The Birthday Weekend Top 10
1) SONS OF SAKHNIN UNITED
Final edit focuses on football first; Israeli politics become self-evident as Sakhnin season wears on. Every team should have an Abas Suan.
2) BEAR CAFÉ
Famed Woodstock creek-side restaurant sees my birthday coming: it serves a Gigondas as house wine Friday night.
3) CHARMS AND GREYHOUNDS
Garage rocker headliners and Little Steven protégés The Charms are fronted by a lively cross between Chrissie Hynde, Debbie Harry – and Debi Diamond. Rockabilly revival openers from Poughkeepsie The Greyhounds sing through old-fashioned radio mike in overlong but simplistically entertaining opening set. Archivist DJ Raissa St. Pierre scatters scratched old 7”s around the Lounge for pilfering. Expensive art decorates the walls. Former Agitpop singer John de Vries opens proceedings, though we’re still sipping Gigondas next door. All in a good Friday night at the Bearsville Lounge.
4) THE GIFT
The feeling that the final Jam album must somehow have been a failure for Weller to call it quits is not born out by this particular flashback. Substandard production again rears its ugly head but (unlike Sound Affects) only sporadically, on each vinyl side’s closing track. Otherwise, The Gift sits proudly in the pantheon, evidently ambitious but not over-extended. And with ‘Just Who is The 5 O’Clock Hero?’, ‘Precious,’ ‘Carnation,’ ‘Ghosts’ and ‘Running On The Spot,’ hardly lacking for hits. What could The Jam have achieved had they stayed (happy) together? Particularly given the success of ‘Town Called Malice’ in the States? Sadly, we’ll never know.
5) CHELSEA LOSE TITLE
Second half surprises on Saturday morning Fox Soccer Channel. Chelsea think they’re about to pull level with Man United; 45 minutes later they’re a full five points adrift. Neutrals might want Premiership undecided until the Chelsea-Man U showdown on May 9, but this neutral wants the same result for the simple fact that, individual talents notwithstanding, Chelsea don’t play a Beautiful Game.
6) BIRTHDAY BOOZING
A rare weekend off sports (the leg still not healed from that damn ski fall in February) allows opportunity for long dinners instead. Here’s to the bottle-conditioned Duvel Belgian ale, the 2005 Tablas Creek ‘Cotes de Tablas’ Blanc, the 1999 St. Cosme Gigondas, nicely settled down nicely but probably good for another five years, and the 2004 Dashe Dry Creek Zinfandel. We’ll even forgive the cooked bottle of Cairanne…
7) KINGSTON CLASSIC
…And raise a bottle of post-race water instead to the 500 runners at this year’s Kingston Classic. Especially the two Africans who enter the Dietz Stadium neck and neck on their way to running 6.2 miles in a sub-5 minute pace. Yours truly figures he’s always taking advantage of other peoples’ good will at the races and waves a volunteer’s flag near the finish line instead. Ends up on his feet for four times longer than if he’d run the race!
8) CLYDIE KING
Sunday dinner reveals trivial tidbit: the singer behind Bonnie & The Treasures’ ‘Home of The Brave’ – the only song Apocalypse ever covered – is Clydie King, the same woman who sang with Ray Charles, The Rolling Stones, Humble Pie, Steely Dan and Bob Dylan… and under her own name, sang lead on the northern soul classic, ‘He Always Comes Back To Me.’ Tony never knew to connect the dots. Thanks in a roundabout way to Douglas Wolk for compiling her best work onto a single CD.
9) THE FOUR-DAY WEEK
Do schoolkids ever have a 5-day week? Our Campbell will “graduate” from elementary school somewhere round the Summer Solstice. His school district still finds reason to make Friday a half-day and Monday a non-day. Campbell takes advantage and insists mid-weekend he’s old enough to stay up all night. Dad remembers how he used to beg for the same privilege and decides to let son learn lesson for himself. Experiment comes to early conclusion at 1am when 11-year old is heard in parents’ bedroom trying to liberate the laptop.
10) BARMY TARTAN ARMY FLASHBACK
Fox Soccer Channel ends weekend with one from the archives. England-Scotland Home International. Wet pitch. 99 Scottish fans for every lone English voice at Wembley. Keegan, Dalglish, Souness, Mills, Clemence, Jordan, Watson, and the great Steve Coppell in the line-ups. An early Scottish lead. A fan who makes it through the barricades and leads a belated police posse through a dance of Keystone Cops proportions. Is this the same match that ends with the full-scale pitch invasion and the removal of the Wembley turf? Tony turns light out before truth can be revealed. And if so, what was the year? Answers in the Pub, please.