ONCE IN A LIFETIME

When I was little kid my Mother used to call most of the music I listened to ‘yeah yeah’ music. Actually she referred to most music recorded after 1955 as ‘yeah yeah’ music. She was in her mid-30s when I dropped into the universe just prior to the 1960’s social revolution so there was a pretty big age and generation gap between us.

In our old house in New York, Mom kept a little black rinky dinky plug-in radio on top of the refrigerator that was either set to the news or that one scary AM station that played stuff like Glenn Miller, Bing Crosby, Tommy Dorsey and the Andrews Sisters. It always seemed like a weird time warp for me to come home from school and hear this old-fashioned tin-ny radio blaring 1940’s music. At the time it was hard for me to conceive of a world where stuff like that was the modern hip sound. But of course, in its day, her music was as cutting edge as mine seemed to me.

That was the soundtrack of her generation. All of us have one. The songs that take you back to an easier time. I might have hated K.C and The Sunshine Band when I was in High School, and mind you it was a law in late 70’s Miami that they be played on the radio every seven minutes, but now I have developed a soft spot for them and I even get a bit nostalgic when I hear that repetitive drek.

I personally have never really been into the pop music of the day. When I was a preteen I was hooked on 50’s music, the Beatles, obscure novelties and the blues. The first current music I really liked was punk and new wave. At High School parties my imported 45’ copy of Warm Leatherette was always a hit and I often had people in my college freshman dorm room to listen to my LP of ‘Sid Vicious Sings’. Of course that was mostly because of the banter between songs where he and the audience exchange taunts and curses.

This all came to mind earlier when I was thinking about my life. Like most of us, life has a tendency to take some unexpected twists and turns. When one of those twists bends me so far I hear my neck crack, I start to get reflective. I was racing through the often mentally dangerous ‘how did I end up here’ spin when I thought of the 30 year-old 1980 Talking Heads song ‘Once In A Lifetime”.

You may ask yourself
How do I work this?
You may ask yourself
Where is that large automobile?
You may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful house!
You may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful wife!

Wikipedia says ‘with the lyrics “Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down,” the song has an existential vibe to it, although it is usually interpreted to be a song dealing with the midlife crisis and the inevitable sacrifice of youthful ideals and dreams for conventional success’.

You may ask yourself
What is that beautiful house?
You may ask yourself
Where does that highway lead to?
You may ask yourself
Am I right?… Am I wrong?
You may say to yourself
My God!… what have I done?

Once I got over my momentary pity party I started to think about the video for that song. At the time it seemed so different. So cutting edge and stylized. Now it seems rather cheesy and low budget like some first year college film student’s project. If I showed it to some twelve year old kid it would seem like it was from a universe as far away as my Mom’s ‘beautiful music’ radio station blaring through that little radio on top of the fridge. The problem with ‘cutting edge’ is that the edge keeps moving. Same as it ever was… same as it ever was…

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About mrdvmp

Mr DVMP spends his days breathing, eating and sleeping.
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