I haven't said much about my brother's wedding. It was beautiful and fun, one of the nicest weddings I've been to (and I've been to quite a few). They had a DJ, a wedding music option I've become increasingly reconciled to over the past few years. When I got married I was determined to have live music, and I put what I thought was a lot of effort into getting it right, because music is important to me. I photocopied lots of songs for the band (some of which they played during the cocktail hour and then ignored for the rest of the evening). I handed back their provided playlist with some songs, that I found thematically inappropriate for wedding play, crossed out ("I Hate Myself For Loving You," "Runaround Sue"). But I just couldn't anticipate all the objectionable things the apparently tasteful band would do, like singing "The bride cuts the cake" to the tune of The Farmer In The Dell, or playing the Flintstones' theme. Why? I still ask myself, why?
Anyway, it was nothing compared to the work W. and J. put in, giving minute-by-minute song instructions to the DJ, burning CDs with the cuts he didn't have, and most amazing, checking in with him frequently during the reception, something I would have been totally unable to do even if it had occurred to me, because I was in a phantasmagoric dreamstate at my wedding reception.
Impressive. And I don't think of W. as such a music-centric guy, because he declined to make music--quit piano, quit musical theater after 8th grade--of his own. Perhaps, I began to think, it's because he doesn't make his own music that he is even more obsessive than I about his recorded music.
Then he and J. came to the beach for a day and we were reminiscing about the wedding. I complimented him on the success of the music, we talked about the first dance choices different people make, and then he told me a story:
He and J. went to another wedding this summer. The wedding couple danced to Dire Straits' "Romeo and Juliet" and then they danced with their parents to...shoot, I can't remember. Not important. Then they gradually got everyone out on the dance floor with something like "We Are Family." People were loving it.
"Now," W. said, "the next song was the crucial moment of the entire night. It had to keep everyone dancing. It had to be something absolutely everyone likes."
"Build Me Up Buttercup," I suggested.
"Exactly." He said. "Or the Jackson Five. Or Sweet Caroline." He had several more suggestions.
"Instead, he played 'Mambo Number Five.'"
Now I recognized the moment he was talking about. And I acknowledge the tragedy that occurred. But I never would have given it as much thought as W. and J. did.
But then I realized what it is. I'm going to call it the Mix Tape mentality just to be luddite about it, but it's really about CD burning. W. and J. are at the forefront of the generation that downloaded illegally and joyfully, had 8 million mp3s on their laptops, and mixed them every which way onto CDs for friends. In my day, making a mix tape was a labor of love, sitting in a cramped position in front of your stereo or boombox, cuing up and pausing, dropping needles--only the truly dedicated did it very often.
But now burning a CD for someone is a matter of a few clicks of the mouse. You can get a lot of practice at it, and put your heart and soul into the song choices and the order.
Don't you think "Build Me Up Buttercup"?