The Meaning of Rhapsody

Hello, Fellow Anglophiles. Steff here. The final episode of our Monty Python season is now available to stream directly from our website, and all [two] of us here at Anglophilia would absolutely love it if you gave it a listen. What’s it about? Ostensibly, it’s about Monty Python’s final movie, Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life. Naturally, given the subject matter (and/or lack thereof, but you’ll hear more on that in the recording), Kaley and I ended up delving a wee bit deeper. How could we not? We are “standing on a planet that's evolving and revolving at 900 miles an hour,” after all.

Speaking of galaxies, now seems like a very appropriate time to discuss one planet that’s getting an awful lot of attention recently, Mr. Mercury.

As plenty of social media addicts, Millennials, and Angelenos know, Mercury “went retrograde” on Friday, November 16. According to astrologers, that means life has the potential to get even harder. Thinking of buying an iPhone? Don’t. It will explode. Thinking of signing a contract? Don’t. The Devil’s gonna get ya. Moving? Not this month, buddy. Mercury is feeling its diva-self and taking a three-and-a-half week power nap, and since Mercury — apparently — is in charge of things like communication and travel and contracts and electronics, you may want to hold off on booking any Airbnbs until after December 6.

Do I subscribe to the theory that a moody planet is passed out in its canopy bed and that I should be wary of my Starbucks app? Not at all, mate. Besides, I’m ruled by a different Mercury these days.


Despite Mercury going retrograde, I was still able to use my phone to purchase tickets to see Bohemian Rhapsody last weekend. There are a lot of things being said about Bohemian Rhapsody right now, and I’m not about to corroborate or contradict any of them. What I will say is that since I saw the movie on Saturday, November 17 — the day after the galaxy went all funny — I’ve been talking to myself in my best Rami Malek voice and listening to “Under Pressure” on a loop. Freddie sounds like an angel, and Spotify, despite its planetary ruler’s lazy ass, is working just fine.

When was the last time you listened to “Under Pressure”? That song has been one of my favorites since I was 17 years old. Remember being 17? When your body and mind were buzzing and everything was so important? Of course a 17-year-old girl from the suburbs would go mad for a song like “Under Pressure.” It’s loud. It’s got Bowie. It’s about LOVE.

At 17, the main kind of love I was concerned with was Romantic Love. The butterflies in my stomach meant everything and I never stopped thinking about kissing. Kissing was love and love was forever and that must have been what Freddie and David were singing about, yeah? Weren’t “the people on the edge of the night” just staying up late pining for their crushes? At 31, I know that’s not what’s happening here. At 31, I hear Freddie Mercury asking if we can “give ourselves one more chance,” and I know he’s not talking about rekindling a love affair — he’s talking about survival. And man, we are going to need love — empathetic and patient and gentle love — if we’re going to survive this constant political fuckery.

…Love dares you to care for
The people on the edge of the night
And love dares you to change our way of
Caring about ourselves
This is our last dance
This is our last dance
This is ourselves under pressure
Under pressure

Last year, my country saw Nazis take center stage while nuclear war loomed in the background. This year, we were told the Climate Change Clock is ticking much faster than we previously thought. Last week, my hometown suffered a mass shooting and a massive wild fire in just about 24 hours, giving America a peek at what our worst fears are telling us. Something else might happen today, tomorrow, or next week, and our chosen (?) leader will mock us from his gigantic gold-plated toilet seat. Screw adolescence — THIS is Pressure.

The strange thing, though, is that despite the state of the world, time is still moving forward. The turkeys ain’t gonna stuff themselves. The holiday season, with its saturated fats and twinkly lights, is rapidly closing in on us. Like it or not, we’re going to have to get out of bed and face the Christmas music. Everything will get hectic and tiring and isolating, but, in the words of Eric Idle, “remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure, how amazingly unlikely is your birth.” You’re here. You made it. You’re doing great.

This is what I propose. Despite all this mess — or maybe, in light of all this mess — let’s go ahead and give ourselves one more chance. Let’s be extra thankful for what we have, and let’s not forget the people on the edge of the night. Reach out to them. Invite them ‘round for leftovers. Invite them to shop for poinsettias. Invite them to come over for a cheeky drop of eggnog before catching a matinee of Bohemian Rhapsody.

Like it or not, we’re all still here — we may as well crank up the Queen.

Stephanie CallasComment