The confluence of two factors led me to the theme for this week's happy hour message. First, my blogging cohorts, EMM and Dave S, this week paid tribute to the recently departed lead singer for "The Knack," Doug Feiger. Second, recent happy hour regular JDA is one hell of a nice guy, but it pains me to note that he was born in 1986. Therefore, as a public service to JDA and the other young followers of the happy hour, I feel compelled to dredge up what it was like to live through the 1970s.
Stated most simply, the 1970s were like losing control of a car on a patch of ice. I knew that a terrible thing was happening all around me, but I and all others were powerless to do anything about it. I therefore speak in all earnestness when I say that I have repressed most memories of the 1970s. Whenever people mention things like pet rocks, the "In Search Of" television series, or Jimmy Carter, I marvel briefly at the fact that those were real phenomena and then toss the memories back into the deep freeze. Believe me, I'm much happier in my denial.
To my mind, the only worthwhile events to occur in the 1970s were the later lunar landing missions of the Apollo Program, Secretariat being Secretariat, Monte Python's Flying Circus, the band "Joy Division" (later renamed "New Order"), and two movies--"American Graffiti" and "Animal House." Note especially that both movies are depictions of life in 1962.
Out of all the awful things that happened, the 1970s really hit the depths in the musical department. I do not doubt that Dave S recalls The Knack's 1979 hit "My Sharona" fondly, but I think it's a fine song only because of the very homely company that it kept. If you hung around with "The Captain and Tennille," "The Carpenters," and Barry Manilow, you'd crack the Billboard top 100, too. I'd actually classify the song as an updated and now outdated version of The Sweet's "Ballroom Blitz."
But now that I'm too far down memory lane, I regret that I'm recalling the 1970s darkest element, which can be best summed up with the words "Tiger Beat." Sure, Tiger Beat is still around and has added a disturbing online format. In the 1970s, however, Tiger Beat was seemingly more corny and diabolically dreadful, as this nice critique by Princess Sparkle Pony sets forth. Leif Garrett, Shaun Cassidy, Robby Benson--the mind reels and the stomach churns. More recently, of course, Leif Garrett has completed his transformation from hero to heroin. Catch him once with heroin in the LA subway system, shame on him; catch him twice with heroin in the LA subway system, shame on his dealer for being so uncreative. I feel vindicated that the 1970s were truly ugly. We just needed to get well out of the decade to gain perspective.
For happy hour this Friday, February 19, we are reverting to a pre-1970s classic, as you are encouraged to report to The Tune Inn, located at 331 and 1/2 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, between the Capitol South and Eastern Market Metro Stations. The Tune Inn is an old-school dive bar, but don't let that frighten you, because Frommer's now awards it three stars. And to think that I remember when it wasn't an iota over one star! See you there, starting at 6:30.