Flashbacks: March 3

By EDITORIAL  |  March 1, 2006

“Seems that ‘Elvis is King’ bit was more heartfelt homage than wise-cracking usurpation. And why not? Costello was as intrigued by the myth and mystery, the adoration and vulgarity, the promises kept and broken, as any other Presley fan. And if Presley represented all that was truth-telling and right about rock and roll, and drew out all that was good and bad about America, then Costello aspired to retrace the King’s footsteps, follow the trail of the music right into the heart of its birthplace, and blaze a path of his own — neatly sidestepping all the pain and pitfalls, mind you. Which makes the ‘Elvis is King’–echoing title of Costello’s new King of America (Columbia) — not to mention the cover photo that shows him staring wearily into the camera from under a tacky Imperial Margarine crown — so, well, pathetic. ‘He thought he was the King of America/But it was just a boulevard of broken dreams/A trick they do with mirrors and with chemicals,’ goes the opener, ‘Brilliant Mistake,’ and it’s a sob from the depths of self-loathing and disillusionment.”

Home front | 25 years ago | March 3, 1981 | Michael Rezendes recalled how Cantabrigians united to reinstate rent control.

“Traditionally, Cambridge has been home for both students and blue-collar families of many nationalities, groups of people largely unaware of each other. Indeed, there are students who’ve lived near Harvard Square for years without knowing about the Portuguese bakeries in East Cambridge. And, similarly, there are working families in Cambridgeport and elderly couples living near Central Square who rarely, if ever, venture out to the bucolic grounds around Fresh Pond, in North Cambridge.

“In 1971, however, tenants of distinctly different backgrounds from all over Cambridge realized they had something in common. The city’s rent-control ordinance was less than a year old, but the city council voted to overturn it, ensuring that the city elections that year would be a referendum on tenants’ rights. The politically combative students and young people in Cambridge, already galvanized by their opposition to the war in Vietnam, found allies among the city’s older residents and among low- and moderate-income families, all of whom were finding it increasingly difficult to find affordable housing in the city. After the votes were tallied — an arduous task, because of Cambridge’s at-large, proportional system of electing city councilors — tenants found themselves on top with a five-to-four council majority. This new majority voted rent control back in, and renters have fought to maintain this balance of power for almost 10 years.”

Lucky strike | 30 years ago | March 2, 1976 | Jack Cole reflected on President Ford’s success in New Hampshire’s Republican primary.

“Gerald R. Ford is alive and well and living in Washington.

“He came out of New Hampshire with a win. Not so deep as a well nor as wide as a church door, but a win, by God, for all that. The questions now are why, and what next?

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