Let Me In” by Mike Francis

I was listening to Mike Francis’ “Let Me In” some days ago and that indelible tune and voice brought me back to high school and college in an instant. It was just very recently that I found out that Mike Francis had passed away in 2009 by reason of lung cancer and as I dwelt into the song, it was only natural that melancholy would follow.

His voice and songs to me signify the moments in my life when I still had dreams, when I still dreamt; and having the time with friends that I would keep perhaps through the rest of my life. Those memories are now suspended in youthful buoyancy, in a place where there were no worries, just smiles, echoing laughter, a sense of belonging-ness and not a care for whatsoever which seemed to last and last.

I remember dancing to “Let Me In,” “Friends” and “Survivor” in this joint we had in our tiny little island-town and everyone in the whole club would dance in unison almost like a choreographed wave to this 3 to 4-step swaying movements that we all knew and at that moment, did anything else matter? I remember us talking over the smooth beats set to the loud acoustic systems, asking each other if so and so walked in yet?  I liked it that we did that; to me it exhibited our dedication to socialize at all costs. I also liked it that girls danced with girls and even boys with boys in groups and no one thought anything of it. Fun to us was defined in innocent ways; not really attached to mating, hooking up or any sort of these unnecessary dramas that beset the youth of today.

During those times, we could just be lounging around in a common hangout place for all the friends and a song by Mike Francis would be the music on the background. Our FM stations also knew when to play his tunes – which was all throughout the day; week in and week out.  The music did not seem to get old because it had that laid back, relaxing sound to it and it was not a surprise to me that much of Francis’ music fostered the Chill-Out and Lounge mixes of late.

As I deviate back to Mike Francis and the song however, I recognize that with all the people that connect me to this song having grown up, living their own lives and our youth concluded, I get a well-defined pang of sadness. Even though the time, the music and the people still continue in the 80’s – dancing, laughing, talking over the songs and swaying uniformly in my mind, the slight tightness in my chest reminds me that I am not there anymore.  And with the musician gone, I feel that my moments with his music now remain in another time and place which I love and cherish but cannot go to anymore.

 

Grazie per la musica e ricordi. Ciao Francesco…

Afterword:

When I first met Señor Husband, I was excited to share Mike Francis with him but it was taken with a cold reception at the time. Not too long ago though, he heard a Chill-Out/Lounge mix titled I love Youand told me this was his new song for me. When I first heard it, I was certain I knew the voice and with more research, he found it was one of Mike Francis’ last recordings and that’s when I discovered he died only a few years back.  At this moment, Husband cannot get enough of Mike Francis’ tunes and I liked it that Mike’s music had come full circle in my life.

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Venturing out to consignment store/s and finding good deals is pleasurable to me. Today, I was on the hunt for long skirts because I miss wearing them. I head out for the Goodwill Superstore in our town and I found nice skirts while at the clothes section. However, today’s activity won’t just be spent at this section because invariably, I will detour to the Home Section where there is a candy-store-to-a-child appeal to me there. The routine that usually works for me for a day like this is as follows:

Clothes – this can take up to 1 to 1.5 hours because one must fastidiously inspect second-hand clothes not just for holes, stains, wear and tear, but also for uhmm, brands, (please forget I said that, I am not a brand worshipper, honest!). And just like when I shop at the mall, I have to visualize how many outfits would go well with an item that I buy. Matching tops with pants, skirts etc. My finds today are dark teal (pic 1) and green (pic 3) long skirts with ethnic prints, a Jones NY asymmetrical top and a new (un-used) white, stretch, long-sleeve shirt still with tags (not featured).

Then, it’s off to the shoes section, this only takes a few minutes because sadly, shoes are the hardest of the items to find a good deal on at consignments. Most donated shoes are really worn out, stinky and the newer ones are either poorly made or ill-fitting, hence they are given away. However, a person may find one that’s worth it. Tip: I saw a pair of Popov Tsubo Crocs-like mule and a Michael Kors before. Cole Haan and the other Cole (Kenneth) as well as Guess shoes are mainstays here too!

