In Microtones, our newsletter-first column.
Welcome to Tone Madison's weekly email newsletter. Get our Microtones column and other extras in your inbox on Thursdays by signing up:
Local jingles come in many forms. Where the Jim's Coins in Hilldale song is a delicate, if slightly ramshackle little ditty, the Chalmers Jewelers jingle is a crystalline blast charging forth from car stereo speakers like a mighty Valkyrie.
With what sounds like one thousand voices, men and women together boldly sing out "CHALMERS JEWELERS…IN MIDDLETON" and stick their song into your brain for hours, maybe days.
Like many other local jingles of legend, the Chalmers Jewelers song's origins have been lost to time. Mike Miller, marketing director for Chalmers Jewelers, told me this week that no one remembers anything because the song was created 25 years ago. He asked the owner and even he didn't know.
"We just know we have the master recording," Miller says.
Chalmers has been in Middleton since 1992—last year it added a second location in Madison—so it seems customers have not had a hard time finding and patronizing the shop. But in my interpretation of the song, I can't help but hear "Milton" instead of "Middleton," and wonder if any listeners ever get confused. Somehow, the vocalists manage the trick of turning "Middleton" into a two-syllable word.
It's not like an accidental trip to Milton, Wisconsin would be the worst outcome. The small city is situated right outside the jewel of Rock County (Janesville!) and it's home to the NorthLeaf Winery, which is racking up some decent Google reviews.
But it seems like I might be the only one who's hearing "Milton" in the song.
"We haven't had any confusion," Miller said. "Now that you say it, I'll try to listen for that."
New this week:
The 2018 Wisconsin Film Festival schedule just came out. Here's what we're looking forward to.
Reid Kurkerewicz muses on the state of public art in Madison, with photos by Molly Wallace.
Chris Lay spotted a sex doll from 1979 on the shelf at St. Vinny's, inexplicably autographed by two former hosts of The Man Show, and understandably had some questions.
On the podcast: Phoebe Schlough talked with Milwaukee-based filmmaker Sky Hopinka about one of his most recent projects, Dislocation Blues.
Elsewhere on the Madison internet:
Impeccable psych-rock outfit Squarewave released a new track, Madison Magazinereported on the dustup over who can and can't use Clyde Stubblefield's name, Chants dropped a new track, "Diptych," from his forthcoming EP Carious Motion, and we recommend the Edge Effects podcast (produced at UW-Madison) for wide-ranging conversations about environment and society.
This week's Madison calendar: Kyle Kinane at the Comedy Club on State, Yelling At The Dark at Arts + Literature Laboratory, Kitschy Fest VI at Art In, Jordan Zawideh at Robinia Courtyard, Hangover Square at the Chazen Museum of Art, and more!