The Madonna Timeline: Song #41 – ‘Let It Will Be’ – Holidays 2005

{Note: The Madonna Timeline is an ongoing feature, where I put the iPod on shuffle, and write a little anecdote on whatever was going on in my life when that Madonna song was released and/or came to prominence in my mind.}

At the end of 2005, Madonna’s ‘Confessions on a Dancefloor’ was on perpetual play in my car and home, just as I was preparing for our annual Holiday Party. I’ve been throwing parties for years, and at this point they pretty much throw themselves, but there is still an element of production to them, and a certain punch and panache that makes a party memorable. (As this is being written, I have just come up with a concept and name for our Summer party in July, so parties are on my mind.) Since the iPod has selected ‘Let It Will Be’ as the next Madonna timeline song, let’s revisit the party scene in the works when that song was blaring in my shower – the build-up and anticipation, the preparation and planning, and the all-too-brief swell of a gathering of good friends at holiday time.

Now I can tell you about success, about fame,
About the rise and fall of all the stars in the sky
Don’t it make you smile?
Let it will be,
Just let it be,
Won’t you let it be?

Back in 2005 it was The Venetian Vanity Ball ~ and it began with the outfit. A frilly number, with tiers of vermillion tulle, layers of burgundy lace, and a few subtle lines of ostrich and marabou feathers thrown in for delight. Beneath this a pair of burnt-out velvet pants, sheer enough to show just the slightest bit of black Armani underwear, and bottomed off with cuffs of beaded lacing. A scarlet off-set hat accentuated with sequins and some additional plumage (including an actual bird) topped it all off, though I didn’t keep it on for long. And for those moments when I wanted to accompany a smoker or two outside (as any good host would), a red fox fur stole (from a Neiman Marcus clearance event) kept me (and a few others) warm and toasty. Grounding the whole ensemble was a pair of black leather cowboy boots, only the tips of which peeked through the beaded fringe of those velvet pants.

Now I can tell you about the place I belong,
You know it won’t last long,
And all those lights they will come down.

I enjoy dressing up for parties – and there is sometimes a costume change or two (or ten on special years). It’s a labor of love – even if sometimes more labor than love, and some years are more stressful than others. All the food and drinks need to be purchased and prepped, the decorations and musical soundtrack selected, and the lighting and fragrance decided upon and executed, and in the days prior to a party they can all come to a head, and a headache. Whenever the stress creeps up, and Andy and I are snapping at each other, I have to calm down and remember that it’s all supposed to be fun, and if it’s not then we shouldn’t even be doing it anymore. That’s when I think of this song, and in its way it calms me. Let it be.

Let it will be
Oh let it be
Just let it be
Won’t you let it be.

Paradoxically, it also lights a fire under me, providing inspiration to don the feathered angel wings, clamp on the enormous peacock tail, or squeeze into the twenty-pound bejeweled corsets that have made up some of the more outrageous holiday outfits of the past. An enormous amount of energy – physical and mental – is required to wear some of the things I’ve worn. It takes a different mindset, and I have to be in the right headspace to pull it off. So much of fashion is attitude and confidence. If you can wear it as if to the manner born, then it will be a success. If you have the slightest hesitation or trepidation, you’re toast. I don’t wear anything over which I carry the tiniest bit of doubt. If I have to ask an opinion on an outfit, or I’m unsure about something, then I know it’s not going to work.

Now I can see things for what they really are,
I guess I’m not that far
I’m at the point of no return
Just watch me burn…

It takes a lot out of a person, throwing a party. Yet somehow, at the end of the evening, it is always worth it. Eliciting a friend’s smile is worth everything.

Let it will be
Just let it be
Oh let it be…

Even so, I do wonder…

He sometimes looked back with awe at the carnivals of affection he had given, as a general might gaze upon a massacre he had ordered to satisfy an impersonal blood lust. – F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night

Now I can tell you
The place that I belong
It won’t last long
The lights they will turn down…

Just watch me burn…
Song #41: ‘Let It Will Be’ – Holidays 2005
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