catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 6, Num 14 :: 2007.07.13 — 2007.07.27


The Lovin’ Spoonful

I Feel Good

Perhaps James Brown said it best; summer makes you “feel good”. From the humid must of the summer sweat beading from our brows, a “good” feeling emerges, a feeling of exploration and invigoration. There’s something about the voices from our past that beckon us to remember days gone and yet days to come. Summer! That special time of year when, as Alice Cooper noted, “School’s Out” and the sun is shining, life is sweet. Some of us head down to the local watering hole for a cool dip or tire swing. Others pack up the wagon and head to the beach at an ocean, a river, or a lake. Whatever one’s traditions might be, inevitably we all employ our sunglasses, sandals, shorts, etc. from Memorial Day to Independence Day on through to Labor Day, we lose ourselves in the baste of summer, fighting off the inevitable end to our blistering days of bliss.

There are other matters of summer that emerge as well. Many of us stand in blockbuster summer movie lines to catch that latest studio giant. This summer will feature such flicks as The Bourne Ultimatum, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,  and Transformers, among others. If not in line at the local overpriced theatre-mall, then we’re filling our internet queus with nostalgic summer movie moments like Meatballs, Dazed and Confused, or Friday the 13th. If not watching the celluloid, we’re hitting the radio dial or digital libraries which are beat-bopping our favorite musical morsels. From Alice Cooper’s top-of-the-chart 1972 gem “School’s Out”—“No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers’ dirty looks”—to the individually customized tunes that voice our own emotional experience of summer, we long for a long summer.

Couple both of these factors together and we find the great orators of our milieu interlocked with the visual stories of our adolescence, whether American Graffiti or Fast Times at Ridgemont High. These tunes and flicks are larger than life and their intermingling with one another makes for a strong influence. Movies and soundtracks from films like Dazed and Confused and Rock ‘N’ Roll High School only intensify the summer aura and ambiance, like the 1966 hit by The Lovin’ Spoonful entitled “Summer in the City” off their Hums of the Lovin’ Spoonful album. With our necks “dirty and gritty…walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head”…these are just a few of the distilled moments of our summers.


Aura & Ambiance

One only has to hear Seals & Crofts’ mellow musical morsel “Summer Breeze” off their 1972 album of same name to capture the ambiance of summer. It can often be captured visually aside from the pure visceral personal experience. One such moment for me happened in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused. At the end of long night, the camera closes in on Mitch and his female counterpart lying on a blanket outstretched and overlooking a good-morning Texas sight, while “Summer Breeze” buzzes on the radio. The film captures summer in this moment. Simple but true: “Sweet days of summer, the jasmine’s in bloom. July is dressed up and playing her tune. Summer breeze makes me feel fine. Blowing through the jasmine in my mind.” A long night with friends, and some not, talking about days gone and days to come, burning the candle at both ends and living every moment to its fullest, like scraping every last bit from the bowl so no tinge of flavor is lost.


Kicks & Giggles

Summer brings about those internal urgings, the willingness to do what one normally is hesitant to do.  Adventurousness emerges. It runs through the woods blindfolded and off a cliff into a reservoir just so we can have a few kicks and giggles. These moments are sort of immortal. They live on and on. They resonate in the banter of friends around our meals and barley feasts. One thing’s for sure: summer evokes a ‘chill’ not of the temperature persuasion. You should roll down your car window (no matter how hot it is), turn up the radio, and reflect. The essence of our summer lies in our inclination for romantic rendezvous, for cruising, for cookouts, and everything in between. You can’t help but pull up the dog-eared moments of your own giggled kicks. 


Until We Meet Again

Sly and the Family Stone said it this way in their tune “Hot Fun in the Summertime” “that’s when I had most of my fun, them summer days, those summer days.” Whatever the generation might be—whether one nestles up after a long summer day with friends to watch Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello in some sort of beach blanket be-bop party flick or simply for a sit-n-sip over memories or a local car-cruise—summer provides the essential fertile ground for harvesting authentic moments. The music, the stories—they remind me and get me in the groove. Anything Dick Dale or Beach Boys could work. The movies spark the memories as well, like an open field around dusk lit up by hundreds of fireflies; from Wet Hot American Summer and beyond, summer camp movies abound. Growing up it was also those Texas sunsets that moved me. It was Joni Mitchell’s “Daisy Summer Piper” that painted it this way, “Daisy summer pipers come to town…to see the magic all around…The skies become kaleidoscopes with no two turns the same.”

As surely as summer comes, it ends and another school year begins, perhaps another countdown to the moments we so cherish. In the moments that delay us from these days, we can only utter, “Until we meet again…”

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