The Ghost In Your Mirror in the Bathroom

7 Jun

I recently got back from my 25th class reunion at Harvard. (Yeah, that Harvard.) I had a great time but I have to admit, each time I chatted up one of my accomplished, articulate classmates, three questions flashed brightly in my brain:

  • Am I at all successful at anything important?
  • How close am I to the bar?
  • Does this outfit make me look old?

That’s pretty much what’s on my mind every time I go to a rock concert these days … so it was incredibly appropriate that a centerpiece of our reunion was a double bill of two Eighties favorites: The English Beat and the Psychedelic Furs.

One day I’ll get this t-shirt 

The English Beat is down to one original member: Dave Wakeling, the lead singer and rhythm guitarist. (How can it still be the English Beat if everyone’s gone and the replacement for Ranking Roger looks like he hadn’t even been born when “Save It For Later” came out? That’s a question for the lawyers, I guess.) The Furs have remained more or less intact by the looks of it. Their lead singer Richard Butler looks better now than he did back in the day, kind of like Gary Oldman in thick-lensed hipster glasses, and sang true to form.

These bands were very good choices. Both bands have a strong back catalogue in contrast to a lot of other MTV-era acts that were one-hit wonders and/or more famous for their hair than their musicianship. (I suppose you could dance to Modern English’s “Melt With You” over … and over … and over.)  And clearly, both are completely okay with doing corporate gigs like college reunions which is, in my opinion, the opposite of selling out. It’s selflessly serving their fans by going to where they are and playing nothing but memories.

… and one day I’ll get this album.

Even more than milestone birthdays, college reunions can overwhelm you with self-reflection. You spend gobs of money to revisit your proving grounds and reacquaint yourself with the people who used to know your potential inside and out. Now that your youthful promise has been put to the test, you feel a need to justify your existence.

On the dance floor, though, there was no need. The old hierarchy was long gone. Who danced with whom didn’t matter. Busting your signature dance move—the White Man Overbite, the Kickboxer, the Shuffle and Stare—was perfectly acceptable. None of us were old and all of us belonged. I was even forgiven for having my *&^%^&* purse on my shoulder the entire night. (Let me just say it’s not easy to pogo with a pocketbook.)

After the last song had been sung, we were grateful to see shuttle buses ready to haul our dance-tired selves back across the Charles River. I asked our driver, if money was no object, who he’d want to play at his 25th reunion. “Drake,” he replied definitively. “Maybe Lil’ Wayne.”

I immediately was old again.

See you on the flip side …

P.S. If you can deal with an expletive in a song title, check out The Ivy League Hustle video. It’s hysterical and shows that not much has changed since we went to “a college in Boston” …

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