Focus On Yodels
If you’ve been stalking me online, looking at my fallow “Linked In” profile to see if you might hire me into some phony position just so we can lunch together, or wondering why I don’t make better use of my Facebook account (a real writer would alert militants across the globe that he has a new blog post!), or seeking me out in the pages of “highschoolyearbook.com,” where I’m conspicuously absent, then I imagine you ultimately resorted to hitting up my classmates for access to the Bishop Grimes High School 1982 Yearbook in hopes of learning more about me.
Looking at my entry, one is immediately drawn to the words "Hocus Pocus." Is this some unsubtle indication that I fancied myself a magician, pulling rabbits out of hats and making girls blouses disintegrate in the middle of English class? Sorry, that wasn't me. The fact is I had a brief affection for a strange Euroband out of The Netherlands, called Focus. I loved Focus for the one or two days that happened to coincide exactly with the due date for providing the Powers That Were with something not too bawdy to print under my blown-dry head. I didn’t even know Focus, to tell you the truth, just their song Hocus Pocus. Check it, from 1973 (when I was just in 3rd grade):
I’d love to know how much of that you got through. I’m guessing not all four minutes thirty-seven seconds. I hope you at least lasted through the first yodel. The song’s tempo is about 50% faster (wildly rough estimate) than the studio version, which is pretty fast to begin with. I’ve learned, from Wikipedia (so it must be true!), that Thijs van Leer, the singer and band’s founder, indeed of Amsterdam, was a classically trained organist and flautist. One thing for sure: he has incredible mouth control. If you watch the whole clip, you’ll see he plays a flute at breakneck speed and can whistle in an octave previously unknown to whistlers.
The Dutch: they inhabit the most surreal nooks at crannies of popular culture, with their "coffeeshops," phallic pillars that line sidewalks, and conviction that Heineken is worth drinking.
(And myriad other hocus pocus to focus on.)