disco

Yeah Yeah Yeah!

The first decade of my lifetime was virtually precisely coeval with the 196o’s.    I was born in 1959 so I’m entirely too young to remember the era of flower power, mods, rockers and hippies.    Somehow,though, at an extremely early age I became smitten with all the people, places, things and circumstances that were prominent then.    That sort of qualifies me as a victim of the Golden Age Syndrome.     By the time I turned thirteen years old, the grooviest decade of all had already been over for about the past two years.    The Beatles, my favorite band, were already broken up since the first half of April, 1970.   The first few years of the 1970’s seemed to have shown great promise.   Singers and bands such as Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, and Led Zeppelin were always on the radio.    They were throwbacks to the 1960’s anyway though.   Eventually their successors started coming into prominence.   Disco was especially conspicuous during that time frame, followed by new wave and punk.    I, of course,  still stuck to my obsessive interest in the further adventures of John, Paul, George and Ringo.    Much of the music of the middle and late 1970’s was exceptionally good, but I could never let go of my hippie fantasy.   The fact that all four Beatles were then still living made it at least theoretically possible to believe that somehow their era would make a kind of comeback.   The Grateful Dead, Who, Rolling Stones, and Jefferson Airplane (with a slight name change), among other bands from the 1960’s, were all still together.   Bob Dylan and Joan Baez could still be counted on to show up every once in a while.   beatles6b I gained quite a reputation among all my friends, classmates, teachers and people in general, for being such a fan of both the entire 1960’s as a whole and particularly of the Fab Four.   As far as I’m concerned the Beatles and their world have always provided quite an infinitely fertile ground for someone with a hyperactive imagination and an interest in keeping things colorful.   Unfortunately, as good as the solo Beatles’ music, and that of their contemporaries may have been throughout the course of the 1970’s I, always having been so obsessively infatuated with the 1960’s, could never bring myself to admit that anything since then was as good as it was during that time.    Having set up an entirely intrinsically impossible standard of comparison, I ended up in the seriously weird position of getting the distinct impression that the 1970’s versions of the Beatles and their contemporaries were somehow not as good as their slightly earlier personae simply because of the mere passage of time.   As far as I was concerned the 1960’s were a time of merry go rounds, kaleidoscopes, tangerines and marmalade, and the Beatles, as they then existed, were the ultimate personification of imagination and creativity.   Throughout my entire adolescence I read every book, and newspaper and magazine article, that had ever been written about the Beatles, and their lives and times.   Their speech patterns, quirks and mannerisms became part of my world.    Thanks to my insatiable curiosity about them and their era, I became quite exceptionally knowledgeable about all things pertaining to the Fab Four and the 1960’s.   Besides the songs and albums of their Beatle years I kept track of albums like John Lennon’s “Walls And Bridges”, Paul McCartney’s “Band On the Run”, George Harrison’s “Dark Horse”, and Ringo Starr’s “Ringo”, among all their other solo adventures.   I was quite conversant in all things Beatle and could occasionally be counted on even to go overboard with my interest in them.   Even now that I’m a middle aged man I still consider all the music of the 1960’s, and especially that of the Lads from Liverpool, to be entirely without equal.   Perhaps some of my youthful obsession with it all has been tempered to the point of its being a bit more subtle but it’s still always with me.      In a much more important sense it was quite a nightmarishly ugly poisonous environment, but for a kid with a hyperactive imagination and a flair for the colorful it could never possibly be topped or even matched.

 

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/teen-age-idol/

http://sustainabilitea.wordpress.com/

 

 

