daphne · journal

Widowhood Season 8.7: New Frontier

New Frontier, Donald Fagen, The Nightfly

This was the first song Kevin played for me from this album. He was obsessed with finding the video for it that he’d only seen a couple times. I think it took him until after the turn of the century to find the whole thing. For many years, he had about a 90 second clip he got while wandering torrent offerings. I know he cried the first time we saw the whole video together.

Holding parties in a bomb shelter was such a Boomer thing, and I love how this song captures that unique experience. Technically speaking, Kevin was a Boomer, as he was born in 1962. I think some people would call him “Generation Jones”? Anyway, the sort of Boomer experience this song conveys is more for the older siblings (or half siblings or step siblings) of someone like Kevin. Still, he’d claim Gen X as he was a teen in the 70’s.

This song evokes memories of days that were over a long time ago, which makes me think a lot about how the world is now vs how it was when Kevin left it. Him surviving would also contend on a full recovery and resuming what “normal” was before he got sick. So yep, indulge me in some speculative fiction about my soulmate, willya?

First of all, he completely missed the deaths of many of the people he admired, even though when he died, he already thought that all his heroes were already dead. He’d have lamented the absence of alt.obituaries, back when Usenet was a thing. He was a bit fascinated with death, come to think of it. “Every case of life so far has been proven fatal” is a Kevin-ism I’m known to quote. With each death that’s hit me in the childhood since Kevin died, I can’t help but wonder what his reaction would have been.

Then there’s the whole “oh hey let’s work on getting rid of evil that’s inherent in the system by finally believing people who out important people as scum” undercurrent that’s been prevalent the last couple years. I know he’d have been disappointed in Bill Cosby, as that was comedy we bonded over, both having a few of Cosby’s albums on heavy rotation as part of our childhoods. I think he just missed that one, too. He liked to expose evildoers, so I’m sure he’d had have an interest in any number of the evil acts that have had intense media coverage over the past 9 years.

The latest pandemic probably would have re-enforced his desire to continue being a hermit. (And to insist I do the same, natch.) So would have the election of 2020, come to think of it. He would have dove deep into that whole political era. (He found the 2008 election and the “Tea Party/Birthers” thing quite amusing.)

I don’t think he’d have traded in his computer for a smart phone, though (see above).

So…. apropos of nothing, I stumbled upon an old Midnight Special episode with Bill Cosby hosting. I absolutely love the way Ray is treating Bill. Almost as if he sensed the evil within Bill. (Come to think of it, I wonder if Groucho did too.) I have a strong suspicion that Kevin watched this episode. I know he’d have loved being able to watch the vast amount of late 20th century media that’s now easily accessible. I’m only scrolling through it to get to Steely Dan, of course. Gotta stay on topic sorta. 🙂 Still hard to accept that all of this was a freaking half century ago, as this was Kevin’s childhood. I think in some ways it wasn’t a simpler time but a more simple-minded one. Expanding one’s consciousness was alright during the Summer of Love, but now it’s time to hop on the capitalism bandwagon, baby, and give that type of hedonism a shot.

Yeah, I’m especially rambly. I’m getting over a cold and found out that an extraordinary woman left this earth today. So I’ll move on to the next song…

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