So I wanted to go out tonight - bad - but D didn't call me, and J said she was going to call me, but didn't, and I watched 3 or 4 episodes of Upstairs, Downstairs until I was going crazy and then I thought, oh what the hell, and went out with my other friend J to see this band The Dorchesters. One of the museum volunteers, P, who I have always liked, is the mother of the drummer. Well I went down there with no hopes. . . I've heard the Dorchesters before and okay, they're very nice. I still pretty much feel the same way - they're very nice, if you're into doowop, and all - but I ended up having a great time.
I talked to P at great length and realized what a cool, fascinating, awesome woman she is. She's lived all over the world, done all kinds of amazing things, raised 5 kids, been married twice, widowed at 47 - she is extremely awesome, and I wouldn't have learned this if I hadn't gone out tonight. And I was very grudging - I was like, I do not want to go to this bar, I don't want to hear this band, I don't want to hang out with these people - really not psyched, in fact negatively psyched, and it was great.
Even though I was whiny to start, and then I forgot my cigarettes, so I had to go over to College Street Pub to buy some, which is deeply ick, and the cigarette machine at College St. ate one of my dollars, but I realized that it would be way over $1 worth of annoyance and aggravation to get it back, so I ate it - $4.75 for a pack of camel lights, when I smoke American Spirits. So I was extremely cranky.
But after talking to P, my attitude changed. And then the bar filled up, with this amazing mix of people and I started to think, you know, for all I complain incessantly, I really am fond of this century, this time, this place. I love it that I'm listening to music from before I was born, played by people of all ages, which is being enjoyed by people from 20 to 70, all colors, with spiked hair, dreadlocks, bouffants and banker do's. We underestimate the strength of the switch that has quietly taken place over the last few decades, where this is possible, where things are multi cultural and, oddly enough, multi temporal. Super retro band, crowd from all over the damn place, and it's all okay. Music from every decade, and everybody can like it: the field is open.
When I was in high school and college, you would never, ever see a black person in a bar in downtown Charleston, like Myskyns, or wherever, unless s/he was pushing a mop or playing in the band. We used to go to Captain Harry's to hear reggae: an all white crowd drinking Bud, listening to a black band. And the punk kids didn't go, and the hippies had their own place, and the preppies had theirs (which was Captain Harry's - or the Oyster Bar) and you never, ever saw anybody under 16 or over 26. Now, it's all mixed up, and we're so much the richer for it.
Okay, I confess to hating swing bands with a passion, and stuff like the Squirrel Nut Zippers makes me ill, and I still have no interest in listening to doo wop at home - but I do listen to old time, and blue grass which was written before my grandfather could walk, and I love it. The fact that that is all around me now, that I can pick and choose from the decades, meet people from all backgrounds, it's an open world - is good, and we forget just how actually incredibly surprisingly amazing it is. We take it for granted, and we shouldn't, because it is a New Thing.
Next post will return to our usual depressing angst, I promise. This is just a temporary outbreak of optimism, soon to be followed by complete misery ridden Valentines blues. God I hate Valentines Day!