Annunci

it was a very good year

I turned sixteen years old on September 16, 1975, during the disco era when Gerald R. Ford was president.   I lived in Lindenhurst, New York.   Back then, as during most of my lifetime, I was quite shy with people I didn’t know, but upon having gotten to know someone I could be quite the quick-witted obnoxious character.    In my yearbook, when I graduated, people wrote several comments about my distinctive sense of humor, and complaints about how I let people get away with too much.  A junior at St. John the Baptist Diocesan High School in West Islip, on suburban Long Island,  I got along very well with all my teachers and the other kids in school.   As a teenage boy, I could never help noticing how exceptionally lovely so many of the girls were.  Fortunately most of the people on the faculty, and in the administration and guidance department were quite impressive.   My favorite class that year was Mr. Brian Clancy’s seventh period American History class.   History’s always been one of my favorite subjects anyway and Mr. Clancy really knew how to keep things interesting in a classroom.    The single most distinctive memory I have of Mr. Clancy is that throughout the year, he kept trying to get each of us kids to recite, in order, the name of each president from George Washington to Ford.   He always seemed to have been especially determined to drill it into my head.    Not a day went by that he didn’t stop me at some random time and try to get me to name them all.    Unlike my adult persona, in those days it could never have occurred to me to think of life as one big theology and philosophy classroom, or as a cultural battlefield between the forces of good and those of evil.   I just tried to be a good kid and to have a few laughs.   When my tenth grade theology teacher, Mr. Jerry Di Noto, now on my Facebook friend list, found out what kind of adult I’ve turned into, he was genuinely shocked because, according to him, I was always simply such a nice guy as a kid.opie  Then, as now, I was never even the least bit interested in, sports, nor was I the least bit competent at anything athletic,  so whatever references other guys in my crowd made to that kind of thing were all entirely over my head.    Having always been very interested in chess as a youngster, I joined Mr. Nagy’s chess club.   For some strange reason, though, that group fell apart after only a very short time.    When I was a freshman, my homeroom classmates, who were among the most colorful, obnoxious characters I’ve ever met,  made me their representative on the student council.   I stuck with it throughout school.    After I got home from school each day I spent most of my time hanging around with the Copiague public school kids in my neighborhood.    Things were about the same with them as with my friends from school.    I virtually always avoided sports except for something that vaguely approximated basketball in the street.    No description any part of my lifetime could possibly be complete without a reference to my musical tastes.   Maybe it’s because of my total lack of a connection to sports, but I’ve always been quite inordinately interested in music, especially the Beatles and everything else from the 1960’s.    Disco, though it now might just as well not even exist, was an omnipresent curse in those days for those of us who didn’t like it.    I used always to try to convince my friends that the music of the 1960’s was infinitely superior to even the best of what our era had to offer.    On July 3, 1976, my cousin Larry, five years older than I, got married.    I was an usher in his wedding party.     Although I was still only a kid, it was a bit of a reminder that adulthood wasn’t extremely far away.    Unfortunately my parents never let me get a driver’s license, or even a permit, until I was nineteen years old.   At sixteen, unless someone was willing to give me a ride, I could never go anyplace that was any farther than either my feet or a bicycle could take me.    I like to think I was quite a gentleman in those days.    As far as I know I must have been at least reasonably decent because whenever I meet someone who remembers me from that part of my life, I get a nice friendly reaction and a reminder of what a very good time it was.

 

 

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/only-sixteen/

 

 

http://lishwriter.wordpress.com/

the music man

ublt

Because I was born in September of 1959, the first decade of my lifetime was virtually precisely coeval with the 1960’s.    Musically and otherwise the 1960’s have made quite an indelible mark upon my lifetime.    My childhood was filled with all sorts of musical influences.    I was four and a half years old when the Beatles first appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show”.    To this day they’re still undeniably my absolute favorites.     That era was known for musical variety shows like “Sing Along With Mitch”, “Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour “, and “The Dean Martin Show”, among several others.     As a kid I was always smitten with the sounds of  songs like Petula Clark’s “Downtown”,   Zager and Evans’ “In the Year 2525”, and  Mary Hopkin’s “Those Were the Days”.    Whenever I’d go to a doctor’s office I’d keep obsessing over songs like Percy Faith’s “Theme From ‘A Summer Place'” and Mason Williams’   “Classical Gas”,  among others that were played in waiting rooms.    The folk, jazz, country and other musical styles of that era have always been quite a major love of my life.    Although I’ve never been even the least bit willing to humor the liberals, I’ve even  always  thoroughly enjoyed the protest songs of that era.     Along with all that I made sure I joined the glee club at my grammar school, St. Gabriel’s in East Elmhurst, as soon as I was old enough.    Brother Edmond and Brother James, of the De la Salle Christian Brothers, taught us all the then-current popular songs as well as Christmas and Easter songs and show tunes.   Brother James played the guitar quite well and Brother Edmond, with his fine baritone voice, sang an exceptional version of “Edelweiss(Blossom of Snow)”  from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music”.     I even took guitar lessons for a while at one of the local public schools, P.S. 127.    My parents were always quite happy to humor my sister and me about our tastes in music.   They enjoyed country music, Edith Piaf and other standards they grew up with so that widened my horizons even more.     Eventually the 1960′ s became the 1970’s.   That era started out fairly well with  Carole King’s “Tapestry” as well as James Taylor, Led Zeppelin and a few other holdovers from the 1960’s.    Eventually, though, disco started to become popular.   My teenage years saw the rise of tacky styles in music and dress.    There were good singers and bands too, though, like the Doobie Brothers, Elton John, Grand Funk and a few others.    In my imagination, though, gone forever were the days when everything musical was perfect.    Even most of  the then-current music I listened to generally tended to be the latest album by someone like Bob Dylan, the Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin (a variation of the Yardbirds).    I had become such a musical snob and purist.    I continuously picked fights with all the kids in school, as well as the public school kids, defending my claim that even in the best of 1970’s music, there was something missing compared to that of the previous decade.      Unfortunately I’ve never been terribly comptetent musically.   My strengths seem to lie more in writing and story telling.    Maybe that’s why I’ve always so thoroughly enjoyed the songs of the 1960’s.     It was an era that included songs like Joan Baez’s “So We’ll Go No More A-Roving”, based on a poem by Lord Byron, Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” and the Beatles’ “I Am the Walrus” , based on Lewis Carroll’s “Alice In Wonderland”, and Yoko Ono’s “Who Has Seen the Wind”, based on a Christina Rossetti poem.       The music I grew up with has profoundly influenced both my adult musical tastes and even my entire life in general.    Although the singers and musicians of my early days could never possibly get me to agree with their liberal political and social agenda, they’ve most certainly shaped my imagination and given me ideas and interest which I may never have otherwise gotten.

 

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/20/daily-prompt-papa-loves-mambo/