of the rats, zombie teddy bears and the meandering path of life: revenge is sweet but it’s sugar free


Trying to get past the sadness of the last few days, I am listening to music and watching stuff that is entertaining, apart from burying myself in work. No baking.

To celebrate Teddy’s not-exactly-triumphant return to wisdom providing, here is a lovely video of Misery Bear that inspired Teddy to start sharing again:

Meanwhile, musically, I suddenly reverted back to the old days of youth and the Boomtown Rats. Listening to Mondo Bongo, which I recall buying for $1.00 on vinyl in 1988, I think about how things change.

As I was telling some people yesterday, I started listening to the Boomtown Rats for I don’t know what reason when I was in junior high school (perhaps because my best friend and I were completely preoccupied by — dare I say obsessed with — U2 and Ireland, which eventually leads you to learn about all the other bands and music from Ireland). Not that the Rats existed or were popular when I was in junior high. I would have been a toddler/little child during their heyday (if you could even say they ever had a heyday). I believe that I found and read Geldof’s autobiography, which led me to the Boomtown Rats’ music.

How many people do I know to whom I could say “Boomtown Rats” and have it mean anything to them at all? Or Bob Geldof either for that matter? (I found myself surprised by the people who did know and by those who didn’t.)

In general, the nostalgic aspect of listening to this album makes me think about how things have changed since the album played its role in my life. The things I imagined I would do in love, the friends I had at that time… all of that is history. My best friend at the time has fallen off the face of the earth and even in this day and age of being able to keep digital tabs on everyone, I cannot really find her. (I found her family but they never answered letters I sent them.) Clearly she does not want to be found. The future we imagined for ourselves back in the late 80s, listening to this music that was clearly a product of its time, making up a ridiculous dance to the Rats’ “I Don’t Like Mondays”, never came to pass.

Bob Geldof is another case in point — his story makes me think about how easy it is to make one turn in your life and end up on a totally different path (not unlike I did myself). If I recall correctly (it’s been years since I read the autobio), he had moved to Canada at some point and was working as a music journalist when he was quite young. He planned to stay but had to go back to Ireland to get some papers in order to migrate to Canada permanently. While in Ireland some friends asked him to fill in and sing in their band, about which he was not terribly enthusiastic, but he filled the time this way and ended up in the Boomtown Rats and followed that path instead. While the Rats were not the most famous or prolific band of all time, Geldof went on to organize Band Aid and “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” followed by Live Aid. Would these things have happened without him? I don’t really know.

Some of the Rats’ music now sounds better than I remember. Either that or, as I posited yesterday, I am becoming soft and nostalgic in my old age. One song I am particularly enjoying, as the soundtrack of the day, is “Under My Thumb is Under Their Thumb“. “Revenge is sweet but it’s sugar free.”

Leave a Reply