Flashbacks, April 14, 2006

The Boston Phoenix has been covering the trends and events that shape our times since 1966.
By EDITROIAL  |  April 12, 2006

The right profile | 5 years ago | April 13, 2001 | Dan Tobin headed out for a night on the town.

“One Friday night, I decided to brave the hip downtown club scene at Avalon. People like me don’t belong at hip downtown clubs on Friday night, and by ‘people like me’ I mean moderately attractive people with slacker wardrobes and dancing abilities on a par with Steve Martin’s in The Jerk. But I was writing a magazine column about my shortcomings in the nightlife world and figured that this club was a prime venue for flaunting my inadequacies.

“I shaved, showered, got dolled up, got liquored up, and hopped on the bus. I was totally cool. Thanks to lots of practice, my cool-guy stare and strut made me the master of deadpan suavity, and I was brimming with self-confidence as I got off the bus and strutted toward the promised land.

“All around, hipsters streamed into the club, flashing a grin and a wink. I was cool, I was on the list, I was all set. But then I encountered a trim black man in a velour suit, dark-framed glasses, and a cocked-just-so hat, who was standing on the correct side of the velvet rope, alternating disapproving glares between me and the blank space that would have been my name on his list. I was stripped of my cool, and a hipster doorman was to blame.”

Growth spurt | 10 years ago | April 12, 1996 | Charles Taylor reviewed Sleater-Kinney’s new album,Call the Doctor.

“In sound and sensibility, Call the Doctor is leaps beyond the homonymous mini-CD the band released last fall. [Corin] Tucker’s anger is still palpable.... What she sees as the way society segregates and limits women, and defines their worth, remains her favorite theme. ‘Not for sale/Not your girl/Not your thing’ is the refrain of ‘Take Me Home,’ her rejection of the life she imagines being offered her by the guy who comes into her place of work every day to check her out. Call the Doctor is in no way a mellowed piece of work. What makes it the fullest, most mature album any riot grrrl performer has produced isn’t Tucker abandoning her anger ... but rather Tucker starting (reluctantly) to register the contingencies and compromises that her ideologically based rage is inadequate to confront.

“She puts doubt right alongside the anger in her voice. The result is the sound of someone fighting to stay on two feet, not suppressing any emotion and not being felled by any either. When she sings, ‘I’m no monster I’m just like you,’ the inseparable pain and beauty of that outcry, the ache to be accepted but on her terms, makes her sound as if she could be the older sister to Carson McCullers’s Frankie in Member of the Wedding. There are echoes of other forebears, some of which Tucker may not have heard: the petulant yearning of Claudine Clark’s ‘Party Lights’; the proto-feminism of Lesley Gore’s ‘You Don’t Own Me’ with its simultaneous desire for identity and pleasure; and the heartstopping longing of the Chantels’ ‘Maybe,’ on which the world doesn’t sound big enough to contain 15-year-old Arlene Smith’s voice.”

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