I’ve never been a big fan of New Year’s Eve. There’s so much pressure to do something out-of-this-world fabulous, not to mention have someone out-of-this-world fabulous to do it with. I remember prix fixed restaurant dinners that weren’t worth the money and too-big parties whose forced gaiety made everyone feel tense and champagne hangovers that wrecked me for days. And I remember occasions when my husband was suffering from flare-ups from Crohn’s disease and was too ill to celebrate at all.
My favorite memories are of quiet evenings with him and a few close friends, and this past New Year’s Eve was a case in point. He was in better-than-usual health and good spirits, so out we went.
Our hosts were Martha and Michael Collins, who had lost their house in the 2008 wildfire that destroyed over 200 homes in the Santa Barbara area. After living in a trailer for four years, Martha and Michael rose from the ashes, literally, and moved last month into the spectacular new house they built on the same site — a meticulously-crafted beacon of resilience. Some people would have been thrown by the very notion of losing everything (short of the clothes on their backs and their laptops), but Martha and Michael thrived, their marriage and partnership more solid than ever.
We were in the midst of their scrumptious meal when Michael, a filmmaker whose specialty has been chronicling the lives and music of our most accomplished rock ‘n’ roll artists, mentioned that among the very few material possessions he’d been able to grab before a wall of flames drove him and Martha out of their house was the documentary footage he’d shot 35 years ago of Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 Japanese tour to promote their “Rumours” album.
“I’m finishing up the documentary now,” he told us.
“The public has never seen Fleetwood Mac like this before,” Martha chimed in. “They were so young and it was such an innocent time, and the music is beyond great since they were in their prime.”
I put down my knife and fork (not easy when your hosts have prepared a feast that would rival any restaurant), and said, “Can we see this documentary? Like, tonight?”
Michael hesitated. “It’s still raw — a work in progress. But I guess I could show you clips.”
I was not taking “I guess” for an answer. Fleetwood Mac has always been one of my favorite bands and on this particular New Year’s Eve, when I’d felt barraged by news of Kanye West, the Gangnam Style guy and Rihanna’s latest Twitpic, I was so in the mood for a little boomer music. Continue reading