24 September 2020 – Jim Henson

So this is going to be super quick as it’s brass monkeys where I’m sitting. It’s Jim Henson’s birthday today, and I cannot overstate how much he’s meant to me. I grew up with Sesame StreetThe Muppets, and Fraggle Rock, and then later had my sexual awakening with David Bowie in Labyrinth (didn’t we all?) and then later still when I was model making, I met with Creature Shop puppeteer and Ludo maker, Ron Mueck, and was so star struck, I almost fainted in his workshop. Then there was falling in love with John Hurt as The Storyteller, sharing a house with Farscape’s leading man before he was famous (and yes, even more gorgeous in real life, and yes I know Farscape was after Jim’s death. Legacy, people), and to this day, I’m still terrified of Skeksis. And of course, all the Muppet movies. I even liked the recent Muppet Show reboot.

One of my most favourite things about The (original) Muppet Show were the songs. I had no idea they were real songs, I just thought they were made up for the show. And even now, I sometimes hear something on the radio which makes me go, ah. So I thought I would have a go at learning one of my favourites, Halfway Down The Stairs sung by Kermit’s cousin, Robin, and based on the A.A. Milne poem, Halfway Down. After all, with the stair being neither up nor down, means I get to tick liminal space off the folklore bingo card.

Anyone who’s listened to my piano playing before, knows how utterly painful it is. And what comes next is no exception. I gave myself an hour, it’s in one of my least favourite keys (e major), and I just couldn’t work out two bars of chords so I missed them out completely. You’ve been warned.

So before I go out and count my seven stars (it’s been pelting and the cloud cover was almost total earlier), I’ll leave you with some of my other favourite Muppet songs. But the first one is how Halfway Down The Stairs should actually sound.

Despite not being romantic, this is the most romantic song ever. And I’m happy to die on this hill.
My sister and I still sing this to each other.
Who?
Worms!
One of my ABSOLUTE favourites!

And yes, I did write this post sitting halfway down my stairs. Happy birthday, Jim!


Resources

Header: My original The Muppets second album.

https://www.henson.com

https://allpoetry.com/Halfway-Down

https://www.nationalgalleries.org/art-and-artists/artists/ron-mueck

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