Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Juke Jux


I knew an old Greek San Francisco cab driver from the race track. He was so sure of his ability to pick winners that he actually believed certain horses were "supposed to win." He would approach me from time to time, slowly reach his arm forward and place it around my neck in a fatherly way, and in his wonderful accent say, "Let me tell you shom-ting my friend..."
It's a useful phrase that I save for special occasions. This is one of them. So let me tell you something my friend, In this post convention, pre election phase, when Sarah Palin continues to wow the ignorant, and Obama is slipping faster in the polls faster than a Jamaican sprinter, all is not lost. It's time to play switch the music. This is a little game you can play while driving from here to there in the privacy of your own vehicle. If you take public transit, simply take along any MP3 player, or whatever your earphones happen to be connected to these days. Here's what I do.
First play some music you absolutely adore. You know, the album with the cut on it you could listen to over and over. Or else that new recording you just got, or something you own that you love but just haven't had time to hear it enough. Then as you go about your business, locate either a person or carload of folks whose musical tastes and overall values do not mirror your own. Then crank up the volume and imagine that person, or that carload is groovin' to your sound. The possibilities of juxtaposition are endless. I particularly enjoy having those boom box wagons with the sound systems that shake your fillings loose enjoy a little bluegrass. It's especially nice when all windows are up and all you hear is your soundtrack on their body movement.
I try to switch it up in many different ways. I use blues and jazz, pop music and classical, oldies and very new stuff. For best results, use what you love the most. Lest you think I'm just a control freak, intolerant of other people's taste in music, I would remind you of that famous line attribute to Duke Ellington, or his father, or on occasion somebody else: There are only two kinds of music, good and bad.
Trouble is, there is some seriously bad shit out there. Now and then, when the sound and the movement align just right, when your mood and your weather cooperate, when you forget the old cup just might be half full, this will give you a little taste of paradise. If not, I guarantee a gold medal smile.

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