Tag Archives: The Wanderer

Songs on Repeat: The Wanderer

There are few things in life (aside from my children and husband) that make me happier than making mixed cds, wandering the streets of Toronto or cooking brunch for friends.  I seem to easily forget that this holy trinity is the simplest way to get me out of any sort of funk, and remind me that there is so much in life to love–no matter how much this child screams in my face.

I was reminded of these things a few weekends ago when I managed to pull off said trifecta.  I went for long stroll, heading west along Queen, from Bathurst to Beaconsfield, while wearing, and sometimes nursing my baby.  Martin and MG were at the soccer game so I had the afternoon alone with Alice.  It had been quite a long week, with a lot of face screaming and pacing and gripe water.  Baby Alice is quite different from Marigold, who slept constantly and barely cried.  However, Alice sleeps at night, and is usually only fussy in the evenings so I will try my best not to complain.  Anyways, a long walk was much needed therapy for my tired soul.

Tiny TFC Fan

Marigold ready to support the TFC

Man with an Orange Balloon in Trinity Bellwoods

Man with an Orange Balloon in Trinity Bellwoods

Toronto Graffiti

Some graffiti I spotted while wandering

The next day, my old pal AQP came over for a delicious brunch (sadly, no pictures!) and I was reminded of the magic that is a home cooked Sunday brunch.  I used to pull off amazing brunch feats back in the day, almost every weekend, when I wasn’t too hungover or craving a traditional from Sneak’s.  Still high from the brunch success, later that night  I busted out the old laptop that hosts all of my music.  I haven’t yet transferred my iTunes library to my new machine, so I sadly spend most of my time listening to internet radio these days. Every time I get out that old machine, open up iTunes and hit play, it’s like I’ve taken drugs.  Really awesome drugs.

I was reminded while out on my Saturday stroll, that a friend’s birthday was just around the corner. This chum really appreciates my handmade efforts–I usually go above and beyond to ensure her gifts, for whatever occasion, are out of this world.  I also know that she really appreciates a good mixed cd and making a mix makes me insanely happy!  It’s the only opportunity I have to play DJ in this life-piling the songs into the playlist, to curate and organize once I’ve made my way through the entire library.  Sometimes the cd’s have a theme or constraint, making it tricky to deliver, but this time, all I needed were songs I liked.

For this project, it was tough to narrow it down to 80 minutes of music, but I managed to cram some ska, reggae, soul, grunge and 50’s/60’s oldies into the mix.  I think there’s even some 90’s alternative on there.  I typically arrange the cd like sets and I listen to the beginnings and endings of songs over and over to make sure it all jives.  And then, once I’m satisfied, I give it a full listen from beginning to end, to make sure it’s perfect.

The songs on that cd entitled “Songs I like, Cuz I Like You” include some of my all time favourites that still hold up today.  The recipient, I’m sure, won’t love it all, but I know for certain that she will love hearing the opening beats of the Wanderer, by Dion.  Everyone loves hearing it.  If you know someone who doesn’t love it, I would like to hear about it–because I find that hard to believe.

I am sure that I first heard Dion when sleeping over at my friends house as a kid.  We’ve been friends since the day I was born and we’re still friends today!  She lived with her mom and older sister, and her step dad.   I remember the sisters rolling their eyes to me when I would sleep over about how their step dad would probably come home later that night, a few sheets to the wind, and start playing his records really loud.  He had been known to do that, and while I’m sure it annoyed the fuck out of them, whenever I slept over I secretly hoped he would come home, wasted, and blast his records.  It was the mid 80’s but he was listening to that classic pop music from the 50’s and early 60’s and I thought it was awesome.  My parents were really into 8 tracks and country, and I was more into records and rock and roll.  I’m pretty sure we were awakened by him playing Dion on many occasions, though typically he was more fond of “I Wonder Why” and “Runaround Sue”.

Several years ago, I was going through a 50’s/60’s music phase right along side my burgeoning interest in Jackie Kennedy.  I listened to a lot of 1050 CHUM in those days, and my iTunes library started to fill up with the Chiffons, Ricky Nelson and Sam Cooke.  And of course Dion.  And the song the Wanderer became one of many theme songs in my life.

The Jackie K Phase

The Jackie K Phase

The song itself is about a transient guy with lots of lady friends and he travels all around never looking to settle down.  While my life at the time wasn’t quite that exciting–there was a lot of dudes around, I liked to party a lot and I did roam the streets ALL THE  TIME.  I would wake up (late) on the weekends, pack my bag with some smokes, some cash, maybe my flask, do a little paper work and head out the door for the day, sometimes not returning until late in the evening.  I wouldn’t have a destination planned, or a rendezvous arranged, I would just wander for hours.  And sometimes I would meet up with my sweet chum in the park to watch the dogs, who was also spending her Saturday, just walking around.

I had my own lyrics–replacing the girls names in the song with the dudes that we all knew.  I’d sing it in the streets, I’d dance to it at bars, and sweet djs would dedicate the song to me because they knew of my love for the song.  And it is the only way I can tolerate the saxophone.  I hate the saxophone, but the sax solo at about 1:45 gives me goosebumps every time.

These days, my solo walks along Queen are few and far between, and I’ve traded my cigarettes and flask for a baby sling, but I’m still wandering.  And I still listen to the Wanderer by Dion.  Over and over again.

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