March 07, 2003

Can You Hear the Seagulls?

I am a student again, and I guess technically, I am on Spring Break. Where do kids from Iowa, say, go on Spring Break? It just occurred to me that not everybody rushes to Myrtle Beach (like folks from around here and from down in NC where we used to live) or to Panama City Beach or Daytona (where my crowd from Birmingham or Auburn would go). What do you do if you have the problem of 'continentality' and are landlocked for a thousand miles? What! No Beach Music in March? It's Spring Break at Virginia Tech, and I'm having urges to hear the surf and some 4-4 shuffling music.

True Beach Music ... the kind you can **SHAG to (provided that unlike me, you can dance) was a Carolina Coast creation back in the mid-40's, so they say. And it's still hot down there. Our little town in western NC had a mid-summer festival, hauled in a hundred tons of beach sand and poured the streets full. There's something in the sand that just makes you want to dance, or pretend to. And it helps to have a warm salty wind, a cool malt beverage and the music of the Tams or the Embers playing loudly in the "pavillion".

Here's one dude that envisions a Beach Music Renaissance. Count me in. Even if I just stand in the sand swaying off-kilter and pretend I'm tall and tan and young and buff. I do, at least, still have my imagination intact. Yes! Wait! I can smell Coppertone! So be young. Be foolish. But be happy...

Schoolkids throughout the Southeast evinced an interest in the music and dance heritage unique to their region. Radio stations responded with Shag and karaoke contests for them, their parents and their grandparents.

People who stood on the sidelines from the 40s--90s, wishing they were dancing, showed new interest in Shag lessons offered by YMCAs and Community Colleges.

Adults in Europe, Australia, the Far East, and South America bought instructional videos to learn more about this dance tantalizingly similar to the jitterbug and bop they grew up on, yet somehow more sensuous, leisurely, and carefree, suiting their desire to dance without overextending muscles away from the gridiron, basketball and volleyball courts for decades.

** The dance term SHAGGING predates Austin Powers by, oh, about 50 years. I suppose there are some southern Baptists who see little difference in the old and the new use of the word, only a matter of angle and with or without music. And sand. Although there may be sand. I think I'll excuse myself now, I've said enuff.

Posted by fred1st at March 7, 2003 05:03 AM | TrackBack

"Music you can SHAG to" ?

Careful now. Since Austin Powers has become a cultural phenomemon, the word "shag" has taken on a decidedly different meaning for a lot of people. :)

Posted by: Cody at March 7, 2003 08:45 AM

Hey, we were shagging before Mike Meyers/Austin Powers even knew how to walk, much less dance. Give us back our nomenclature!

Posted by: ronbailey at March 7, 2003 08:56 AM

Where do the kid from Iowa go? never underestimate a college students willingness to suffer. I matriculated in northern Indiana, yet I managed to get to FL twice in 4 years for Spring Break. 16 hours non-stop with 5 of us in a small car? No problem...

Posted by: Chris at March 7, 2003 09:00 AM

When I saw "SHAG" in block capitals, I thought at first that I must have come to the wrong blog.

It's not a word for polite conversation here in Australia. When I read a bit more, I decided that perhaps its meaning has evolved in the States. Nevertheless, it's a no-no here.

Posted by: Jan at March 7, 2003 03:59 PM

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