"Yesterday's history, tomorrow's a mystery, but today is a gift...that's why we call it the present."
If you've read Michael's 8/24/05 blog entry, you already know that this year's "McBirthday Madness" surely proved a great success, so first and foremost I want to thank each and every one of you who took part. After all, without you the surprise Michael received on his special day would be the surprise of no gift whatsoever. But, as the result of your incredibly positive response, the collective creation became a truly "worldwide" effort, garnering submissions from not only the United States, but the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom as well!
And, as usual, its construction proved a whirlwind battle with the clock that resulted in this "McPresent" being sent via overnight mail within minutes of the post office locking its doors on Aug. 23rd (with subsequent confirmation of its receipt at 10:25AM on Aug. 24th).
In any case, without further ado, the title at the top of this page describes the main portion of the gift in a nutshell...and the quote just below it offers insight into precisely what it all means. But, to describe it a bit more specifically, I've pasted below the explanation Michael himself read upon opening the gift and removing the booklet included to aid him in deciphering the details (NOTE: The actual pieces of the book appearing below are the sections in blue):
Borrowing from “yesterday’s history” and the manner in
which recorded music was once encased, this new and improved version of “The Album Jacket”
something both the same and very different…in that it not merely covers a
recording (whose contents are yet a mystery), it’s also made from the very
“fabric” of that recording’s music itself.
Of course, since the guest artists contributing “performances” to this highly anticipated work are still unaware of just which tracks have made the final cut, “The Album Jacket” represents an unedited version containing additional (though equally worthy) material that may only be “heard” via this very special limited edition.
That limited edition being, of course, the potential album filled with all of the unreleased McD song lyrics you provided -- after they'd been converted to iron-on transfers and applied to...you guessed it, a very real "jacket"...
And, along with the decorated lines were also attached various additional adornments expressing appropriate phrases such as "Words of Wisdom", "Hope", "Dream", etc...plus a label to replace the original brand name with our own more fitting one, "Celebrate In Style"...(by the way, there are a couple areas not shown in the photos, so if you don't see your submission, don't panic. I assure you each and every item sent was indeed included)...
What’s more, to bind this bit of nostalgia to the current form in which music is now made publicly available, “The Album Jacket” surrounds a combination of CD and vinyl technology – and includes a “bonus disc” of photos…some from The Pauper Community, plus others added to round out this slice of the life we herein honor today: you, Michael McDermott.
Unfortunately, one of the photos that didn't turn out
was a shot of the actual 33RPM vinyl record Michael found peeking out below the
collar of the jacket...and attached to each side of the center of that album was
a CD case enclosing a real CD -- on one side a blank disc, which included the
notation on the inside cover...
Blank CD to be filled by
...and on the other, the aforementioned "Bonus Photo Disc", comprised of 73 assorted photos (including those submitted as the optional third component of participants were asked to send in if they wished)...
Bonus Photo Disc
Scenes from a
(Best viewed as a
And, of course, what recording of any era would be complete without “acknowledgements” pertaining to those aforementioned guest artists. In the spirit of the particular bit of “history in the making” we’re commemorating, it’s those very guest artists who acknowledge you -- in the form of birthday cards, letters, thank-you notes, etc.
Again, I don't have a photo illustrating the cards,
notes, etc., but rest assured they were all included underneath the jacket in
the bottom of the package. And, with regard to that "package"...
Finally, to bring this whole thing fully into tomorrow, all of the above are enclosed in an “expanded” version of the modern “jewel case”…the “jewels” in this “case” being, of course, your singular – and singularly insightful -- lyrics.
...painted it grey, inserted two 1 1/2" wide strips of wood (painted yellow) on one side to achieve something approximating the look of a real CD case, then decorated it...
...by creating a collage of the McDermott lines to show through the plexiglass, as well as a conventional back/side panel stating the name of the artist and title for placing it on a shelf in book form...
And, on the back side of the opened lid, a second piece of poster board was attached (to the one on which the collage had been assembled) to create a sleeve that holds the CD booklet (again, unfortunately, the photo of the completed, open box illustrating this "in action" didn't come out -- my apologies)...
...which booklet, of course, includes the previously noted page explaining the whole project to Michael, an introduction to how the whole idea was brought together -- i.e. the web page calling for submissions, etc. -- a list of "Guest Performers" (just a sampling/p.1 of these is shown below)...
... and, of course, a page pointing out the whole reason for this "madness" in the first place...
(NOTE: All pages of the book actually sent to Michael were printed on the same design paper as the cover, with an even more celebratory "Happy Birthday" page, not the plain versions shown here.)
Of course, no CD case would be complete without shrinkwrap, and we certainly wouldn't want to give Michael something "substandard", would we?
Unfortunately, even Michael isn't aware (until he reads this page, that is!) that in the last minute rush to complete packing the whole thing up and sending it on its way to the P.O., I neglected to paste on the ad stickers I'd prepared to give it a truly authentic finishing touch...
Be that as it may, as a final note in the CD booklet, it was announced to Michael...
But, what you ask, at last, is the method in all this
“madness”? What else?
And, what could be more appropriate for an artist who's always (figuratively) worn his "heart on his sleeve" than one that allows him at last to do so literally as well?!?!? (not to mention on his chest, back, etc...)!!!
And, on that note, we collectively close “The Album Jacket” book...
...adding only once again that already I look forward to next year...even though what type of "McBirthday Madness" it may hold remains a surprise even to me!!!
Til next time...