Saturday, 8 September 2012

You're Wondering Now

I was introduced to The Specials by my friend Jungle Jeff (a.k.a. Jeff Green), founding Grundy, skateboard and Ultimate Frisbee ninja, urban guerilla tomato gardener, and all-round good guy, in 1980, on my first night as a dishwasher at the barftastic Steak & Ale on Poplar Avenue in Memphis. He also trained me to run the industrial dishwasher, which knowledge has provided me with a hugely comforting career safety net throughout my life. We spent most of that first night goofing in the kitchen, singing Madness songs and doing ridiculous faux ska moves on the ever-slippery floors. Afterward we sat in his car drinking beer and listening to The Specials' first album, which I had never heard. I had the pleasure of seeing Jeff for the first time in many years, two nights on the trot on my recent trip to Memphis, and though we are the same age, he has not a single grey hair. And he's still crazy funny. Skate safely, my friend!

I found this video the other day, and I think it's remarkable, not just for the song and the performance, but because of the spectacle of all those young kids on stage, dancing in harmony, like their lives depended on it. Most of them are my age or slightly older. What sort of lives did they have after this joyous night, Christmas Eva, 1979? The whole set follows at the end.

Jungle Jeff

The Specials on "Rock Goes to College," Colchester Institute, Christmas Eve, 1979


laura jean said...

Jeff has a great cameo in ANTENNA! It's one of my favorite parts. :)

James Enck said...

Excellent, can't wait to see it!