Monday, October 4, 2010

Suburbs of Our Discontent

The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night
And his affections dark as Erebus:
Let no such man be trusted.

--Lorenzo's passive-aggressive response to Jessica after she complains about the music (The Merchant of Venice, 5.1.91-7)

This weekend I went to see local Boston folk rocker Kevin Connolly do his thing at Club Passim in Cambridge. The evening was a huge success: Kevin was awesome, his cute little son did a great job selling CDs, and Kevin's father recited some pretty good poetry. (Can you say "Cambridge"?)

But seriously, the evening was most successful because it affirmed that I had good music taste in college. As an undergrad I often hung out at The Plough and Stars, mingling with Irish people and, on Saturday nights, listening to Kevin and his band.

The quotation above is from The Merchant of Venice, and I'd like to use it a little out of context. In the play, Lorenzo's being pedantic to his new wife, the Jewess Jessica, who has just expressed a sentiment that evokes her father Shylock's dislike of music. So here, "liking music" is kind of code for "being Christian."

Anyhoo, let's put that awkward stuff aside. As Lorenzo's words suggest, when we love music, we open our hearts to the world around us. We're able to feel sympathy and love for sad people and small furry animals.

When we left Club Passim, I felt moved by the concord of sweet sounds and, in turn, more than happy to pay our babysitter for the evening.

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