Sunday, April 29, 2012
The Summer of Love Meets Platform Shoes
Two things I immediately recollect about the 1960s and 1970s.
Yes, I (in one of my previous nine lives) was visiting San Francisco in June 1967 (having just been driven up from Los Angeles by a performing rock band) to catch the hippie scene in the Haight-Ashbury district. Hippies were all about love, which meant that you could get as many meals as a feline could scrounge just for a few headbutts, purrs, and eye squints. It wasn't necessarily posh food--I remember being given Ramen instant noodles--but it was filling, and it was given with love and kindness. The nicest hippies would take you in for the night (or a week or a month), give you a warm place to snooze, and make sure you were safe and comfortable. It was a fun time for us feral kitties.
There was that drug thing, too, for those unfortunates who took that path, and they paid dearly with much misery. For moi, my bag was the music. I loved the open-air concerts, from California to Connecticut.
There were protests, too--civil rights and peace marches--and I saw my share of trouble when free speech and right to peaceably assemble knocked heads with The Man (or his billy clubs and tear gas). I kept a low feline profile, for sure, during those rough days and nights. But times were a'changin', and it was quite amazing to be an eyewitness to such a dynamic period of history.
The 1970s were something of a let-down following the upheavals of the previous decade. But I enjoyed the relative quiet of the times and took advantage of the improved feline dumpster-diving opportunities ushered in by the fast-food lifestyle. A half-full box of KFC was quite the treat, let moi assure you--and all mine. It just took a little pushing and scratching through some inedible trash.
Platform shoes were hysterical. Humans through the mid-1970s were clomping around in these elevator footware, as if the oxygen were better a few inches higher. We cats had to be cautious that we didn't get stepped upon, though. People stumbled more than walked around in these things.
I could talk about polyester pants, leisure suits, cheesy necklaces, and other items from Scowl-Face's wardrobe, but I think most of my readers have seen the movie Saturday Night Fever (1977) or watched the television series That '70s Show. These may not be 100 percent historically accurate, but it's close enough to make your head throb.
Why all this nostalgia about the '60s and '70s? My Library is now exhibiting another of its Through the Decades displays as part of our 100th anniversary bigbash. Those decades are up-to-the-plate, to use a baseball analogy. Drop by the Library to see some lively examples of ladies' clothing from the past century. What were they thinking? But it was stylish back then, whatever it was.
Trust moi: If your parents, or grandparents, or great-grandparents, or [etc.] had known then how dorky they looked, they would probably have dressed differently. Just think how your (great)(grand)children will howl with derisive laughter at photos of the clothing you're wearing now. So be nice to your elders. Boomerangs return faster than you might expect.
I could just hyperlink to Scowl-Face's blog posting, but why not just upload the pictures here from there? Saves clicking the link and reading Scowlly's hi-snore-ical commentary.
Everything looks much better if you come to the Library to see it for yourself. Photos simply don't do justice, especially when Scowl-Face is the digital photographer.
Look Out For the 1980s & 1990s,
Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Library History News Beat
P.S. Most of my musical closers are songs from the 1960s. So let's be radical and choose something from the 1930s and 1940s. If it sounds good, it is good. Duke Ellington knew what he was talking about.
Let's start this groove with "Mood Indigo," by Duke Ellington and his Cotton Club Orchestra, recorded on December 10, 1930 and released on a 78 r.p.m. record (to which you're now listening).
P.P.S. "'Round Midnight" (1947 recording here), by Thelonious Monk, became a 1944 jazz standard but was probably written as early as 1940 or 1941.
P.P.P.S. Returning to the 1970s, here's "Midnight Cruiser," Steely Dan's tribute to Thelonious Monk (and the great jazz age of the 1920s-1930s-1940s that fueled Donald Fagen and Walter Becker's musical nostalgia). The song appeared on the group's debut album, Can't Buy a Thrill (1972).