Thursday, December 16, 2010

HNT - Christmas Vacation At Chateau Leslie

Four years ago I made a mixed CD for Francine for Christmas. I had originally wanted to buy her the soundtrack for National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, but, alas, I couldn't find it anywhere. 

(Okay, that's not entirely true - I could find over-priced used copies of it on eBay.  I could also find illegal downloads of the original sound-track too.  But neither one of those options appealed to me)

So, I made a list of the songs that appeared on the original sound-track, purchased the ones that I was able to through iTunes and also added other favourite Christmas songs that I knew Francine liked.  I then interspersed various short audio clips from the movie that appear between songs, often quotes from Cousin Eddy such as the "The shitter was full" clip)

The result was Chateau Leslie's Christmas Vacation soundtrack. 

The cover, of course, is the original "movie poster" with my own face in the place of Chevy Chase's. Watching the movie each year has become a tradition -- so has listening to the CD.

One of my favourites on the CD is the R&B/Jazzy "Hey Santa Claus" by The Moonglows, which, in the movie, is only used for about a 10 to 15 second clip played immediately prior to Clark's visit to the shopping mall where he gets distracted by the beautiful young lingere salesperson.

Of course the CD doesn't just contain songs from the modern Christmas classic written by John Hughes, but also music from other "Christmas" shows such as The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (the original animated one featuring the song by Thurle Ravenscroft - Mister Grinch), Burl Ives' "Holly Jolly Christmas" from Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer and "Christmas Time is Here" by Vince Guaraldi from A Charlie Brown Christmas.

So, though I couldn't buy the CD as I had originally intended, the project to put this together for Francine was a fun and worthwhile effort -- and it took me back to the days when making a mixed cassette tape for your best friend and then presenting it to them was a pretty special personalized thing.

So just a thought for those out there looking for the perfect Christmas gift for that special someone. It might seem like the "cheap thing" to do (although purchasing each song for 99 cents might cost more than a full CD would cost anyway)*, but if you get the songlist right and put some care into compiling something that's perfectly suitable, perhaps it can be a gift that will be cherished and enjoyed for years to come.

* Yes, I'm fully aware that I could likely have easily stole and downloaded all of the tracks I needed. But I do make an effort to respect the rights of copyright owners -- and besides the fact that I take issue with theft of creative property, the process of hunting down and purchasing downloaded versions of each track I wanted to use, as well as using music I had purchased via traditional retail channels was a lot more fun. The effort and work involved gave me a real sense of accomplishment. I mean, what's the alternative? "Here you go, Honey! I stole your Christmas gift from over a dozen different artists. Merry Christmas!"  And, not being a copyright expert, perhaps I did technically violate the law in creating a mixed CD for personal use -- but I was simply copying and mixing products I had already purchased -- so for me, it's more of a morality issue than a legal one.  (Stepping down off my little soap box now)

1 comment:

Unknown said...

It is really good to buy an album to have a personal copy of that tracks. I also do that whenever I have a favorite song to play. Thanks for sharing.

Canadian Visa