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"one small garden of a free gardener"

Happy birthday to Bilbo and Frodo Baggins! Today is the anniversary of the Long-Expected Party celebrating Bilbo's eleventy-first birthday and Frodo's coming of age in The Lord of the Rings. My thoughts are with the Lómelindi Smial of the Tolkien Society and everyone else who will be celebrating the Baggins Birthdays.

Also on this day, according to the Appendices of The Lord of the Rings, 99-year-old Samwise Gamgee rode out from Bag End for the final time. He was last seen in Middle-Earth by his daughter Elanor, to whom he presented the Red Book. According to tradition, he then went to the Grey Havens and passed over the Sea, last of the Ringbearers. Cheers for the Hobbits!

In other news:

* Unfortunately, this weekend's much-anticipated Night of the Living Dead screening with legendary director George A. Romero, about which I'd been most excited, was postponed to fit the schedule of Romero's new film project. On the bright side, however, I was able to attend another fun event, "Monkee Memories" with Davy Jones.

I haven't seen Davy Jones live since the Monkees played their 20th Anniversary Tour, which I caught in Oklahoma City in 1986. I remember that as a fantastic concert (despite the fact it was short Mike Nesmith; I don't think anyone really noticed, to be honest). I was impressed by the now 62-years-young Jones this past weekend. He performed for a solid two hours and fifteen minutes, and he only declined a second encore so that he could meet and greet the fans and sign autographs instead. The evening was a multimedia event, punctuated by long musical sets. He showed brief clips of his first television appearances as a wee lad on British (Coronation Street) and American (The Ed Sullivan Show) television, and sang songs from the musical Oliver! (in which he originally portrayed the Artful Dodger on the West End and Broadway, and for which was nominated for a Tony Award) and that his mother loved ("Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby?"). He also showed short clips from his horse racing career - apparently he was in North Carolina while escorting four new horses he'd purchased from Florida to his home in Pennsylvania - and played several songs he'd written, as well as his solo single "Girl."

The heart of the night, of course, was about The Monkees. He showed a few quick clips from his screen test and the series, and shared anecdotes and quite a few jokes, mostly intentionally bad ones, but the majority of the evening, and the best part of it, was spent performing music, including his signatures ("Daydream Believer," "Valleri," "Look Out Here Comes Tomorrow," "She Hangs Out," "It's Nice to Be With You," "A Little Bit Me," "I Wanna Be Free") and some originally sung by his bandmates ("I'm A Believer," "Pleasant Valley Sunday," "Last Train to Clarkesville," "What Am I Doing Hanging 'Round?," and a truly exceptional version of "No Time," which I wasn't expecting and thoroughly enjoyed). He appeared formal in a three-piece black suit sans tie and was high energy throughout the night. His voice still sounds wonderful; he may have lost a couple of his highest notes (to be fair, I only noticed this in "I Wanna Be Free"), but he's gained an even deeper range, and he can belt out and hold notes just as he always could. His "Look Out Here Comes Tomorrow," for example, sounded vintage-album perfect.

I was particularly impressed by his self-deprecating humor - he invited audience members to take pictures and film the performance, if they wished, saying that at his age he never knew when a show would be his last - and his generosity to his fans. For my part, I'd say he's aging very gracefully. He's a performer who loves being on stage, and it shows.


* TheHogsHead.org is remembering the 10th anniversary of the release of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the U.S. by celebrating "Sorcerer's Stone Week": you can check it out here.



And now, in honor of the Baggins Birthdays, the departure of Samwise, and Hobbits in general, a quote about the Ring's temptation of - and failure with - one of J.R.R. Tolkien's (and, for that matter, world literature's) greatest heroes, Samwise Gamgee:

"Wild fantasies arose in his mind; and he saw Samwise the Strong, Hero of the Age, striding with a flaming sword across the darkened land, and armies flocking to his call as he marched to the overthrow of Barad-dûr. And then all the clouds rolled away, and the white sun shone, and at his command the vale of Gorgoroth became a garden of flowers and trees and brought forth fruit. He had only to put on the Ring and claim it for his own, and all this could be. In that hour of trial it was the love of his master that helped most to hold him firm; but also deep down in him lived still unconquered his plain hobbit-sense: he knew in the core of his heart that he was not large enough to bear such a burden, even if such visions were not a mere cheat to betray him. The one small garden of a free gardener was all his need and due, not a garden swollen to a realm; his own hands to use, not the hands of others to command."
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
arymetore
Sep. 22nd, 2008 01:19 pm (UTC)
The Davy Jones concert sounded very cool :) Alas that we were not able to make time to see Mickey Dolenz at DragonCon this year. I'm certainly a Monkees fan :)

And we shall raise a glass to you as well this eve :)
eldritchhobbit
Sep. 26th, 2008 09:14 pm (UTC)
I'm certainly a Monkees fan :)

That's so cool! The only reason I didn't wear my Monkees shirt from 1986 (which I still have and, miraculously, can still wear) is that it had a huge Micky Dolenz face on it and no Davy Jones! LOL.

