28: More Hank Williams

So, here, as promised, is the follow-up to my last post on Hank Williams! This will be my attempted recollections of what happened when I visited the Hank Williams Museum in downtown Montgomery on April the 18th, 2013. 😀

The first thing that happened at the Museum was that we had to make sure that it was actually open. It’s really hard to tell with this particular museum, as there aren’t really any lights in the “lobby”, and there’s no obnoxiously flashing “OPEN” sign to let you know which one it is. So we peeked in the extraordinarily low windows, and as there was a person sitting (or rather standing) at the front desk, we figured that it was probably safe to go in.
It costs $10 per person age 15 and above, and $3 for anyone 14 or below. Because of this pricing scheme, only I and my two teenage twin friends went in to the museum proper, while their mom waited in the lobby.

(And do please pardon me all my “if I’m not mistaken”s and my “I do believe”s: if I had been permitted to take photographs of the interior of the museum it would be considerably easier to recall, but as it is, my long-term memory is not the best, especially 10 days later when I’ve had to memorise other things in the meantime and I’ve almost definitely forgotten things about the museum. My sincerest apologies. [If you want to either double-check my memories or see what I’m describing for yourself, please, by all means, visit the museum on your own: I will be in no way offended.])

As I may have mentioned in my previous post, it was slightly confusing in terms of where to start, but the ladies at the desk pointed us at the entrance and so, obligingly, we entered. There was a speaker just as you entered the museum which was playing Hank Williams songs (no really! I never would’ve guessed!) and as you passed by it, you also saw a desk that he would write songs at, as well as some hand-written sheet music and certificates for various things – mostly prizes, if I’m not mistaken. After the first little entrance part made of wooden dividers directing you the first 4 feet or so, it was a basically a do-it-yourself tour: go where you will, see what you want. The wall that extended from the first little directional area had a few posters for Hank Williams concerts, at least one of which was surrounded by flashing lights.

The main museum space was mostly taken up by the car in which Hank Williams died, presumably from heart failure, at the age of 29. The car is a baby blue Cadillac (don’t ask me the model; I have absolutely no idea as cars don’t particularly interest me) and seemed fairly massive, although that could be related to the fact that the museum was small and so anything larger than probably 20 feet long would seem massive in that space. The car was surrounded by ropes and signs reading “DO NOT TOUCH” which seemed fairly obvious to me, as it would be a tiny bit morbid to sit in the same seat as someone who had died… 0_o But nevertheless, those signs were there. There was a plaque/paper-taped-to-a-pedestal with a snippet of information about the car and Hank’s death, but to be honest, I have no recollection of what it said. Most likely, because I wasn’t really reading to remember…

Near the front of the car, but far enough away that they could both have fences/railings and still have a fairly wide thoroughfare betwixt them, there was a couch that had something to do with Hank: most likely it was the couch that was owned by his family that he had grown up playing on that had been donated to the museum. There was a handmade blanket thrown over the back, but I don’t remember whether someone had knitted it for Hank’s family when he was a baby or if it had been knitted specifically for the museum.
Next to the car, but still inside the ropes, was a bronze bust of Hank that had been cast/sculpted/whatever-you-do-with-bronze for a city that was closely related to Hank for a memorial service after he died. Perched on the bust’s head was one of Hank’s hats, which looked exactly like it had been made specifically as part of the statue, but what was in reality a hat that Hank had actually worn to performances and things that had then been coated in bronze to preserve it for as long as the bronze lasted. {And I do actually remember that, because I thought it was really cool. XD}

