About a month ago I was thinking about which was better, reggae or ska. But I hadn’t started blogging yet and since I have virtually no friends to speak of I had no one to discuss this with. By and large, I could live without reggae. Sure, there are times when reggae and nothing but reggae will do such as sun tanning or sluffing school but if you had to choose just one for the rest of your life, I think it’s clear that ska is simply cooler, smarter, and better. (I say this with all due respect to the Marleys.)
Now, I’m no ska expert and I could certainly NEVER commit to the lifestyle (the skankin, the scooters, the Quadropheniacs). I just know the basics and my tastes are simple: Bad Manners, Fishbone, a little Madness. What I do know about ska I learned from ska Bob who I briefly dated—he was an expert. As a rule, I never dated boys who were shorter than me but I made and exception for him. He was, after all, ska Bob. ( Later in life I would date a different boy named Bob who had a glass eye and webbed toes. The only music he introduced me to was the Scorpions which, frankly, I could live without. Ironically, I was drawn to this Bob because he played the sax. There’s no sax in the Scorpions! Had I anticipated dating a person with a glass eye and webbed toes perhaps I would have made a rule against it—no exceptions. One wonders. But I digress.)
So maybe you have some really good reasons for liking reggae better. If you do I wouldn’t mind hearing them, but my mind is pretty much made up. (Where were you a month ago?) If you are any kind of decent self-respecting Provo person you HAVE to like ska better because we have a rich heritage of ska here from Swim Herchel Swim (my day) to My Man Friday (Carly’s day) to 2 1/2 White Guys (present day). I saw Fishbone at the Orem Rec Center not too long ago for pete’s sake. (Then they played at the Fairgrounds and progressively moved to less stinky venues. Good for them!)
If that isn’t reason enough let me appeal to the feminist in you: ska had strong female vocalists LONG before the rap divas came along. Where would our dear Gwen Stefani be without the ska mamas who preceded her? (Not married to Gavin Rossdale, I assure you). You have to go to Salt Lake if you want to be involved with something like “Reggae Sunsplash,” which I went to once and had a bad experience. Please don’t ask me about it. But Provo city itself plays host to all manner of delightful skaliday get togethers: Skank Patrick’s Day and Skalloween to be exact. Of course, I’m too old to go to these kinds of things and it would be embarrassing and pathetic if I did. I’m not too old to be in a ska band, however, if I wanted to. Mark Fagg is the drummer for 2 1/2 White guys and I went to school with him. Radical! (That was a pretty un-ska thing to say.)
Now for all the kids out there,
Regarding sluffing: Don’t do it. I know I mentioned it above but, truth be told, I only did it once that I can remember. Here’s what happened. My friend and I (who I had actually loved since 3rd grade but he didn’t like me) hatched a scheme to sluff one day. He picked me up in the morning at the normal time the bus would come. We drove to Salt Lake City (this was a BIG day for us!) and went to, of all things, the Lego display at the Salt Palace. IS THIS NOT THE LAMEST THING TO DO WHILE SLUFFING? I mean, why not just stay in school?
On the way home I scratched my head and felt a tiny bump. I had contracted chicken pox—the awful adolescent strain—as a direct result of sluffing. This illness was full blown by the end of that week and lasted all through Christmas break, landing me well enough to be back in school after New Years but affording me no real days off from school. I still bear the scars of that day. So never sluff.