4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

I did not want to dance. I thought it was gay....

Last Friday was Mexican Flag Day. It was that thought that prompted me to write about Mexico at all, and the column hijacked itself and had me write what it wanted. This is a beloved cop-out among writers and one that proves itself valid the longer you're at it. It is spring-like weather that suggests to me I start from there (broad enough), and I have no idea at this moment where that will lead.Spring.Young man's fancy, love, etc.

The poet's territory traditionally, and here's a poet ready to land on my desk. It is Boris (Doctor Zhivago) Pasternak.

Spring! I am from the street where poplars stand astonished,

Where the distance shies in fright, where houses fear to fall,

Where the air is blue-washed, like the linen bundle

Of a patient just discharged from a hospital.

Where the evening is vacant, like an interrupted story,

Ending in asterisks without any sequel

To the suspense of a thousand clamoring eyes,

Bereft of expression and deeply abysmal.

Free-associating. Love = doughnuts. Love = guitars. A spring evening with a warming breeze on the heels of a brutal wind-chill factor February in the Midwest. The scent of lavender in the air from...somewhere becomes an olfactory, Proustian time machine. I wanted to fill the night with music, guitar music, the Kinks, the Who. Link Wray. This would have been the mid-1960s and for those of you tired of my brain-burned and pot-holed memory lane, please feel free to turn the page. I'm going to say 1967, spring. I was 16. I did not want to dance. I thought it was gay, or more precisely, I would have thought of it as a homo thing. Still, I wanted to meet girls, and that year I was in a public high school in Grayslake, Illinois; I had been sitting next to them, across from them, behind them, smelling them -- and they may as well have been in El Paso. Sophomore year I had partially solved the problem with a band called (not by me, surprisingly enough) the Swordsmen. We probably had no idea of any double entendre. John LeDuc was a short, wiry little greaser who learned all the stuff on the Play Along with the Ventures records, so he was lead guitar. A quiet, burly athlete named Nils Holstrom who would, the following year, get killed in Vietnam, supplied rhythm guitar. The drummer was a guy I only remember as "Lurch" because of his resemblance to the guy on The Addams Family TV show. I played bass guitar; it was a lovely, hollow-body, violin-shaped Echo bass, similar enough to McCartney's, and I had borrowed it from a guy named Ralph Dado, a dangerous, older Italian dropout who also knew how to get pot.

I had commandeered the basement of Saint Gilbert's Church for Friday night dances under the auspices of a "regular Joe" type of priest whose name I've forgotten. We had a stage with an American flag and a lectern. The place held about 200 kids, and we packed them in. The Friday night series was a success. I have fond memories of playing and singing top 40 stuff, and that year, the top 40 seemed to have some of the best popular music anyone had heard. It still seems that way.

My fingers learned to play over the fretboard the notes to "We Gotta Get Out of This Place," and "Inside Looking Out," while my voice delivered a fair imitation of Eric Burdon's. Fair, I say, fair -- nowhere near the power, the control and whatnot, but....

Learning "Hey Mister Space Man" by the Byrds prepared me for a year-long stint playing country and western bass a few years later at military bases and after-hours truckers' joints in hostile places like Casper, Wyoming, and Pocatello, Idaho. And the bass part to "Nowhere Man" still eludes me. I wonder what rubbish I passed off as the original running line Paul delivered with seeming ease. The old gospel song "Bury My Body" (and we were imitating the Animals again here, this was long before Led Zeppelin) is still an anthem of freedom and promise when I replay the thing in my head. I have been unable to find a recording of the Animals version for many years.

I don't remember the girls' names other than Sue Faulkner or Suzy Creamcheese, a thinner, sexier, and younger Mama Cass in a Podunk landscape. I became the boyfriend of a girl named Cindy and later, Beth. Beth had a seriously bad time of it a year later when I got my own apartment in Chicago and broke it off. I only heard about her therapy sessions with a priest over this trauma 20 years later.

Something about spring evenings (and I know it is not yet spring) and a slightly above body temperature breeze blowing through a high school parking lot and cooling the rock and roll sweat from the back of my neck embodies the essence of Friday night to me more than any other set of sensations I can summon.

Somebody, please invite me to your Friday night high school dance. Please. Write TGIF Dance, P.O. Box 85803, San Diego, CA, 92186. I promise I will behave.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Is American cuisine inherently racist?

