Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Went to the Mariners today with my good friend J-Lon and his dad. A lovely stadium -- we the people are paying for it; I opposed it but since I’m paying for it I may as well enjoy it -- and a beautiful day and great seats with shade and breeze, and a donnybrook of a game: 9 to 8 the final, with Mariners taking the early lead, the Red Sox passing them, the Mariners passing back, the Red Sox tying, and the Mariners winning in the bottom of the ninth.

Musical mix is interesting. The “Star-Spangled Banner” to begin, of course, and say what you want against nationalism, but it’s a stirring tune. I’ve often heard that the melody began life as a drinking song, and it made me wonder: what were the original words? Wikipedia tells me: To Anacreon in Heaven, and it was the official song of the Anacreontic Society of London, an 18th-century amateur musical club that back in the day hosted a party for Haydn. The ancient Greek poet Anacreon’s themes were wine, sex, and song.

The house DJ plays music clips continuously through the game: Lots of loud techno to amp up the crowd, some smattering of metal, a little bit of classic punk (“I Wanna Be Sedated”). Since the attack of September 11, it has become customary at ballparks to sing “God Bless America” before “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the 7th-inning stretch. The latter song pleased me more today; the sentimentality seemed more natural. Following “Ballgame” the DJ played the Kingsmen’s “Louie, Louie,” as the house video cameras searched for happening dancers to broadcast on the scoreboard. I marvelled anew at the Kingsmen’s inspired drummer while I danced, hopefully monitoring the scoreboard, but fame eluded me once more.

Earlier the DJ played the Beach Boys’ “Dance Dance Dance” while the grounds crew did a dance step near second base. The crowd loved the graceless dancing -- the dancing workers as stand-ins for our own graceless selves.

I have no predictions as to how much longer ‘60s rock will remain culturally current. I love it, but the time between “Louie, Louie” and today is longer than the time between Louis Armstrong’s recording debut and “Louie, Louie.” And I could be wrong, but I don’t think Dippermouth Blues would have put the baseball fans of 1963 in a partying mood.
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