Song Of The Day 6/27/2015: Sugar – “Your Favorite Thing”

Pride Week: All week I was working on this piece for the final day of Pride Week. I was going a more meditative direction, more optimistically bittersweet. That dichotomous introspection stuff I do. The SOTD was going to be Sugar’s “The Slim,” an aching rock track about the relationship between the narrator and his recently deceased partner. Here’s some actual text I was gonna use:
“I used to live on Castro Street in San Francisco, just a block or two south of what a map tells me is the boundary of the Castro District, the gay capital of the United States, if not the world… This was in the late ’80s. AIDS was still very much at the top of the list of global terrible things at the time… It’s hard to overstate how preponderant the feeling of loss, recent or impending, hung over (a certain drinking establishment on Castro) – all of San Francisco – every morning.”
I mean, c’mon – what could possibly happen on Friday that would force a change in my big gay narrative?

Well, here’s a capsule summary of what this piece was going to cover. The anecdote was going to be about how I walked up Castro every weekday morning to catch MUNI on Market Street to go to work. Every morning there was this bar that was completely open to view; they’d just roll up this garage-door type apparatus and the entire bar would be exposed to the street. I don’t remember the name of the bar and I couldn’t find it through research.

I’d walk past this place about 8:30am every day. There were always patrons there, but usually no more than ten. Dance music would be playing. And almost to a man, none of the patrons looked very happy. Now, I tend towards the overgeneralization that anybody who’s drinking at 8:30 in the morning that didn’t just get off the graveyard shift probably has happiness issues. But this was during the peak of the AIDS crisis, and the perceived unhappiness I saw coming from that bar was underscored by that disease, the looming or finished departures of entire human figures and souls. I never forgot those mornings or those views.

(Here’s another excerpt I was going to use: “The rest of the city was waking up and going to a functional activity we took part in to secure our present, and our future if we were really on the ball. Those guys were always faced with the past, the parts of it that weren’t there anymore, that wouldn’t be going to the future. Loved ones. Themselves.”)

(Another excerpt I hadn’t written out yet explained how my best friend during my time in San Francisco and his partner became two of those victims in 1993.)

Then, in view that I was concluding the whole shebang of Pride Week with a downer, I tried to wrap it up by saying things look pretty good right now. My ending was kind of forced, actually. So, yeah, originally today’s post was going to have a considerable bum-out quotient.

But then… well, I really need to start being more aware of the Supreme Court’s release schedule when I’m planning these things.

Time is really short. Or, rather: History is short, but the future’s always too long.

It doesn’t feel that long ago when I was watching my friends and neighbors trying, after already being shipped to the margins, to overcome the ravages of a disease it was still okay to stigmatize in large segments of the country. People I knew, stationed at the front, could never see a point where their existence and rights would be written into institution.

And then, Friday, June 26, we learned a few things.

(1) Marriage equality became the law of the land.

(2) Absolutely everybody I know was in a really good mood on Friday.

(3) A huge battle was won, which should not be equated with winning the war, but it sure feels like it right now.

(4) It’s funny how the most rabid talking heads opposing marriage equality became irregular, slapstick philosophers because of their increasingly impotent back-in-my-day-ism, which leads me to:

(5) Whoever’s serving as Antonin Scalia’s life coach probably needs to be graded on a curve. Hopefully he’s got another client who recently rescued a kitten from a well, or something.

So as strongly as I feel about Bob Mould and all his projects from Hüsker Dü to Sugar – especially “The Slim” – and as much as those morning walks on Castro are part of the folk tales I’ll always tell, I can’t get in the way of the celebrations going on last night and tonight. Well, let’s be real, they probably haven’t stopped since about noon yesterday. Anyway, let’s replace “The Slim” with another, more celebratory Bob Mould/Sugar song, “Your Favorite Thing,” so he’ll still get those sweet Spotify royalties.

And to those who fought a long time ago and aren’t with us anymore – man, oh man, Mykel and Jim, I wish you could see this. Wait – what am I saying? You very well may be watching it right now.

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