Monday, August 06, 2007
The Largest Honky Tonk In The World
I went to Billy Bob's recently, billed as "the largest honky tonk in the world." I remember it being a huge-ass deal when I was a little girl, and my parents and their friends would get dressed up and go, someone almost always drunk enough by the middle of the night to ride the mechanical bull. I could think of nothing more stupid given up that I had been raised with the tragedy of listening to country music and Buffy Saint Marie. Could hardly stand it when the media took to its urban cowboy phase. And don't even get me started on line dancing to incredibly banal songs like "Achy Breaky Heart." I longed for disco, Tony Manero's Manhattan, to be Marlo Thomas and if that couldn't happen, well, Germaine Greer would work. I could not see the beauty and tragedy of Texas even if I had obtained a lot of its obnoxious attitude, the old Fuck You, I'm From Texas t-shirt attitude, the we were are own country once, that independent spirit that made it possible to go to high school with boys who wore ten-gallon cowboy hats and Wranglers along with boys who wore plaid skirts and safety pins, like something out of a Sex Pistols video. These groups did not mingle, but they did coexist peacefully enough. Texas is a big state, lots of room. That's one thing it has going for it.
It's rare that you love something when you're in it. When I returned to Billy Bob's, it was in the middle of the day, a time when the action is light and there's almost nobody but tourists. You pay a dollar and roam around the big empty space with the great gift shop. There's a ton of posters of people who performed here -- I admit to touching Willie Nelson's picture for good luck. I admitted to myself that I thought it was pretty cool. I could see my parents in their younger incarnations here, dancing and cutting up. Some of the same people still play there until this day. When I stepped out into the bright Texas sun, I smiled. I'm not really that Texan granted. But the sky there looks like nowhere else. It's pretty relentless, the sun is a real pain in the ass. So maybe I'm a little Texan after all.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that he remakes it in his own image. " Joan Didion
Drinking music suggestion: Honky Tonk Girl Loretta Lynn
Benedictions and Maledictions