There were two or three little rooms jutting off the big room with the car, and those, one would think, would have the most interesting stuff. One of them sort of did, but the other (I believe there were) two rooms were actually quite…I guess I’ll say it…They were boring. One of the rooms – about all I can remember of it is that there was some sort of documentary up on a TV, or perhaps it was just a collection of bits of black-and-white film of performances in which Hank sang. I think there were also a few paintings or something up on the walls, but for the most part, the TV was the extent of that room.
The other room I remember was a bunch of tall display cases, filled with records, photographs, hats, boots, and sheet music. There may have even been a suit jacket or two, and a couple of instruments. The sheet music and the photographs were mildly interesting, I will readily admit. Something I found a bit confusing is that in some of the photographs they referred to Hank Williams and in some they referred to Hank Williams Jr. and in some they referred to both, and it wasn’t until we’d gone through practically the entire museum before I realised that Hank Williams Jr. was a completely different person to Hank Williams: his son, to be exact. Also, in the 29 years that Hank Williams was alive, it appeared (based on the facts in the museum that I shall double-check at the end of this post) that Hank married two women, had two children with one of them, and then had another child with another woman that he may or may not have been married to. He got around in those few years, didn’t he? XD 😛
The last thing I remember about the offshoot rooms was either in another room filled partially with display cases or in a room of its own, but either way, it was a quilt hanging on the wall with a stand next to it holding a piece of paper. The paper said something to the point of “This quilt was made by (blank) of (blank) Alabama for Hank Williams and the Hank Williams Museum. Please research this person at (web address) and help support the arts in Alabama.” Or something similar enough to that that it made me question whether that person hadn’t just donated a quilt as a promotional item… In that same room, and I do believe it was actually a third room, there were several other items that had only a small connection if any to Hank, and so I really don’t feel that that room was necessary, or if it was, perhaps it would’ve been better as part of the lobby, and not as part of the museum proper, such that it was.

The last part I wish to mention about the actual exhibits in the Hank Williams museum will hopefully be more concise than the rest of this post, since as of this word there are 1285 words already in this post. *coughs and faints with astonishment* *revives* Goodness me, I’ll definitely try to go faster!
The remainder of the body of the museum (in the same general space as the aforementioned couch, car, and bust) was filled with display cases and another fenced-off area, containing a kitchen set. The display cases housed Hank’s suits, hats, and boots, as well as more photographs and memorabilia. One of the cases not placed against the wall contained the piano that Hank had played on; either when he was taking lessons as a boy, or when he was composing and teaching his children how to play the piano, I don’t remember which. It was a surprisingly tiny upright piano, which both puzzled and pleased me, as I play piano, like piano very much, and live in a house with two pianos.
The kitchen set – i.e. table, chairs, rug, fake counters and cabinets, pictures, and bit of framed hand-painted wallpaper – was that of Hank’s wife Audrey’s kitchen when they were both alive (his wife may still be alive for all I know, but obviously Hank isn’t) and living with their two children. It was very pretty, but seemed rather incongruous, and also as if it shouldn’t really be there.

And that concludes my account of my trip to the Hank Williams Museum in downtown Montgomery, Alabama. Of course we did actually exit the museum proper afterwards and rejoined my friends’ mom in the lobby where I/we proceeded to take the pictures I posted two blog posts ago and stare at the large carving of an Indian that prompted one of Hank’s most popular songs, then politely said goodbye to the lady at the front desk and proceeded to exchange words of pointlessness once outside the building, but as that isn’t nearly as interesting as the actual museum itself, and as it doesn’t take very long to write, I needn’t bore you with the details of our departure, and suffice it to say that we left thereafter.
I am glad that I visited the Hank Williams Museum at least once before I move away. I wouldn’t necessarily want to go there again, but at least now I can say that I went, and that I now know more about Hank Williams than I did before. I hope you enjoyed my retelling as much as I enjoyed my visit *cough*, and I also hope that if you’re interested in seeing the museum without my excess of qualifiers that you’ll see the museum for yourself. Until then!

Read on!!

 

 

 

:EDIT: Hank’s wife was named Audrey, not Minnie. He had only two children, not three. Hank Williams, Jr. was with his first wife, Audrey Sheppard. His daughter, Jett, was conceived with another woman named Bobbie Jett while he was getting a divorce from Audrey. He divorced Audrey in May of 1952. He married his second wife, Billie Jean Jones, in October of 1952. Hank Williams died in January, 1953.

