Posts Tagged ‘Music’
What was that sound? A hand-cranked railroad cart that needed oiling? An old firetruck with a broken siren? A group of boy scouts with a dying hippopotamus?
No, no, not a hippopotamus. Too artifactual sounding. Too human-made sounding. More like the siren, like an old fashioned air raid siren. And as I listened, not only did it get louder, but I had the distinct impression that it was getting closer.
PJ, who always dressed as a sailor for Halloween and worked three night shifts a week in the bar, would unlock the jukebox and reuse as many quarters as the machine would take and load up the play list with pure disco. Donna Summer got a little richer every time PJ was bartending. Alternately, Steve the Biker and Tex the Cowboy would take half their pinball money and load up the play list with non-disco songs, mostly Rolling Stones. The beer was good and it was all done in good fun.
Which brings me right up to the present. Since I mention my first girlfriend, I will also mention my last girlfriend, Amanda. There are a number of things that I’ve always liked but no one that I was “with” (as it were) also liked, or at least, such things were not important to them. For instance, I’ve always wanted to own a Subaru. No one I was “with” ever wanted a Subaru, so that never happened. Amanda strongly prefers Subarus. So now we have a couple of them. How cool is that?
I found an empty stool and sat down next to an older gentleman. He was wearing a gray beret. We chatted a bit about the weather, then I asked his name. “Vincenzo,” he told me.
I had turned 13 years old the week before I started working there, and that was a summer job that would turn into a volunteer position and eventually a year-round job. During this time, as was the case before and since, music was not really especially important to me, and I continued to have a very passive relationship with that particular fine art. But there were individuals who influenced my tastes. New people, whom you have yet to meet.
Art and oddities edition: art as social commentary, cassette-tape portraiture, Frans Lanting, the morning-after burrito, inside the Peeps factory, Archie Green, Amy Bennet, Minneapolis’s street cellist.
During my personal musical eclipse, after the novelty of the stereo and before I ever met Carl, my brother had a band. This was eventually to become a sort of secret band. He and at least some of the other band members had regular jobs, like working for the state, etc., and I’m not sure whether everybody they worked with knew that on weekends they would go home, dress in shiny white lamé suits, and play rock and roll at one or two high schools.
But the day I got that radio was the day I heard what became my first favorite song, and the world made sense to me somehow, because I had a red, white and blue radio, and a song coming out of it that echoed an American national identity. My dad gave that to me.
My father’s musical ability was nonexistent. When he would get a little drunk, he’d listen to his My Fair Lady album over and over. The other day we went to see My Fair Lady performed at the high school. I was afraid I was going to have a problem with that, but it was okay. No cold sweats, no feelings of doom, nothing. But I digress.