and has extended beyond the screening room experience. Lights are dimmed about 20 minutes before the feature starts with everyone in their seat. A lot of folks tell me that they don’t really find the time to listen to music sitting in front of a premium sound system, so I offer that opportunity before a film is screened; better to initiate a mood this way than by a half hour of overbearing trailers. This Friday, and on Halloween, I’ll be screening the new blu-ray version of THE EXORCIST for some friends, preceded by soundtrack selections that will include Lalo Schifrin’s suite from his unused score.

    1. Sounds like a very sneaky way of doing it, Gary. I like that! Actually I miss the days when movie theaters would play film music prior to the features. Now we get C-list pop songs, 20 minutes of commercials, and then another 20 minutes of trailers. I must say, it doesn’t usually put me in a good mood to watch whatever I came to see.

      As much as THE EXORCIST creeps me out (still the scariest movie I’ve ever seen), that screening sounds like a blast!

  4. you went to Lord of the Rings at radio city again this year?! so did I!!! ok next time we need to at least have a 5 min geek chat during intermission… maybe you saw me, i was wearing a Nintendo shirt lol

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