Saturday, October 04, 2003

The name of this blog is Talking Heads.

A look at the "Exhibit Guide" for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, available with the purchase of a ticket (AAA and probably AARP discounts available), tells me that the computer consoles on the fourth floor are actually called "Hall of Fame Jukeboxes." Jukebox isn’t a term I would associate with touch-screen consoles, but they do play music on command, so I guess they're cousins of Rockola-style record-flipping boxes. (Which I didn’t see any of in this museum; but there was a great collection of '50s and '60s radios in one display.)

I didn't spend a lot of time at the "jukeboxes," but, as I mentioned yesterday, I played with them enough to evoke some salad days and nights. Frank Zappa was one; another was Talking Heads. That was another band you didn't hear much on the radio in the early '80s, and for non-record-buying tightwads such as me, the only exposure came through knowing an aficionado -- in my case, Bill K. of Philadelphia. By my senior year, I knew Bill well enough to be invited to his "Psycho Killer" party.

That's just what Bill and his roommates called it, named after the Talking Heads song. I wish I could say something dramatic happened at that party, but I don't remember that anything did. It was at another party in another year that a girl I knew dashed across a glasstop table and broke it with her foot, but without hurting herself; and yet another when some fool decided to shoot bottle rockets off my porch at passing cars; and still another when a pack of people (including me) thought it fun to jam into a tiny bathroom, with the ultimate result that the medicine cabinet came loose from the wall, dumping its many contents onto us and the floor.

Still, Bill's party wasn’t sedate. Dancing at that place and time, as I remember vaguely, involved jumping up and down pogo-stick style. Get a few dozen chemically enhanced college students in a dimly lit room all doing that and you've got something worth mentioning 20 years after the fact. Talking Heads supplied some of the music, of course, but what really got the room moving -- absolutely everyone it seemed -- was "Rock the Casbah" by the Clash.


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