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Can You Hear the Tinkling Sounds?

Why was MTV in town December 23 to film our very own Mary Tyler Whores? Who knows, but the footage will be something to catch when it finally runs. The rest of the world (or at least the part that has cable) will get a dose of the spike-haired snot-nosers performing at Tavern 213 along with a fair dose of typical downtown Fort Lauderdale passersby. They'll finally see the hordes of overinflated blonds, bleached Argentineans, and shiny-shirted, muscle-car, biceps-builders who resemble unsuccessful aspirants for Mentos commercials.

Too bad the cameras didn't focus on Broward newcomers the Creepy T's, the outing from former Holy Terrors bassist Willem Trevejo. The Creepy T's amalgam of Sex Pistols/Misfits/Ramones, with a shot of the Jesus and Mary Chain, looks like a contender for Broward Band to Watch in 2002.

Yet instead of partaking in those fabulous festivities, Bandwidth was encountering an unexpected spectacle just south of the Hillsboro Inlet in northeast Pompano Beach. A hideously garish new oceanfront mansion (outfitted with acres of white shag carpeting, no doubt) had its gated driveway decked out with a delivery of real snow, a whole truckload's worth. No doubt the pile of flakes was hauled in so that the spoiled spawn of Mr. and Mrs. Opulent could understand that the true meaning of Christmas is having enough cash to waste on such a frivolity. That's the spirit!

But where do we redeem our contrabassoons for glowsticks? Broward's last on-air bastion of so-called culture coughed its death rattle at high noon on December 31. Those who tuned into FM 93.1 that afternoon are well aware of how WTMI relinquished power, but individuals who missed the area's lone classical station's switch to nonstop trance, breaks, and progressive house are in for a rude awakening. It's a safe bet that a few infrequent listeners are going to seek out 93.1's lackadaisical easy listening only to be viciously assaulted by the new Daft Punk single.

The bippity-bip beats and bleeped-out four-letter-words of the new Party 93.1 are the polar opposite of the positively posh WTMI, which provided a drive-time Quaalude and grand piano ads for those who needed a stress-releasing classical fix. Most discriminating listeners understood that WTMI was far from cutting-edge, but with the recent departure of Florida Philharmonic conductor James Judd casting a pall on the classical music landscape, the station filled a niche for those who feel the Boca Pops just don't cut it.

After a rainy midmorning sendoff of Beethoven's triumphant Ninth Symphony, WTMI took one final gasp with the Seattle Men's Chorus rendition of "You Are the New Day" (like the Bee Gees tackling a Gregorian chant) followed by a drum roll, the National Anthem, and several seconds of silence and crackling static. Then the hype poured down: "A breakthrough in musical freedom... a new dimension... you are now entering party world headquarters..." Fittingly, the new 93.1 spanked its own newborn ass by pumping Adrenaline's "Shut the Fuck Up and Dance," the irony of which was probably lost on the old farts still bemoaning their lost Bach.

Some poor senior citizen in Aventura is experiencing heart palpitations right now after finding 93.1 infested by bpm flurries and profane epithets like "If you haven't danced yet, what the fuck did you come here for?" instead of the expected soothing strings. But it must be pointed out that the station's new format reflects the cultural climate of South Florida far more accurately than did the classical incarnation -- and is undoubtedly a much more attractive vehicle for advertising. And face it, fogies: the notion that the only civilized art on the planet came from white Europeans between the 1400s and 1800s is antiquated to say the least. In the meantime, the over-55 crowd that is raising the stink regarding the removal of the last vestige of highbrow music from the dial has one alternative. It's called a CD player. Stay tuned...

A New Year's wish: Nightclubbing in South Florida is like snowshoeing in Alaska: You're flanked by experts the whole time. So who is Bandwidth to point out a critical design flaw in our network of bars and clubs? A frequent drinker, that's who. And, as such, a frequent urinator. Paying to drink is one thing; it's part of the territory, as are hangovers. But paying to pee is an occupational hazard no one had properly prepared us for. Talk about getting you coming and going.

Polling other frequent-drinker friends reveals the truth: Not one among us has requested service from cologne-dipped, towel-wielding scavengers. Patrons of small rock clubs, as a rule, don't require country-club accouterments to feel at home; if anything, toilet aides detract from a good time. Nobody is clamoring for a nice man standing next to the soap soliciting dollars. In fact, the clamor sounds this-a-way:

Washroom attendants (can't we just call them piss boys or pee-room panhandlers?) are a classist, racist, and elitist anachronism expressly not desired by those who use said washrooms. It's difficult to envision the circumstances that created the need for them in the first place: "I don't mind drying my own hands at home, but when I'm out on the town, I can't be bothered. I should have a boy to assist me!") Let this first column of 2002 sound the clarion call to abandon this practice forever.

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Jeff Stratton
Contact: Jeff Stratton

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