Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Today's Hippies

Consider Steve Jobs. You remember him: he of the black turtleneck and zen business style? This was the guy who, along with his bearded buddy Steve "The Other Steve" Wozniak invented personal computers in the family garage. Now that little enterprise is the worldwide leader in stuff that we all need to have in order to be connected to one another at all times. Jobs, the college dropout, became one of the planet's wealthiest humans.
Across a vast body of water, another garage was being used by a group of Irish punks to create what would become the world's greatest rock and roll band named for an American spy plane. That would not be the B-52's. They hail from Georgia. And the B-52 is a bomber, not a spy plane anyway. Bono Vox and his mates worked tirelessly for years to become the sound of a new generation, and eventually the highest paid commercial pitchmen in the known universe. Or thereabouts. Quite a leap from a guy with a world class mullet who once announced that he owned no music recorded before 1977. We were all much younger then. We said a lot of crazy things. You don't expect to be hanging out with B.B. King at that point in your career. You kind of expect to be kicking and fussing until they drag you to the door: Take it outside, long hair.
I can remember my own brush with counterculture back in the 1970's. My father introduced me to this guy who had a plan to sell herbal tea to the masses. His name was Mo Siegel. All that Zinger and Sleepy Time made it possible for him to become a gazillionaire and eventually the commencement speaker at my high school the year after I graduated. Second place would go to the owners of the groovy leather shop "Phantasmagoria," who eventually transformagoriaed themselves into "Lawrence Covell Fashion." They sell designer clothes from the world's top designers to the people who can afford them. Now, just for old time's sake, they will sell you some of those groovy leather goods at a price adjusted for inflation. And the price of nostalgia.
Maybe that's the idea behind Apple paying to put the new U2 album in everyone's inbox. It's just their way of saying, "Thanks, and hey man we're still happenin'." Me? I'm thinking of investing in that guy who makes the string bracelets at the BART station.

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