Monday, September 7, 2009
I'm a geezer.
I have been trying to convince people of this for years, ever since my first wife, Kristin, and I had a preschool in our house and hired a couple of high school girls to help us in the afternoons. I remember distinctly sitting on the playground and having a conversation with one of these girls, a young lady by the name of Shadie Lane (yeah, I asked... she didn't know) and for some reason the subject of music came up. I don't know how Blondie came up, but she'd never heard of them, having been born in 1980, just when their star was on the wane.
As you may or may not know, I work at Outback Steakhouse in good old Gainesville (or G-Vegas as it is known) and if you are familiar with Outback, much as with any restaurant of similar style, there is constant muzak playing in the background. Sometimes it's not so much in the background. It can actually get quite loud. The same couple of hundred songs are in constant rotation, and every so often, a couple will disappear, to be replaced by a couple of new ones. Who decides what gets played I dunno, but I want that job.
Anyhoo, I recently noticed a couple of startling changes. The first one I noticed was the addition of Rock The Casbah by The Clash. It is just one of those songs that you can't help singing to yourself, from the boogie-woogie-influenced piano opening (played by none other than ex-Squeeze keyboardist and now late night talk show host Jools Holland) to the wonderful chorus (Sharee-ee-eef don't like it!). That it was now muzak in itself was not surprising, it's catchy, it's upbeat, but what about if they decide to add more Clash songs? What if you're walking down the grocery aisle and suddenly you get assailed by WE'RE A GARAGE BAND!! OH-OH-OH!! or CAREER OPPORTUNITIES! or LONDON'S BURNING!
Then I noticed the addition of Elvis Costello's "Pump It Up". Strangely ironic that should be on the muzak, since it contains the lines "Listen to the muzak, thinkin' 'bout this 'n that".
God, that's one of those songs where you can remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when you first heard it. I was sitting on the back step of my Grandmother's kitchen with the portable radio, waiting for the Top 20 to come on, and listening to the Anne Nightingale show on Radio 1. Suddenly this divine sound comes out of the speaker, and I knew I had to have that record.
And now it's muzak. Designed to create ambience. Atmosphere.
The freakin' 80s are everywhere. Don't get me wrong, I love the 80s, but I did not realize they were making such a big comeback.
I recently found myself, for some reason, in Dots and rue21.
In rue21 there's practically a whole section of the store packed with big venetian-blind sunglasses, Madonna belts, dayglo leg warmers and funky neon hi-tops.
Then on to Old Navy, more of the same, and 'Sign Of The Times' by The Belle Stars on the muzak. I love that song, and it did my heart good to hear it, so I totally embarrassed the children
by singing the entire thing loudly as we walked around the store. I didn't care. I am proud to know all the words to it.
Anyway, it's just so weird to find everything you cherish from your formative years being recycled in this way. I'm off to work now to see if 'Anarchy In The UK' is on the muzak.