Tuesday, August 05, 2008


"It's always time to die, but these discs with their timeless spiral hold an instant of eternity."—Julio Cortazar, Diary of Andrés Fava (Archipelago Books, New York, 2005:5).

Julio Cortazar was referencing Laurence Olivier's recording of Henry V when he authored that comment, and yet his equation of a record spinning on a turntable as a "timeless spiral" speaks to all recordings over time, extending—albeit somewhat anachronistically—into our modern digital age where the physical record and turntable (though rendered obsolete) still address the human need to capture time in the essence of music, and the human soul via the image of the ever continuous spiral. Late last night, insomniatic, I soothed myself with nostalgia. In my mid-50s, nostalgia has become the drug that I look to score, as I savor days gone by as readily as a late-night cup of hot tea. Between Bedazzled TV and YouTube, I got high on the garage rock of the '60s and for a few moments in the wee hours of the night felt all of 16 again; "an instant of eternity" indeed.

When I was a teenager, one of my favorite groups influenced by the British Invasion was The Buckinghams, out of Chicago. Their romantic pop pulsed through their lead singer Dennis Tufano, on whom I had a not-so-secret crush. Named after Chicago's infamous Buckingham Fountain, both The Buckinghams and Dennis Tufano are still around; the Buckinghams capitalizing on nostalgia and reaching back to the sound of their greatest hits, and Tufano channeling the lounge splashes of Bobby Darin. To initiate a sidebar here on The Evening Class that I'll call "Timeless Spiral", ladies and gentlemen I offer up: The Buckinghams!

Last.Fm you can listen (for free) to "Susan", "Back In Love Again", "Mercy Mercy Mercy", "Lawdy Miss Clawdy", "I'll Go Crazy", "I Call Your Name", "I've Been Wrong Before", and "Where Did You Come From?"

"The Time Of My Life", "You Make Me Feel So Good", "You Misunderstand Me", and "I Don't Wanna Cry", though YouTube videos, are footage of records spinning, underscoring the essential experience of the timeless spiral, where by listening you'll just have to conjure up your own images, your own memories. Enjoy!


Michael Blanton said...

Thanks for the memories, Maya. :-)
Growing up in Chicago in the 60s I remember being in the back of the family stationwagon heading to the beach at Lake Michigan, my brother & I, 8 & 9, respectively listening and singing to The Buckinghams, Tommy James and The Shondells ("Hanky Panky"), The Broklyn Bridge ("The Worst That Could Happen"), etc.

Maya said...

Thank you for commenting, Michael. And for taking a trip in the wayback machine. Music is the ultimate wayback machine. "The Worst That Can Happen": now there's a song I haven't thought of in a while!