The other night I was talking to my friend Jaxon on the phone. I never see Jaxon anymore because even though he only lives twenty miles away, he works all the time. He works for one of the world’s most valuable companies, making things right for their customers.
Jaxon is a real gentleman and he’s very funny. He’s a bit of a writer in his own regard and if he had more time, I think he’d be a great blogger. I’d like him to call his blog “Jaxon the Gentleman” and he could provide people with helpful ideas about navigating the post-modern world with style and grace. Wondering how much to tip the car detailer? Ask Jaxon the Gentleman. Wondering if those ratty-BLEEP chinos are the best thing to wear on “casual Fridays” at the office? Ask Jaxon the Gentleman. Wondering where to find the best live music this summer in New England? Repeat after me: ask Jaxon the Gentleman.
Jaxon and I have been to a few concerts in the time we’ve known each other and as we chatted about the list of performances scheduled at The Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom, we gave serious consideration to attending Billy Idol’s concert on June 2, 2013.
“Wouldn’t it be fun to see a concert again, just like the old days?” Jaxon asked.
One summer night in 1999, Jaxon and I went to see Howard Jones at the Now Long Defunct Insert Bank Name Here Pavilion in Boston. Jaxon had a red Mazda Protégé and the peppy car was well-maintained and only a little weary from hauling Jaxon around and around Boston on Route 128. I can still remember him zipping in and out of traffic on Route 93 as we blasted into the city that summer night, with steamy hot air coming into the car in chunks. There were three bands playing at the Pavilion, but I don’t remember who the first two were. We got to the concert and milled around for a few hours and then someone spilled a beer on Jaxon. He’s a gentleman, but the heat and the smelly beer on his neatly pressed pants was the beginning of the end of our good time. Howard Jones came on stage and opened up with “Things Can Only Get Better.” It should have been the turnaround moment for Jaxon but, unfortunately, a very large dancing woman stepped on Jaxon’s toe. In a moment of lost composure, he shoved her. It was tense for a few seconds and then we moved to a different section of the Pavilion. The evening ruined, we left early and headed out across the city into the deep night air.
Last night I walked down to the Casino Ballroom area to inspect the concert venue. I headed out onto Ocean Boulevard into the night air, chunky with fog and humidity just like it had been the night of the Howard Jones concert.
When I got to The Casino Ballroom’s back parking lot, I noticed the addition of a row of garbage cans dividing the area. In spite of this volume of trash receptacles, there was garbage strewn around everywhere. Beer cans, hamburger wrappers, and a lone flip-flop littered the area. I started my stair-climbing routine, but I was slowed down by the sticky steps, coated with beer and cigarette butts. Things had changed since the winter. I don’t know why the Casino Ballroom management hadn’t hosed down the stairs. This isn’t the best place for Jaxon and me; we’d better stick to a different kind of rock show.
When I got home, I texted Jaxon with my research findings. We decided to skip the Billy Idol concert. This summer we’ll walk the off-beat paths along the beach, free from spilled beer and large toe-crunching dancing girls.