You know that old saying "they don't make 'em like they used to"? It's often invoked by gray-haired been-there-done-thats while driving in a rented Dodge Nitro or when one of those Ikea shelving units sways precariously after a strong wind. The tacit implication is that all this new-fangled who-ha is pure crap, inferior to the sturdy brilliance of an old Camero or an antique bookcase. Everything new is just a construction made of plastic and particle board, we're led to believe, while everything that preceded it was made of oak, diamonds, and ground up unicorn bones.
Of course, that's just silly. What's misremembered are the Deloreans, the Hop 'N' Gators, and Zapmails of history. I'm not suggesting that the past was just a collection of clunky muscle cars, inharmonious Gatorade and beer marriages, and FedEx blunders; I'm simply noting that that phrase just isn't fair. In other words, what's still around seems sturdy because, well, it's still here. Plenty of old ideas and old products have died ignominious deaths but since they've long retreated into the attic-like brains of historians and trivia-buffs, they're more or less forgotten.
Take, for instance, my mandolin. Or my mandolins. In less than a year of playing that most manly of instruments (move over picolo; step aside pan flute), I've broken two. Both were circa early 1900s sorts, you know, the ones with the bowled backs. They're sometimes called "potato bug" mandolins, which amuses me to no end. But one ended up murdered in the back of our van (culprit unknown but expected to be a drunken footfall) and the other, to quote Cutting Crew, "just died in my arms tonight," while I was adjusting the bridge. They were delicate, faberge-egg like things that needed to be treated with diva-like tact and care. I, on the other hand, am more of an inebriated spousal abuser when it comes to instrument care.
In other words, I'm on my third mandolin. And my third melodica. Meanwhile, a $190 dollar Washburn bass I once slammed tamborines into nightly and threw on ground at the slightest provocation is still going strong. Modern construction: not always a bad thing.
I mention this because yesterday, in anticipation of tonight, I bought a brand spanking new mandolin with what was supposed to be next month's rent. On the one hand, I can strum out soprano chords to my heart's content, on the other hand, can I sleep on your couch?
Which is my (extremely digressive) way of saying "Come enjoy my new purchase with us tonight." To wit:
In our neverending quest to provide both free music and free wine, Birdmonster has jumped at the opportunity to play an event next Tuesday night at the Gray Area Gallery on Folsom Street. It's a three hour shindig with a DJ (DJ Excitable Rooster, a name which, in and of itself, suggests supreme awesomeness), complimentary (read free, free, free) wine, a raffle, some art on display and for sale (with proceeds going to Rock the Vote but not Vote or Die, sorry Puffy), and us doing an acoustic set.
In other words, an RSVP is good for a free night of music, art, booze, and general merry-making. It's like my version of heaven, except without Kurt Russell following me around, threatening to beat up interlopers.
You can RSVP here. It starts at seven and it ends at ten. Hope to see your shining faces. I'll be the one with his housing payment on his lap, sadly plucking through his last month of shelter. You can be the one with a job and a mug of free Shiraz.