Today in My History

2000:  A Critic is Born
2001:  In Transit
2002:  Nine Eleven
2003:  Alfred, Is That You?
2004:  The Albatross
2005:  Pepper
2006:  
I'm the Dominatrix, That's Why


IN MY OPINION
1776

Books Read in 2007

Updated 9/04:
"A Good Dog"


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MUSICALLY HANDICAPPED

11 September 2007

It was intermission at Jersey Boys, that delightful show about The Four Seasons.  The first act had been a real blockbuster with at least three instances where there was show-stopping applause following popular numbers, "Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry" and "Walk Like a Man."  I was lovin' it.  This was my era, my music.  I had enjoyed other "jukebox" musicals, shows based on the music of one person or one group (I'd seen Mama Mia, the music of ABBA, and Movin Out, the music of Billy Joel), but this was even better.  This was music I had listened to as a kid.

As he often does, my colleague Jeff Hudson, came to me at intermission to give his halftime thoughts.  Jeff's a fascinating guy.  He does reviews for the local public radio station and for the Sacramento News and Review newspaper.  He works as a reporter for The Davis Enterprise and fills in for me occasionally when I can't review a show.  He has a special love for Shakespeare and will go anywhere possible to catch a Shakespeare festival.  On those times when we carpool to a show, I always learn a lot from him, since he has an in-depth knowledge of theatre and a passion to share.  He always makes me feel like the poseur I sometimes think that I am!  This is the guy who knows his stuff!

At the Jersey Boy intermission, Jeff, as he always does, asked me what I thought about the show thus far and made the comment that it was good, but maybe "too much of a good thing."

He then went on to compare the light fare of The Four Seasons to the heavier, more important work of The Beatles, talking about the timelessness of the Beatles and how even his kids enjoyed his old records of Beatles music.  He brought up The White Album and its contribution to music.

I sat there nodding in agreement, not having a clue what he was talking about.

You see, I am musically handicapped. 

I listened to all that 50s/early 60s music when I was in grammar and high school.  My father had a large collection of music of the 30s and 40s, which I loved and as rock and roll started developing, he and I had lots of arguments about the "crap" that I was listening to and how it would never last.  I was always terribly influenced by what my father told me I should watch, listen to and read, even if I thought I wasn't.  (I got involved in campus politics, for example, my first semester and was very enthusiastic, very involved and very excited about an upcoming election.  My father managed to shut me down in one sentence and I never let myself get interested in campus politics after that because I no longer trusted my instincts.)

So my musical education ended sometime in the mid 60s.  I never got into the Beatles.  Of course I "know" the Beatles and know a lot of their songs (some of their songs I probably don't even know are their songs), but the whole music of the protest era passed me by.  I was working for the University of California at Berkeley when the Beatles burst on the scene.  I was singing church music with the Newman Hall choir and was listening to classical music that my boss recommended and easy listening music that wasn't about to make waves with my father.

I never attended a rock concert.  I couldn't tell you a Rolling Stones song to save my soul.  I didn't even like Elvis -- I preferred Perry Como and, of course, Judy Garland.  I was familiar with the rock names of the era, but couldn't identify them if I sat down across the table from them.  I liked Kingston Trio and John Denver.  It was only recently that I realized that Stevie Nicks was a woman, not a guy, and there are a couple of performers from my era that I only recently discovered were white, not Black, as I had assumed.

There's this whole musical disconnect that I have with a lot of my peers, who just assume that "everyone" knew the music of that era.  Look through our collection of old records and you will find one Santana record (Walt bought it) and maybe a Beatles record, but it's all easy listening, folk and classical music -- boring sort of music by the standards of a lot of folks my age.

I think of Michael J. Fox, as Marty McFly in Back to the Future, standing on the stage of a 50s high school dance rocking out with his electric guitar and then realizing that the kids in the audience are standing there with mouths hanging open.  His eyes twinkle and he says "don't worry--your kids are gonna love it."  I'm one of those with mouth hanging open. 

I learned more about rock from my kids than I ever got in my own young adult period.  I know more about Talking Heads than about The Beatles (and I know very little about Talking Heads).

So I just loved Jersey Boys because there was a musical about "old" music, music that I understood, that I knew and liked at the time, and that I was glad to see back again.

But "The White Album"?  I don't have a clue what the fuss was about.
 


Tomorrow is Cousins' Day again.  We are going to celebrate my mother's birthday this time around.  Next entry will be posted late.
 

PHOTO OF THE DAY

 

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