midtown dickens @ TRKfest 2009

midtown dickens @ TRKfest 2009, originally uploaded by minervacat.

We mention our cherished nightclub, Cat’s Cradle (in Carrboro), and our indie music boom in the 1990s, when bands like Superchunk, Polvo, and the Squirrel Nut Zippers convinced hundreds of young hairy people to load their cars with guitars and amplifiers and drive to our town. Or we quote the late long-reigning right-wing troglodyte Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC), who, when asked his opinion about construction of a new state zoo, said, disdaining our un-Dixielike political tendencies, “Why do we need a zoo when we could just put up a fence around Chapel Hill?” — Wells Tower & Nic Brown, Life on the Hill, for Garden & Gun

Most of the time I’m not a complete Chapel Hill apologist — I hate undergrads in general, Southern frat boys in particular, parking on Franklin Street, bars that charge $20 covers and have $50 tab minimums on championship night, and TJ Yates too much to be that — but this article pretty well covers my feelings when I’m in an outrageously good mood about the CH, which I was yesterday when I read it, right down to the way I’m always wounded when people dismiss all of North Carolina in the broad sweeping brush of “well, it’s The South.”

North Carolina went blue in November last year. So that’s “the South” for you. (If you’re interested in the way Southern politics aren’t necessarily the politics you assume the South has, try Bob Moser’s Blue Dixie. It covers the primary season in the 2008 election as well as the history of Southern voting and campaigning; I read it the week after the election and found it fascinating and a little heartbreaking. It’s a quick, easy read. I could not, on the other hand, get through The Paradox of Tar Heel Politics, though I attempted it valiantly for about six weeks, but maybe you could.)

We tried to go see the young hairy people pictured above play music last night, in fact, but the venue was overcrowded and hot and full of Duke undergrads (and, apparently, Clyde Edgerton), and also we’re old and cranky, so we just came home and I watched CSI reruns, drank beer, and read Christopher Buckley’s memoir about his parents before going to bed at a reasonable hour.

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