The Music Column

Those Oldies But Goodies

An Italian-American restaurant I count on features sound reasons for my presence there, and that of others.  I like the tone in that environment.  There is an aspect of 1950’s atmosphere—the place is quiet, the lighting subdued, and the manners polite.  The menu is gratifying when the garlic is held in control, and the service is excellent.  Indeed, a certain waitress named Jessica is sparked with such intelligence and graciousness that her presence alone is superior even to the decor, the retro aspect of the place.

I have never sat in the bar of the joint.  I was always in the dining room with a dear friend of 50 years’ standing, and we always had plenty to talk about, and good food to deal with.  A good time was had by all, even after I noticed that there was an incongruous aspect to the music that was piped in.  Though this music was not loud, even so it clashed with the virtues of the place, and that set me to thinking a bit about certain conflicts within the attitude of this civilized refuge.

The qualities of a certain gentility have to do with the style, the quality of the place.  Let us say that it was an adult, middle-class, or bourgeois experience that was achieved, and achieved successfully—until one considered the music that had sneaked invisibly into the scene.  At the bar, there were men who were enjoying what was purveyed, and modestly at...

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