Get a beer for this one, friends, ’cause it’s got some stories to it. In 2004, I worked for the Missouri PIRGs (a left wing political action group) and that was a hell of a summer in Sahara’s life. I’m glad I had it, but I’m glad I’ll never have to learn those lessons again.
But, when I left, I made a mix CD for myself and some of my friends from some music we had all shared that touched on some of the warmer memories of that year, and even when I listen to it now, I still remember. I wrote about one of these songs a few weeks ago, but I want to tell you about the rest.
Won’t you come see the melodious highlight memory reel??? /insert wavy back in time lines/
- Po’ Lazerous – Oh Brother Where Art Thou?
The first night I worked there was still part of the interview. We were door canvassers, and they wanted to see how we would do at a door. I had to get a con (contribution) by the end of the week or they wouldn’t keep me on.
Every night before we went out, we hung out in the office and practiced what we would say, while music played in the background. This was on my first night, and I remember thinking I wouldn’t mind working for them.
- Tiny Dancer – Elton John
One of the senior most canvassers, Ted, was also a piano player. He was charismatic and sort of handsome. We usually went out drinking after we came back and cashed out for the night, and we often went to where Ted had something lined up. He played this a lot and so we joked about it a lot.
- From Amelie – Comptine d’un autre été
For awhile, we listened to this soundtrack before we went out. Like Po’ Lazerous, I just remember listening to it and loving being at work while we played that.
- When Doves Cry – Prince
- Another from Amelie – J’y Suis Jamais Alle.
- Volunteers of America – Jefferson Airplane. It’s in the post I linked to above.
- California Dreamin’ – Mamas and Papas
This is a bittersweet memory. Andy was another guy I worked with that summer. He was sweet, but a little annoying. He looked like a J. Crew ad, but he also did a lot of drugs and had fried his brain, so he was inappropriate at times. He was tall and gangly and his girlfriend, who we called Ew-ie, hit him, which made all of us uncomfortable.
He liked to sing random songs, and one night as he was passing me walking to the restroom he sang the first line, probably not even realizing it. I picked up the harmony and sang the echo. He giggled at that and sang the third line. I sang the echo again. He was in the bathroom by that point and I thought it was over until I heard him cry, “I went for a walk!” We laughed and laughed about that.
Awhile later, he died. Drug overdose.
- Ring of Fire – Johnny Cash
- Me an Bobby McGee – Janis Joplin
- Summertime Rolls – Jane’s Addiction.
I heard this at my friend Mark’s apartment in the summer of that year, and every time I hear it now, I’m back there. Mark was so cool – funny, really good looking and fun to be around. It was hot out, even at 11:00 pm, I was skinnier than I had ever been (walking five hours a day for six months), and drinking in an apartment above a bar in a cool part of St. Louis. I was livin’ life, man.
Graceland – Paul Simon
I did this at the request of Mark. In a way, I wish I hadn’t. He was the kind of guy who would tell you he was a jerk but never acted like it until you hooked up with him. Then he’d do you dirty and he’d say, “What? I told you I was an asshole.”
I may tell Wee One this story, just for the moral: when a guy tells you he’s a prick, take him at his word.
- Old Friends – Simon and Garfunkel
Because “time it was and what a time it was… It was a time of innocence, a times of confidences. Long ago, it must be, I have a photograph, preserve your memories. They’re all that’s left you.” How can you NOT listen to that song and end up with a lump in your throat?
And what a time it was.
Thank you for coming down musical memory lane with me, and I hope you enjoyed the stories! Do you have anything like this? I would love to hear about it!