David Page’s Food Americana keeps things appropriately complicated

Last Friday was Mexican Flag Day. It was that thought that prompted me to write about Mexico at all, and the column hijacked itself and had me write what it wanted. This is a beloved cop-out among writers and one that proves itself valid the longer you're at it. It is spring-like weather that suggests to me I start from there (broad enough), and I have no idea at this moment where that will lead.Spring.Young man's fancy, love, etc.

The poet's territory traditionally, and here's a poet ready to land on my desk. It is Boris (Doctor Zhivago) Pasternak.

Spring! I am from the street where poplars stand astonished,

Where the distance shies in fright, where houses fear to fall,

Where the air is blue-washed, like the linen bundle

Of a patient just discharged from a hospital.

Where the evening is vacant, like an interrupted story,

Ending in asterisks without any sequel

To the suspense of a thousand clamoring eyes,

Bereft of expression and deeply abysmal.

Free-associating. Love = doughnuts. Love = guitars. A spring evening with a warming breeze on the heels of a brutal wind-chill factor February in the Midwest. The scent of lavender in the air from...somewhere becomes an olfactory, Proustian time machine. I wanted to fill the night with music, guitar music, the Kinks, the Who. Link Wray. This would have been the mid-1960s and for those of you tired of my brain-burned and pot-holed memory lane, please feel free to turn the page. I'm going to say 1967, spring. I was 16. I did not want to dance. I thought it was gay, or more precisely, I would have thought of it as a homo thing. Still, I wanted to meet girls, and that year I was in a public high school in Grayslake, Illinois; I had been sitting next to them, across from them, behind them, smelling them -- and they may as well have been in El Paso. Sophomore year I had partially solved the problem with a band called (not by me, surprisingly enough) the Swordsmen. We probably had no idea of any double entendre. John LeDuc was a short, wiry little greaser who learned all the stuff on the Play Along with the Ventures records, so he was lead guitar. A quiet, burly athlete named Nils Holstrom who would, the following year, get killed in Vietnam, supplied rhythm guitar. The drummer was a guy I only remember as "Lurch" because of his resemblance to the guy on The Addams Family TV show. I played bass guitar; it was a lovely, hollow-body, violin-shaped Echo bass, similar enough to McCartney's, and I had borrowed it from a guy named Ralph Dado, a dangerous, older Italian dropout who also knew how to get pot.

I had commandeered the basement of Saint Gilbert's Church for Friday night dances under the auspices of a "regular Joe" type of priest whose name I've forgotten. We had a stage with an American flag and a lectern. The place held about 200 kids, and we packed them in. The Friday night series was a success. I have fond memories of playing and singing top 40 stuff, and that year, the top 40 seemed to have some of the best popular music anyone had heard. It still seems that way.

My fingers learned to play over the fretboard the notes to "We Gotta Get Out of This Place," and "Inside Looking Out," while my voice delivered a fair imitation of Eric Burdon's. Fair, I say, fair -- nowhere near the power, the control and whatnot, but....

Learning "Hey Mister Space Man" by the Byrds prepared me for a year-long stint playing country and western bass a few years later at military bases and after-hours truckers' joints in hostile places like Casper, Wyoming, and Pocatello, Idaho. And the bass part to "Nowhere Man" still eludes me. I wonder what rubbish I passed off as the original running line Paul delivered with seeming ease. The old gospel song "Bury My Body" (and we were imitating the Animals again here, this was long before Led Zeppelin) is still an anthem of freedom and promise when I replay the thing in my head. I have been unable to find a recording of the Animals version for many years.

I don't remember the girls' names other than Sue Faulkner or Suzy Creamcheese, a thinner, sexier, and younger Mama Cass in a Podunk landscape. I became the boyfriend of a girl named Cindy and later, Beth. Beth had a seriously bad time of it a year later when I got my own apartment in Chicago and broke it off. I only heard about her therapy sessions with a priest over this trauma 20 years later.

Something about spring evenings (and I know it is not yet spring) and a slightly above body temperature breeze blowing through a high school parking lot and cooling the rock and roll sweat from the back of my neck embodies the essence of Friday night to me more than any other set of sensations I can summon.

Somebody, please invite me to your Friday night high school dance. Please. Write TGIF Dance, P.O. Box 85803, San Diego, CA, 92186. I promise I will behave.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Godzilla vs. Kong: monstrous

This isn’t a movie, it’s a product strung together off the backs of merchandise that came before it.
Next Article

Cheyenne Benton’s love/hate relationship with the San Diego County Fair

“I looked out into the crowd I saw Vic Fuentes from Pierce the Veil”
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close