Next stop: the home items; as previously mentioned, this section of the consignment/thrift/second-hand store is fun to me. When I see fine china, bone china and porcelain material, my eyes lock on to them like an F14’s missile launcher would lock on to a MiG 21 on hostile airspace during the Cold War – with precision. My excitement builds up as I approach the item, and as I lift the it up, I hold my breath, if it’s Bavarian-made, I let out a sheepish smile (you naughty little tea cup, you..). If it’s English – I have a treat! And if I see a particular brand at it’s bottom, like Wedgewood for instance, my mouth waters and I am not exaggerating, I feel mini-butterflies up and down my back. I will confess though, that I am yet to get my hands on some Royal Albert tea set designs, there is an endless supply of the old country rose design but that is not the one I want.  I have argued to myself before to just buy it new; but really, the story behind that acquisition won’t be as interesting. Portugal-made ceramics can be found but not always, complete dinnerware sets from Japan (Noritake), China and the USA, Cornings and Corelles are always available. On one occasion, I found this complete set of earthen dinnerware made by Heath but I didn’t get it; I have been into white-colored dinnerware for a few years now. Today’s finds are: a Theodore Haviland tea cup (2), Portmeiron olive and vinegar bottles (4) and a Pier One incense holder (6). Yay!

Books are touch and go; sometimes there are good ones, but mostly the shelves contain romance novels with Fabio on the all covers but with different outfits. This Fabio dude is one prolific romance novel writer *wink.  Today, my book finds were a hardbound, illustrated copy of “The Secret Garden” and a light-read about a chef and his advice for a beginner chef, titled “Letters to a Young Chef” by Daniel Boulud (5). Maybe this chef is the Rilke of chefs.  One thing curious I found with this book; there was an inscription at the back flap which read:

“There is nothing which every man/woman is so afraid as getting to know how enormously much he/she is capable of doing and becoming.

Proud of you kid.

Much love w/ everything you decide to do.”

I would like to speculate that this was given by a grandfather to his grandson before the latter entered culinary school. I wonder what the real story behind this book really is (need to see “Serendipity” again).

My consignment soiree for the day is almost over, I head for the Cashier ‘s area but not before a brief stop at the bags section. I will say, the more seasoned bargain hunters get the deals before I ever do with bags. Because in my days of second hand shopping, I have only found something worthwhile once in this section. Today, there was a Kenneth Cole school style bag, still pristine, which I could’ve gotten but I did not need it. We have to be practical after all. After paying for my plunder I head for home.

… and so goes one relaxing day for a shopaholic on a budget like me. I’ve had my therapy for the biweekly but unlike shopaholics who hasn’t undergone consignment store intervention yet, I only paid $34.25 for my treatment today!

As the world stays riveted with the tragedy unfolding in Japan in front of our TV sets, I cannot help but tip my hat to the Japanese people with admiration and inspiration. This may be the worst earthquake that the nation will experience in this lifetime, but I could not overlook their preparedness, the calmness by which the citizens handled such magnitude of an event and how organized they were.

Perhaps because they are a people that has come to accept natural calamities as a part of their lives, their readiness and bravery in action is something for the rest of the world to learn from. As news footage on the various networks revealed the earthquake’s and the tsunami’s devasation, we saw the Japanese people taking cover, being unnerved but not helpless or petrified to the point of disability. Reports indicate the warnings were as short as 5 minutes and citizens all over the different cities like Sendai, Minamisoma and others, sprung to shelter as far away from the epicenter of the quake and body of waters as they could. Reports further state that the death toll may not be as high for a natural disaster with this intensity and that is good news the world and especially the Japanese people would want to hear.

Consider this track record, in 1917, a Typhoon ravaged Japan with 4,000 fatalities; in 1923, an earthquake claimed 143,000 lives; in 1945, an atomic bomb caused 136,000 deaths; but by the start of the 21st Century, Japan has managed to be the world’s most developed country in 2007 and the 17th richest country in 2010. In the coming days, as the aftermath of Japan’s March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami unravels, undoubtedly we will witness a people and a country, displaced, injured and battered; but I would venture to say they will not be down for long.

“You may call me ‘Your Majesty’ for the first time and “Maam” thereafter. “Maam” as in “ham,” not “Maam” as in “calm.”

– decidedly, I have re-discovered my fondness for Helena Bonham-Carter.

The only reason why I tarried watching this award-winning film was because I could not find anyone to go with who would indulge me with it. Until an e-mail from my estranged-movie buddy came and there we were watching this year’s Best Picture.

I loved it for all the reasons that every one else did. It’s a period piece, historical, regal and very, very well acted by the main characters. Geoffrey Rush who always transforms into his characters, Colin Firth, with the tour de force performance, us fans always wanted him to deliver from the days of playing (Mr. Darcy), uhmm… both Mr. Darcies; and Helena, who to me went back home to “Howard’s End” and revisited the girl we first fell in love with in the Merchant-Ivory film.

The King’s Speech is worth a tumble.