The phrase “The Gift That Keeps on Giving” was first trademarked in 1925 to promote “talking machines” and “talking machine records.” So it’s entirely appropriate that today’s holiday post focuses on the 21st century’s version of those.
I’ve always considered books and music to be the best gifts, perhaps because it’s what I always preferred getting. And yet, because I’m an instant gratification kind of guy, I’m far too impatient to wait for a holiday to hold out on either of those items. Occasionally I’d allow my parents to “surprise” me with a massive tome by James Michener or something like that, but I sure as hell wasn’t going to trust them–or anyone I knew, for that matter–with purchasing any music for me. Not only did I not trust their taste in music, but I also didn’t even have any faith in their efforts to purchase the “right kind” of music, especially when it came to film music.
In my early teen years of film music discovery, I only allowed certain gifts from a carefully detailed list, including a memorable CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND LP that I received for Easter one year. But once I knew what I was doing collecting-wise (and had been doing it long enough to have already received more than my share of sneers at my predilection for the genre), I was on my own. While I would have appreciated the effort that went into purchasing a last-minute substitution if my parents and friends couldn’t locate a particular title, the risks were too great. And deep down I think they knew it. All sides made peace with the situation long ago and everyone has been happier for it.
I can’t think of a single instance over the last 30-some-odd years where friends and family have purchased music for me for any occasion. So there won’t be any new film music coming my way this holiday season. But I don’t mind. I already have the latest releases (and who knows when I’ll get to them all). But more importantly, I have a whole back catalog of music that I’m about to rediscover as I go about re-digitizing my collection. So although I’m still fighting that constant pursuit of the “new,” this season, in particular, is providing me with a wonderful reminder that music will always be a gift that keeps on giving.