Bread and circus

With tonight, my sons have been to the symphony twice in their lives. This year, it was the symphony playing along with a rock band doing David Bowie’s hits. Last year, the same symphony played the soundtracks of Looney Tunes shown on a giant screen above them.

Each time, I could see the thought bubbles over the string section players’ heads: “I went to conservatory for this?” 

Amid the temples, statuary and other high art of imperial Rome, what was it the people compelled the emperors to give them? Ah, yes. Circus Maximus. Wine. The Colosseum. And the people were right. Tonight was fun.


After settling in with a beer and a fire on the patio, I thought I was in for a relaxing evening. I was wrong. The dogs needed food, so I found myself grabbing my keys and walking out into the darkness.

On the way out the door, I opened a little-used cabinet door, behind which I remembered some old CDs. I grabbed the one on top and drove into the light mist of a warm November night listening for the first time in years to the Pet Shop Boys —  loudly, which is the only way to listen to them. I’d entirely forgotten some songs that, when they came on, I recalled every lyric. Among the lost gems were two worth mentioning (though, forgivably, the videos haven’t worn well):

• These delicious lines in “So Hard”: “I’m always hoping you’ll be faithful/But you’re not, I suppose/We’ve both given up smoking ’cause it’s fatal/So whose matches are those?”

• Even better was the deep cynicism of “Rent.”

Who hasn’t felt this way?

Love me some Kim Deal. She filmed this in the parking lot of DLM, the grocery store I ran into for milk for a decade. Oh, and bread. Kick-ass fresh, real bread.