Thanksgiving? Beginning of the holidays? No, of course not. Here in Winnipeg, winter has set in with full bone-chilling force and I, among many others I’m sure, have retreated to the warmth of my little apartment and a bottle of whiskey. It’s not a bad way to spend a Friday evening, or even a whole winter, but it has its consequences.
Many of my friends and favourite musicians feel the same way. I certainly turn to both for company during these times when the days become dark just as I’m walking home from work in drifts of glittering snow or patches of treacherous ice. However, sometimes friends’ houses are a too forbiddingly frigid walk away and I am happy to content myself with music for company. There’s something about winter that’s just conducive to drinking alone and wallowing in contemplation.
The inspiration for this mixtape came about during one of my aforementioned walks home from work. At this time of year, the city is still beautiful and we’re only two weeks into snow and cold, so there’s a kind of quiet appreciation that comes over me when I listen to sad songs while walking in the dark. I also feel alone even when surrounded by people and busyness – there’s so many layers of coats and scarves and sweaters separating everyone, and people are in such a rush to get where they’re going, which is back indoors – anywhere indoors – and separated from the perpetual chill.
Once indoors, the drinking songs can begin. (Up until then, they can’t be accompanied by actual drinking, which is important, not to say imperative.) Granted, these are definitely not all straight-ahead drinking songs, but there’s a loose theme of pensive introspection. This includes the stupidity of the destructively drunk; those who want to forget everything, including the workweek, everyone they know, and all of their bad decisions. It’s also about the worn-in habits of the terminally lonely and isolated, the promise of a new night or a new weekend or a new year, and the painfully sharp focus of the morning after, as yet more bad decisions solidify and in addition to dealing with them there’s also the problem of a pounding headache. We’ve all been there.
It’s not all bad, though. It helps us feel like there’s something keeping us together after the time apart. It’s soothing, and winter is a time for a little extra comfort and indulgence.
If you’ll excuse me, I’m about to venture outdoors again. But it’s okay, because the promise of a manhattan on a Friday night is worth it. And besides, I have tunes to keep me warm.