real special, seeing The Specials

Dearest ______,

Last Friday, we caught The Specials at this year’s Timbre: Rock and Roots Music Festival!

If you don’t listen to; have not heard of the band, I apologize and invite you to freely click on this link to read a very good write- up by one who had actually seen them come out when he was just 12, in England (which is the best age to get into music in general, as I’ve learned that despite one’s musical taste changing over time, one never forgets one’s “first record ever”. Mine was a cassette tape of TLC’s CrazySexyCool and/or Ace of Base’s The Bridge. No Judgment please!).

In a nutshell, The Specials could possibly be one of the greatest Ska- revivalists of all time. They headed that music genre’s Second Wave (a.k.a. Two Tone) in 1979 towards the 80’s. I think their appeal, aside from the obviously great music, was the whole new movement they had brought forth. As Mark Lamarr wrote:

Before the birth of the woeful sports casual, the working class dressed up for the weekend and the easily attainable and striking evocation of mid 60’s Jamaica was too irresistible for those who found punk’s sartorial alienation just that bit too alienating.

Everybody wanted a piece of it- the jumpy, melodic music, the dancing (or moonstomping, I should say), wearing black and white preppy/Mod/plaid get- ups, etc.

I bought boot legs of their records in college- I’m sorry!– I was a poor, but nevertheless, rabid fan back then. I’m not so much the richer now, but I do remain rabid. Never did I think I was ever going to see them playing live. It was so awesome. We danced the whole night away at the Marina Promenade, under the crazy midnight sky. I had sweat running down all over. There were hundreds of sweaty bodies pushing me here and there- a wild sea of black and white, Doc Martens, fedoras, 3- piece suits (in the crazy tropics, man!), Rudies, a lot of old British Rudies,etc!!!

My clothes were all wet and soiled when they ended the set way past 1 AM. At least four of my toenails were throbbing for being stepped on all night. I almost fainted from lack of air, exhaustion, and dehydration. I got a small bloody cut on my lower lip when someone accidentally elbowed me. Jawo and I moonstomped in unison all night, non- stop. Our band plays “Monkey Man” in every single gig! And there we were, listening to the original version, sang by the original band! So surreal.

And just real bloody special!



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