Thursday, September 19, 2002

Last Week in Nashville.

After photographing about 100 toy trains for sale on e-bay, I took up PA'ing for my father's business again while in town. It's actually somewhat interesting work - he repairs and restores vintage amplifiers and studio equipment here in town. Today we visited the home of a songwriter client who's rather successful, and I got to see one of those cool Blue Dog paintings up close for the first time. My duties as a personal assistant to my father mainly consist of keeping an updated list of clients and jobs handy, answering the phone, lifting heavy equipment, and photographing equipment, and organising my father's extreamly unorganised office. We drive around Nashville visiting studios and go to dad's shop where musicians come to hang out and peek at the flow of equipment leaving town. My father's shop sells pieces of the former Music City to Europe, guitars to collectors who will never play them, and recording equipment once worth tens of thousands of dollars for a tenth of the price for home studios.

Everyone talks about how slow things have been here in Nashville, and Gaylord entertainment is regularly villified by the clients we encounter. There is a general feeling by the men of my father's generation that they were the last guys to make their living in Nashville from the biz - and I think I probably agree with them. This place quit being Music City at least five years ago, and the usual boom and bust of Country Music, so dependably popular every 10 years or so, was marked this cycle by a hit country album that had nothing to do with the city, and wasn't even played on the radio. The Cohen brothers were really on to something with their soundtrack that showed everyone how far Nashville had drifted beyond musical credibility. Like all the old Opryland themepark rides, the music of music city got boxed up and shipped out for good some time ago - it's still around, but it doesn't belong to Nashville anymore.

Things I had forgotten about Nashville came flooding back to me this week - my two years in Boston had robbed me of some things I can't believe I would forget about the city I spent so much time in as a kid.

Things That Are Nashville:

All the shops in the Village close at 5 or 6

The sewers overflow every time it rains (and you can smell them)

If the turn signal's on, it was on when they bought the car

Never give the drummer speed

Don't look older men in the eye, you're a lady

Electrons always want to go to ground - even if they have to go through you

Public nudity is fun

Fat Mo's


People who walk on the road even if there just happens to be a sidewalk

Chess played by bikers on the porch of Bongo Java

Snotty Vandy boys drinking coffee in front of Fido's (snearing about stupidsoutherners)

Veggie Subs from Pizza Perfect

Gross-out "he died for you" tee shirts

Open, fairly public drug use

Hookers being rounded up (again)/famous brothels being cleaned up (again)

The bargain bin where Christian Rock goes to die

Fried Green Tomatoes at The Cooker

"fixin' to"

Fried Chicken and Barbeque Sandwiches sold in gas stations

Muscian's Hours - 11ish to 7ish

Also, President Bush came to Nashville last week, and most of my friends went. I had to work, and was quite bummed about not getting to protest here in the middle of the GOP bible belt. Ah, well, such is life. Dinan, Dinan's mom, Kati, and Callie were there for me. Of course the local news only interviewed one of the 10 Arab-Americans there to protest the whole Israel/Palestine situation, and completely ignored the 200 or so average Tennesseans milling around, angry about our leadership in general. Poo on television news. Well, me protesting in Tennessee would have completely mortified my mother anyway.

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