As we anxiously await
another episode of Leave It to SCOTUS the results of the US presidential election, whose TV commercial sponsors in the US are traditionally watch manufacturers, it’s a chance to turn back the clock (don’t forget our time difference with the US east coast jumped up from 13 to 14 hours Sunday), and think about history, and history in the making. And pizza (knew that’d getcha).
In the past few months, on trips to Marino pasta and pizza restaurant, I was struck most not by anything on the menu, but by the music they play – 70′s pop of various styles: folk rock, art rock, disco, proto-soft rock, you name it. It’s certainly not a grouping of music I have any special fondness for as such – it’s dated, but not (to me, excluding disco) in a good way. It’s just what was being played on radios back when choices, especially for tweens and teens, were more limited. I even enjoy some eighties music more than this. But it definitely brings back memories.
45s Pushing 45
There are plenty of songs you’ve heard from time to time through the years since the decade of blacklights, bellbottoms and back-to-nature. The difference with many that I hear in Marino’s stream is, I heard them with intense repetition when they were hits, but I haven’t heard them even once in the 35 or 40 succeeding years.
The number of lunch customers at Marino is such that the chatter is a very effective white noise that cuts out much of the music. You’re left with bits and pieces of hooks, riffs, rhythms and melodies you’d otherwise recognize immediately, teasing you from just out of reach. It’s a strange sensation.
One tune I caught the end of coming back from the drink bar last time was “Sweet City Woman,” by a band called The Stampeders. This is actually one of those I’ve occasionally heard or remembered through the years, but it still hit a sweetspot. I don’t know why, but its licks had my ear whenever it came on the AM radio all summer one year four decades ago. Other songs that I knew by heart had totally slipped my mind until almost magically coming back through the diner din. I wonder what the customers must think, if anything. Most weren’t around the first time around, so have no memory to be jogged.
Anyway, for me it’s become a weird timeslip experience and history lesson whenever I go to the restaurant. Not being a fan of the music, I wouldn’t actively seek it out, but since it’s there, I let it tickle my neurons like someone straightening up an old attic. Maybe the reshuffling will enable other brain connections to turn on new light bulbs over my head in unexpected ways. Or maybe I’ll just have that sweet city woman licking my ears and dancing in my head again.
As for the food at Marino, they’ve reworked their weekday pasta and pizza bar lunch special so that you don’t have to get dessert, making it a better value. Most recently I went on a Sunday, when they have pasta and pizza specials that include their veggie-salad-filled antipasto bar. These specials do include the three desserts. Lunch (at least) is always all non-smoking.
Among the few antipasto items I didn’t try was something that looked awfully like a Waldorf salad, at which wrinkle-browed Japanese have always turned their heads askew whenever I’ve described it. I think it had some Italian name. Like the Nixon, Ford and Carter presidencies, and the seventies themselves, it all comes to ¥1980.