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Book Fair Blog

Every book has a story
Every book has a story.

Check in frequently to read the behind-the-scenes scoop on the Newberry’s popular Book Fair. The blog is maintained by “Uncle Blogsy,” otherwise known as Dan Crawford, Book Fair Manager.

That Time of Year

We are sneaking up on another one of those periods when everyone in the world feels it is natural to drop books off at the Book Fair EXCEPT for the Book Fair manager and his library colleagues. Yup indoody: it’s holiday time!

The fact that we are locked up tight on Thanksgiving really ought to surprise no one beyond those truly intense researchers who would be in their study carrels on Doomsday, wondering why the book they’ve paged hasn’t arrived yet. But we are also locked up tight on Black Friday, Local Shopping Saturday, and Out of Cool Whip Sunday. We will be open again come Cyber Monday, just in time for Giving Tuesday. I notice Wednesday seems to have missed out on both ends of the holiday: nobody loves Wednesdays but camels, I spose.

(By the way, if you wanted to make an online gift to the Newberry–this is the sort of thing you’re supposed to do on Giving Tuesday–everyone here will be willing and eager to accept it. Why not get your charitable giving for 2014 tied up now and not wait until New Year’s Eve? No, we have not yet figured out a way for you to donate books online. You’ll just have to continue doing it the way God intended: fax ‘em to me.)

There is one another holiday of which you must take notice. The weekend before Thanksgiving, the trees along Michigan Avenue are officially lit, and the Festival of Lights parade moseys down the avenue. It was all so ad lib for a while that the Newberry (which is, um, several blocks off of Michigan Avenue) petitioned to be made a part of the route.

But that was then. Nowdays, with hefty sponsorship and TV coverage, the parade is a Big Deal. And the Newberry is kind of part of it, because several of the streets around it are blocked off for float preparation, marching band assembly, and other preparatory foofaraw. It will be a happier day for all involved if you do NOT try to cross police barricades to donate books. No, honest: do you want your final scene in the drama of life to be a YouTube video of you trying to smash through a police line, being gunned down, and gasping out as your last words, “I did it for the Ya-Ya Sisterhood!”?

Nay, let us assume that this Saturday you will be able to steer clear of the Newberry. Play it safe. Let’s speak of something more entertaining about the upcoming holiday. Let’s talk football, which means, of course, let’s talk about Poi Poi.

We were given a ten inch record called the “Koo-ee Poi Poi Record of Instruction”. This is a sort of classroom rhythm game in which the player has in each hand a rubber ball attached to a rubber band attached to a handle. I expect you bounce these in time to the music. I find to my shock that this is currently available on CD. I have not found out for sure about the “Koo-ee Lummi Lummi Record of Instruction”. (Those wooden sticks you played in music class when you were five are apparently Lumi Sticks–not Lummi, by the way.) The same company did a few others along the same lines, but this record (and the Lummi one) featured Johnny Pearson and His Orchestra.

Johnny Pearson played pop (he was the orchestra leader on the BBC’s Top of the Pops for years) and he played dances and recorded, I don’t know, three million albums, recording his last CD in 2005, when he was 80. But what he did most was stock music.

Stock music is background music: TV and movie producers buy it up for the chase scenes, the love scenes, the lonely walks by the graveyard. On occasion, a bandleader who does stock music has a sideline in theme music: those bars of melody behind the name of the star and the title of the show. Johnny Pearson, in the breaks between writing poi poi music, wrote a little something called “Heavy Action”, which, after brief exposure on the BBC, came over here to become the theme song for Monday Night Football.

So when you’re over at Grandma’s this Thanksgiving, watching football and letting the gravy digest, ask her what she knows about poi poi balls. Make new holiday memories.

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