Story Value

random musings and episodes from the life of a 40 something comidienne/corporate refugee/mom - since whatever doesn't kill you provides excellent story value.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Perhaps in my younger days

Years ago, Saturday Night Live had a fantastic skit featuring Bill Murray as the middle-aged Hercules. In the skit, King David would be incredibly thrilled to meet his hero and would set up a recreation of the 'Labors of Hercules.' The Colosseum crowd would be jacked beyond belief to watch Hercules dazzle them with his powers, when ol' Herc would say (in his deep booming voice).
"No, I am sorry. I cannot lift a rock that large. Perhaps I could in my younger days." There would be a long disappointed pause until Hercules would offer, "Perhaps I could lift a smaller one," hoisting up a small stone about the size of a paperweight. The crowd would then golf-clap and roll their eyes.

And so it goes. I totally get it. This week, I had a wild and crazy night planned in NYC with my brother-in-law. Along with another friend, we went to go see the 80's techno-synth band Yaz (nee Yazoo). These guys have not toured or released a record in about 23 years and have sunk into almost total obscurity.

All during the day, I was in business meetings feeling somewhat smug that I was going out to a concert that night. I'd find ways to casually drop it into conversation, thinking "I'm not going to some boring wine dinner -- I'm going out to see Yaz .... Boo Yeah, I'm bad!"
The only problem was, no-one knows who Yaz is its incredibly difficult to 'hum a few bars' from a techno-band's few mainstream hits. "Deep deep deep, boop yeooooow, booop, boop boop wow, wonk wa." Pity the fool who picks Yaz on 'Name That Tune'. Its Turtle Wax and Rice-A-Roni time.

That night, we changed into our club clothes. Black remains an evergreen choice for any decade.
As we made our way up the West Side to the new club, "Terminal 5", we realized that there we not going to be any seats at this venue. This was a standing-room-only concert. A collective groan went up in the back of the cab.

I am at the age where seats make all the difference to the evening. We can head out to the coolest, hippest bar in the universe and -- if I'm standing -- its going to be a short night. In this, I am not alone. A group of us will be standing together in a bar, half-listening and looking over one anothers' shoulders to see if we can pounce on empty seats. One-by-one, we're fooled by table sitter's periodic trips to the bathroom until we give up & go somewhere less hip where we can rest our sore hips on plush seating.

At the concert, it seems Yaz was feeling the same way. Vince Clarke must have spent all his energy during his Depeche Mode and Erasure years. He stood almost motionless behind several Laptop computers and pressed keys periodically. We joked that the music had been pre-recorded and he was just checking his email.

Alison Moyet also seemed to be downshifting her energy this decade. She wore a simple black outfit and New Balance sneakers with orthotics. We couldn't technically "see" the orthotics, but she was clearly favoring comfort over style.

In fairness, Alison is not a small girl and she was belting out the tunes and working some of her 80s dance moves. (Note: How I wish there were an 80s dance move exercise class!)

There were fairly long rest breaks throughout their hour-long set and, at one point, Alison returned to the stage with her own Barcalounger as she sang a song about "sitting too low in her chair." Too low my ass. I was jealous, since by this time, my own knees were throbbing in time with my lower back.

I'm not saying we did not have an excellent time, only that a chair would have magnified my enjoyment tenfold!

On the way out of the show, we ran into one of my brother-in-law's friends who was bursting with verve and enthusiasm. "Wasn't that show just amazing?!" He asked. "Oh my god, there's such amazing music here this summer. Just this weekend, there's the Coco-Puffs, The Criminally Insane, Biscuit Cutie, The Nuggetrons, Noodle McBoodle, The Skeevemeisters and Tilly And The Wall."
Only the last name is a real band, memorable to me because they tapdance while singing.

At the end of the enthusiastic concert-listing fire hose blast, Tom and I just looked at each other pie-eyed. We were shocked that neither of us had any idea about any of the bands this guy was raving about. We fondly recalled the time when we would have been utterly plugged in. Tonight, our ankles hurt and we were dying to sit down and have an Italian Ice. Cool has taken on a whole new meaning.
Perhaps in my younger days ...


Blogger Sam said...

I'm feelin' ya, sister. Except that the Nuggetrons are my new favorite--where the hell have YOU been? :) They are the SHIZZLE.

Coupla things: also favor chairs over any other detail at a concert (even the band.) And LOOOOOVE Yaz. Happened to see in the paper they are coming here, and got v. jealous. They do have words! I used to know all of them. Even the obscure ones. ;)

And then when I lived in England during the height of their fame, I thought I was losing my mind that they suddenly had some totally different name. ;)

12:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

he he he... you're old!

3:35 PM  

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