And we shall raise a glass to you as well this eve :)

Aw, thank you! I raised a glass here in your honor!
agentxpndble
Sep. 22nd, 2008 02:46 pm (UTC)
Wow - The Davey Jones even sounds like it was absolutely FABULOUS. I'm so touched that he can remain so genuine and gracious with his fans after all this time and so many years in the hysteria of the Hollywood machine. You really couldn't blame him if he had chosen to become reclusive and bitter after the craziness he's probably been through with people - But no, he's warm and generous with his fans. Awesome.

Unfortunately, since last night you've got me humming Look Out, Here Comes Tomorrow endlessly. :-(
eldritchhobbit
Sep. 26th, 2008 09:21 pm (UTC)
It really was impressive and heartwarming to see. He was very kind to the fans, and he was working hard on stage (when he could easily have "phoned it in"). And I was really surprised that he was so accessible after the show and willing to sign anything, not just merchandise purchased there that night. You could tell that, when he held out the mic and we all sang the chorus to "Daydream Believer" back to him, he was getting as much out of it as we were. :) I was amazed at the demographics in the audience, too. The people sitting next to me were probably in their late sixties or early seventies; the girl in front of me couldn't have been more than twelve.

Unfortunately, since last night you've got me humming Look Out, Here Comes Tomorrow endlessly. :-(

Sorry about that! It's much better than having "Young Girl" by Gary Puckett and the Union Gap stuck in your head, though. Trust me.
agingaglaea
Sep. 22nd, 2008 02:54 pm (UTC)
Now I'm going to cry, in a good way. I so love Sam (but you know that, of course). May the Shire live for ever unwithered!!
eldritchhobbit
Sep. 26th, 2008 09:21 pm (UTC)
May the Shire live for ever unwithered!!

Well said indeed! (Pssst: I always cry at this passage, too. I even cried posting it!)
sailingwest
Sep. 22nd, 2008 04:59 pm (UTC)
I love that passage about Sam, and how he is truly a gentle soul.

We will be thinking of you this evening.

lol.. I used to love the Monkee's when I was a kid. :-)

Happy Birthday Frodo, Bilbo and Smial.
eldritchhobbit
Sep. 26th, 2008 09:24 pm (UTC)
I used to love the Monkee's when I was a kid. :-)

Awww! It was fun to see so many kids in the audience at this show, as well as fans old enough to be their grandparents!

I love that passage about Sam, and how he is truly a gentle soul.

Oh, me too. He is such an inspiration and example.

I hope you are having a fantastic time in Kentucky! *hugs*
thepirateship
Sep. 22nd, 2008 05:54 pm (UTC)
Three Cheers for Samwise!
eldritchhobbit
Sep. 26th, 2008 09:24 pm (UTC)
Well said indeed!
ex_lbilover
Sep. 22nd, 2008 07:55 pm (UTC)
That passage is so incredibly moving and such a tribute to the beauty that is Sam!

Wow, I didn't know Davy Jones was still performing. He sounds awesome.
eldritchhobbit
Sep. 26th, 2008 09:25 pm (UTC)
That passage is so incredibly moving and such a tribute to the beauty that is Sam!

It's one of my favorites. Sam is such an inspiration.

Wow, I didn't know Davy Jones was still performing. He sounds awesome.

It was so much fun! I think my favorite thing about the show was that there was about a sixty-year spread in the ages of the audience members. It really was a multi-generational concert!
belleferret
Sep. 22nd, 2008 10:35 pm (UTC)
LOL quite a interesting post with LOTR and the Monkees! I enjoyed that show, and Davy Jones was a quite good singer. How cool for you to see him last weekend!

Perfect Sam quote. *sighs*
eldritchhobbit
Sep. 26th, 2008 09:28 pm (UTC)
LOL quite a interesting post with LOTR and the Monkees!

LOL! Continuity? Who needs stinkin' continuity! ;)

I enjoyed that show, and Davy Jones was a quite good singer. How cool for you to see him last weekend!

It was lots of fun. I started to feel terribly old, thinking it had been 22 years since I last saw him in concert, but then I realized that at least one third to one half of the audience members were still old enough to be my parents, so that put it all in perspective. LOL!
greenhoodloxley
Sep. 22nd, 2008 11:10 pm (UTC)
Ooh, awesome sounding concert!


Hehe, thanks to your entry I remembered what day it was, and put a hobbity birthday note in my dad's lunch which made him happy. Thanks for the reminder! :)
eldritchhobbit
Sep. 26th, 2008 09:29 pm (UTC)
It was so much fun!

Hehe, thanks to your entry I remembered what day it was, and put a hobbity birthday note in my dad's lunch which made him happy.

LOL! That makes my day. :)
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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