Dance In The Garden In Torn Sheets In The Rain

This morning I was listening to a B52s retrospective show on WMLB over my coffee. It made me think of my years in high school and all the good music I was fortunate enough to hear out of Athens in the 1980s and early 90s. I wore out Cosmic Thing on cassette and I was heavily into R.E.M., but the B52s were my happy music. The music they made created a special impression on me about Athens and how I imagined it to be such a cool and alternative paradise on the other side of state. Even though I grew up in Georgia, Paulding County to be precise, and I have lived most of my adult life in the city of Atlanta it took me until a couple of years ago, 2011, to finally visit Athens. I have been to Athens a few times over the last couple of years and I do love the place.

I was just over there again in April of this year and I grabbed my coffee and stood under the clock at E. Broad Street and College Avenue and soaked in the atmosphere. UGA was in session and I might have been a little out of place amongst all the college kids but I didn't care because it was nice to be in the place where so much great music was made. The rest of my group was off doing other things so I took the time to stroll alone through Downtown. Athens didn't mean anything to them because it was just another town and they weren't connected to the music, though I did try to convert them on the drive over.

Not the original location of the 40 Watt. Photo by me, April 2014.
I stood outside the 40 Watt Club for a few minutes and imagined all the great performances that have gone on inside it. Earlier in the day I had tried to explain the significance of Wuxtry Records to my group as we walked past on East Clayton Street and when they failed to care I decided it was time to separate and explore on my own for a little. They just didn't 'get' Athens.

Photo by me, April 2014.

I stopped by the Georgia Theatre to pay my respects and snap some photos. A college kid stopped on his scooter at the light on the corner caught my eye and he smiled at me. He was probably thinking, look at that middle age man reliving he college memories. Then my cell rang and my friends were bored and hounding me about food.

Photo by me, April 2014.
There's only one place I will typically eat in Athens and that is Weaver D's. I met up with my friends there and of course I had to explain why the walls inside were plastered in R.E.M. posters. Then I tried to explain Automatic For The People and how R.E.M. borrowed that slogan for an album name.They didn't much care but they liked the fried chicken and so did I. I only wish they had brought out my sweet potatoes like they said they would but service isn't something I would rave about here.

Photo by me, April 2014.

After we ate I walked over to the bridge over the Oconee River which sits next door to Weaver D's. My friends didn't join me so I was glad to make them wait a couple extra minutes before we got back in the car and headed down the Atlanta Highway.

I still love Athens and the music that was born there even if my friends don't. So when I heard the Deadbeat Club this morning I was taken back to my youth and driving with the windows down on my Datsun 280ZX and singing my heart out. Sadly, I have yet to find anyone willing to dance in the garden in torn sheets in the rain and I need to work on that.