Leapin' Lizards of Lounge - Part One


In my heyday, before decrepit age and senility set in, I used to work three jobs - six hours each - which ran in sequence (my considerate bosses allowed me five minutes to get from one to the next - it was a very small town). Such was the life of a college graduate in liberal arts. One job was as a waiter, the other was as a top-40 DJ. The nobility of the former precludes my discussing the indignities of the latter. The third was as the all-night DJ at the local elevator music station.

beach prints What may seem a hell to most people, was indeed a salvation to this harried young man. Pressing the buttons that controlled the three tape decks that played the tapes supplied from far away by the powers that be, one never knew what new delight would be presented next. Would it be Mantovani? Perhaps the 101 Strings? Percy Faith? Dan Fogelberg or Art Garfunkel even? To an exhausted youth desperately needing sleep it was a dream come true. I learned to catch sleep in three-minute bursts while pleasant melodies trickled over me in golden slumbering showers.

There was no need to actually speak to the world, aside from the news at the top of the hour, and the groupies - consisting mostly of blue-haired somnambulists and the occasional mentally ill, were relatively easy to get rid of. This, perhaps the cushiest job of all time, had only one drawback in that as a hard boiled rocker from way back, I had to endure musical abuse that would have staggered an Ozzy even. But even more strangely, just as the machines once sang to me, over time, I began to hear music in the Muzak.

These truly are the sad confessions of a strange and lonely little man, are they not? Not only do I profess to spinning the vinyl in my solitude, I admit to an even stranger weakness: I like lounge music. God, it feels so good to come out of the closet at last! Now, don't get me wrong - I don't like all of it. I don't even like most of it. But once in a while...

When I was a very young kid - they used to pump "Love is Blue" over and over into the swimming pool area during swim lessons, and it must have stuck, as I can still hear that plucky tune echo off the walls even now. In stealth, I used to haunt grocery stores for hours to catch that delightful Bernstein nugget - "Theme From a Summer Place." I admit that the first song I ever tried to learn on my own was "Tijuana Taxi" by the Tijuana Brass. I suddenly found myself older and remembering these youthful indiscretions, as I scambled to turn up the volume on a particularly intriguing arrangement of a well known pop melody or a stellar Bachrach tune.

Especially now during the summer months, I find I have an urge to light the tiki lights, pour myself a pina colada, and put on some Martin Denny. The monkeys, parrots and other jungle sounds combine with "exotic" percussion and slack key Hawaiian guitars to drift me off to a sleepy island surrounded by peaceful blue water.

Ambient music for Young Republicans you mutter, and I understand the danger inherent in such mental torpidity, but after a long tense day of deadlines, traffic, phones, noise, computers and chattering charlatans - I'm ready for a dip in an aural hot tub of tranquility. In part two I'll discuss some of my favorite lounge lizards. See you later down by the pool.

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