Umbrella-ella-ellas everywhere

Isn’t interesting how the same thing presented in two totally different ways can sound diametrically opposed? I can’t even begin to count the number of misunderstandings that have happened between my friends and me ever since we started using instant messaging. Thank goodness to emoticons

I have been discovering the magic of acoustic and cover versions of songs. It’s amazing how, when the trappings of marketing are taken off, how the song ends up being so much purer and more poignant. It makes me wonder why the producers took the time and spent the energy adding the trappings in the first place.

The most striking example is a little over a year old, when Rihanna released her song Umbrella. I’m sure everyone remembers the song and its video clip. It was actually a great clip; I particular love the dancing in the water without getting wet part (I wish I could dance my way through rain like that). But I never really got it, and it wasn’t a particular favourite of mine. I’d leave it on if it came on the radio, but rarely purposefully played it.

Then someone sent me this version.

And that’s when I got it. I understood the song, I understood the lyrics, everything fit and it touched me in a way Rihanna’s version couldn’t, and probably never will. Mandy Moore’s version is, in comparison, very simple. Heck, it’s even a little, shall we say, primitive? But it’s so much better than the original (sorry Rihanna) in that it puts the emphasis on the meaning of the lyrics rather on the extra trappings that suffocate the meaning of the same lyrics in Rihanna’s version. That version took away from the poignancy of the lyrics, something that Mandy Moore’s version captured perfectly.

Sometimes the trappings are in the form of humour… Check out how the poignancy is totally lost in this hilarious cover of the same song!

And you know what… I can’t get the image of dancing like Rihanna through the rain to not get wet. Imagine a busy downtown area, bustling with people, and then it starts raining and they all start Rihanna-ing the rain away. I don’t think I’ll be done laughing at that image anytime soon!

Partying it up in the name of mental health

There is a lovely Persian tradition that turns the longest night of the year, the winter equinox, into a celebration. It’s called ‘Shabeh Yalda’ – Night of Yalda. I find this concept quite brilliant, as it is basically a healthy community approach to combat winter depression. I think more things like this should be put in place all over the world, especially in cold countries.

A personal favorite of mine is International Talk like a Pirate Day. Yes, that exists, I’m not making it up! Just imagine how it would be if everyone talked like a pirate for an entire 24 hour period. Now add sprinkles of accents from all around the world, and voilà! A recipe for a crazy day of laughter. And as we all know, laughter has many therapeutic benefits, one of which is to help ward off sadness and mild symptoms of depression. Which, as all us poor northerners know, there is a lot of during the winter.

How about adding laughter to winter sports? An arena full of laughing fans – that should be quite the experience…