As maybe three people in this world know, I’m working on a screenplay. Ryan Bailey is encouraging me to write it as a novel first, but as I’m a man of few words, that’s proving to be a task. This is beside the point. I’m writing a story set in 1988. And as I’ve been a mixer of mixtapes since the post-tape days of ripping and burning CDs, the film’s soundtrack was finished a long time ago.

One of the first tracks is Belinda Carlise’s “Heaven is a Place on Earth”, a fond memory from the radio when I was five. One of the final tracks to be added was Jane Wiedlin’s “Rush Hour”, a recent discovery I wrote about in my previous post. Five seconds on Wikipedia revealed that these ladies are two founding members of The Go-Go’s. Having grown up post-New Wave, I was ignorant of this.

I recently caught on TV Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, which features Jane Wiedlin as Joan of Arc. That sent me to her blog, which announced The Go-Go’s would soon be embarking on their farewell tour. Knowing this might be my only chance to see two of my soundtrack contributors on one stage, I bought two tickets.

So Maggie and I went to Dayton to see The Go-Go’s.

“You two look too young to be here!” said the sweet lady who helped us take a picture. Indeed we were. But how could I explain my compulsion to share the same space as rock legends who appear on the soundtrack to a movie that’s still being written and may never see a green light?

We sat through an enjoyable opener Kaya Stewart and then Best Coast, who were not the best. Kaya’s band (fluent in the nuances of good old rock ‘n’ roll) seemed to be having a blast up there. Best Coast seemed to be having a beer after this. It was a good opportunity to visit the men’s room before the ladies took the stage.

Gina Schock, Charlotte Caffey, Belinda, Jane and tour bassist Abby Travis took the stage and blew us away for 90 minutes. And it was Belinda’s birthday, so there was cake, and they played “Mad About You”.

It’s always good and important to go see legends while you can. We’re running out of legends. My generation cannot produce them. I can’t imagine what my kids will be listening to, but it won’t be what other kids are listening to, and still those kids aren’t listening to what the next kids are going to be listening to. Interests are specialized, information filtered, content tailored. Maybe Taylor Swift. I don’t know. But I do know my generation and the next generation will never all gather ’round the television at once to see The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show.

That’s why my screenplay is set in 1988. We still shared music back then. There were big hits that everyone knew by heart. We sang along with Belinda and Jane and The Beach Boys and George Michael and INXS and Huey Lewis & the News and yes I see the contradiction in talking woefully about the next generation and wistfully about music from before my time.

Nevermind. (Nirvana, 1991)

Yesterday at Kroger, a song on the radio brought me to a halt. I stood by the ice cream frozen, thinking, waiting, straining to confirm the recollection. I knew I was finally on the verge of solving a 28-year-old mystery: the artist and title of a song I used to hear on the radio in our Chevrolet Astro Van as a five-year-old kid in 1988.

I noted the lyrics, did a search, and found it…

My hat’s off to Jane for making a melody that stuck with me nearly three decades, just long enough to grow up and find it again. A lovely reunion of words and music.

Mystery solved.

“And they’ll watch the game and it’ll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they’ll have to brush them away from their faces.”

Terence Mann, Field of Dreams

When I was in high school, football games were never about football. Freshman through Junior years, I played alto saxophone in the Daviess County High School Band of Pride, and Friday night home games meant marching at halftime, playing in a raucous pep band, and, when it was all over, loading everything into the massive red and white trailer for the next day’s competition in Hopkinsville or Murray or Lexington. Those were good days.

A few weeks ago, I brought my wife, my Mom, my Canon 5D Mark III and Zeiss 50mm to the Daviess County vs. Apollo game. My wife’s from the other side of the world so I wanted to show her my old stomping grounds and a bit of American football, but my motivations were primarily nostaligia. I wanted to reminisce.

We sat near the pep band, but I didn’t sit there for long. I had to stop by the grassy slope where we used to hang out and not watch the game. I had to hit up the concession stand for the ubiquitous hot chocolate and those round nachos that are so wide they chap the corners of your mouth.

I had to visit the press box where a few years after college I ran camera for Time Warner Cable Channel 8. I had to smell the grill smoke, see the parents with consumer camcorders, and hear those obnoxious but well-meaning plastic clapper things.

Those good old days are getting a older every day. I lived them here and lived them as well as I could. Before the missteps of my twenties, I marched on this field and I loved all of it.

Speaking of which, the marching band wasn’t there that night, so we left at halftime. This was never about football.