27: Hank Williams

As part of the research for my final project for my second semester of Honors English Composition, I visited the Hank Williams Museum in downtown Montgomery. Now, I’ve seen and passed by this museum for the past eight years that I’ve lived in Montgomery. I know that Hank Williams was born in Montgomery. I’ve driven (when I say ‘driven’…) on the highway that was named for him. While visiting my stepdad’s family plot in a cemetery downtown, we drove by his grave and I got to see it. But somehow, in all this time, I’d never actually been in the museum. Quite astonishing, really. XD

If you are 15 years old or older, the museum costs $10 apiece (an outrageous price, really). It’s $3 for those between the ages of 2 and 14, and free for those under two.
The museum itself is a tiny low storefront next to a hotel, and it always looks closed, even though it’s apparently usually open. It’s very inconspicuous, and so probably no wonder that I’d never actually been in there.
You can’t take pictures of the inside of the museum, but you are allowed to take pictures of the lobby, such that it is. Or rather, isn’t. So the pictures that I’m about to post in this post and the pictures that I’ll post on my project page and on my Padlet poster are from the lobby of the museum and from online; none from when I was actually allowed into the museum with two of my friends.

K iTouch Pics 04212013 068 K iTouch Pics 04212013 069

I should’ve taken a picture of the gigantic Indian statue that was in the middle of the “lobby”, which was apparently for his song “Kowaniga” (I think that’s what it’s called), and which had the signatures of a bunch of people on it, but I didn’t think it was that important. Perhaps I’ll find a picture online somewhere.

So that’s my short little picture post about the Hank Williams Museum. Perhaps soon I’ll actually write about what I saw in the museum itself, as some of it was fairly cool… *shrugs* Okay, one of his suits was pretty awesome. But the rest of it was just okay. XD

Laterz!!

Read on!! <3

Bombay Bicycle Club

First of all, may I apologise for the state of my blog: I haven’t posted anything but school since I can’t remember when! Unfortunately, my blog reflects my life: basically utterly school since the beginning of the semester. I haven’t even had time to read a regular novel since sometime in February, I think it was, which is a huge indicator of how much time I’ve had. But now, just as school is ramping up about a month before finals, I’ve somehow managed to find time to listen to a couple of new artists (new to me, that is) and so I figured I’d take a tiny bit of time to blog about it. Yay! 🙂

I first heard of Bombay Bicycle Club about a year ago on an NPR show (either Fresh Air or Weekend All Things Considered, both of which are fabulous) and I’ve remembered that there was this cool band I heard a bit of ever since then, but somehow I’d never managed to actually listen to any of their music until about two days ago. And yesterday, I bought one of their EPs and a single (which had two songs… 0_o) on iTunes. I like them that much.

I listened to the bombaybicycleclubtv playlist on YouTube, which had 11 songs. I immediately fell in love with all 11, but specifically the song “Ivy & Gold” which, if I had to recommend just one song to someone who’d never heard of them before, I’d recommend “Ivy & Gold”. The videos on YouTube for “Flaws” and “Evening & Morning” are quite cool, and the song “Lights Out, Words Gone” is excellent also, but as a starting-off song for Bombay Bicycle Club, “Ivy & Gold” is by far and away my top pick.

According to Wikipedia, the singer, the drummer, and the other guitarist all met when they were 15, and played together for about six years under various aliases before they met their bassist. I don’t know exactly when they decided on the name “Bombay Bicycle Club”, but I do know that they chose that name because of a chain of Indian restaurants called, what else, “Bombay Bicycle Club” that has restaurants all over London. It’s quite a catchy name, don’t you think? And it definitely has that cool/artsy feel you’d expect from an indie band. Well, according to Wikipedia they’re actually an indie rock band, and according to iTunes they’re just sort of generically alternative, but I think indie is a good enough category to cover them.

So that’s my little blog post to try to break up the monotony of schoolwork, since my next post will almost definitely be a post for English. I hope you liked it, I hope you keep reading, and I hope you listen to Bombay Bicycle Club and enjoy them as much as I do!

Read on! <3

Of Music

Without music, life would be a mistake.” Friedrich Nietszche

This is how I live my life. Without music, my life would be a mistake. I feel like I was born to play music. Two of my favorite pieces to play are Tango de Lejos by Maximo Diego Pujol, and Day Tripper by the Beatles. They can always cheer me up, and they are incredibly fun to play.

Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination
and life to everything.” Plato

When I don’t listen to music for several days in a row, my brain physically hurts from music deprivation. The one time this has happened to me (so far), it was assuaged by OK Go. Primarily, This Too Shall Pass and Get Over It. Rather appropriate, don’t you think? When I study, I also really enjoy listening to music, but I can’t concentrate during songs with words, and after playing classical music for 10 years I’ve heard a lot of it, so I’ve turned to video game soundtracks. Some of my favorites are the Angry Birds theme played by the London Philharmonic, the Tetris theme also played by the London Philharmonic, and the Honeyhive Galaxy music from Mario Galaxy.

Those who dance are considered insane by those who cannot hear the music.” George Carlin

I have always danced. The dances at my summer camp for two years were the parts I looked forward to the most. When I was little, I actually took dance classes for ballet and tap, and when I was older I did a bit of jazz and hip-hop. But I haven’t always been able to take classes. So I dance at home. Sometimes when there’s a piece I just love, I’ll dance a little bit. Mostly while sitting, but sometimes I actually get up and try to remember my old ballet lessons. I’ll also be walking in a grocery store sometimes and a rhythm just hits me, and I’ll do some weird sort of psudo-hip-hop move just because I feel it. Whenever I’d go visit the house of one of my friends who still does ballet, she’d turn on music and we’d choreograph a dance to it. Some of the best music I’ve found to dance to is Caribbean Blue by Enya, Just Dance by Lady Gaga, and the Blue Danube Waltz by Johann Strauss II.

Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.” Victor Hugo

I leave you with these songs to go throughout your day and your life, and to think about when you’re asleep: the Appassionata Sonata, and Here Comes the Sun.

None but ourselves can free our minds.” Bob Marley

TED Talk (Adam Sadowsky)

I love my English class.

We watch soooooooo much cool stuff.

Today, we watched a talk on ted.com (an awesome website) about the Rube Goldberg video (an awesome video) for OK Go (an awesome band). The talk was by the guy that OK Go went to when they wanted to make a Rube Goldberg machine music video for their song “This Too Shall Pass”. It’s crazy how much work, time, thought, and man-power went into that project.
You can get to Adam Sadowsky’s talk by clicking this. He plays the video at the end of his talk, so don’t worry if you haven’t seen it before. It’s actually quite a short talk, and he’s quite engaging.

I recommend this to everyone. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

OK Go

So, one of my all-time FAVORITE bands is OK Go. Their music isn’t just cool, funky and innovative: their whole band is! If you watch just one of their videos, say the Rube Goldberg version of “This Too Shall Pass”, or End Love, you instantly feel all the creative juices running through those four brains (and whoever else may be helping them along the way). After just one video, I was hooked. I have now downloaded from iTunes at least five of their videos, if not more, and I want to buy even more. I have a book for piano of quite a few of their songs. I’ve introduced several of my friends to their songs. Now, I’m not one of those ‘weird’ people who trawls through hours and hours of YouTube videos just for fun. I have no inclination to do that. So I must give credit to my uncle for showing me several of their videos, because he is who got me hooked. And now I sing their songs all the time, I listen to them very very often, and I get very upset when the videos don’t work on my iPad. I suppose this shouldn’t be just a “oh they’re so wonderful I love them so much” post without much about what they actually do. All the singers have great voices (without autotune!), the organ parts are very creative, and they use funky rhythms and actual melodies to support the songs about real life instead of just “oh I just had a break-up but I’ll get over it” or “omg she/he is so hot” (although there is one song of theirs that I like that is about the latter. XD). In all, OK Go is a great band to listen to and watch, if you enjoy actual creativity and plenty of humor on the side.

Debussy

I don’t usually like composers from the Romantic era of music. Yes, Brahms does have some exquisite pieces, and the Songs Without Words are very fun (though challenging) to play on the piano, but for me, it’s a bit too soft, quiet, gentle and delicate. The one composer from the Romantic period that I do enjoy playing and listening to, however, is Debussy. Just listen to Golliwog’s Cakewalk! Or Gradum ad Parnassus! He has quite a few pieces that are mischievous, fun, and lively. Golliwog’s Cakewalk is one of my all time favorite pieces to listen to. One note of warning though: any attempt to play Clair de Lune on the classical guitar may result in anger, frustration, and slight pain in the fingers. Don’t ask how I know…