Monday, December 10, 2007

Over the Beer Barrel

When did the accordion make its comeback?

Well, if not a comeback, when did it become acceptable in modern society?

As a (small) child of the 70's, this instrument was the subject of ridicule. Being a sensitive child, I remember distinctly in the 4th grade Karl Howser bringing in his accordion for show and tell. He played his little nine year old heart out and I sat there hands folded in my lap embarrassed for him. Its a feeling I recalled years later watching David Brent in The Office. I hate that feeling!

But I also have a warm spot for the accordion. A nostalgic feeling as I pay homage to my Polish heritage and I conjure up summers sneaking into the tavern. I remember the smell of beer and sweat and cigarette smoke. I see the knees of excited adults polka-ing passed me in a great circle around the room.

My point being-the accordion is an old people instrument

Until now.

Last Christmas my music loving eldest son declared his interest in learning to play the accordion.

"What?" I said. "The accordion?" I then collapsed into a fit of laughter enjoying my son's dry sense of humor.

"Son," I said. "I really would like you to have sex someday and I don't think accordion skills will be a conduit."

"No, really." he said.

"Well!" Big Daddy barked. "I think it's cool!"

So, thanks to BD's open mind and Ebay, Big got an accordion for Christmas last year.

He then proceeded to take it to school and show it off. I started sweating. Images of Karl Howser popped into my brain. Big would be ridiculed, mocked, chastised. He'd get swirlies in the men's room.

However, arriving home that night, he was the bell of the ball. Everyone thought his accordion was the coolest thing ever.


Had the accordion never really left? Had I been blind?

Earlier this year I went to a rock concert. During the acoustic portion of the show, the keyboard player brought out an accordion. I started to giggle. I just knew the comedy portion of the show was coming up.

I was wrong. Instead they played the entire set with the accordion instead of the keys. And get was freakin' fantastic!

Then... I got hooked on Arcade Fire. When would this accordion madness end?

In a fit of apoplexy, I had an epiphany.

I was a snob. An accordion snob.

Why shouldn't I embrace this noble instrument? Why wasn't I?

What's next for my reformation? The melodica? The glockenspiel? The Hurdy-Gurdy?

I had shamed myself.

I immediately begged Big to forgive my bigotry.

This Friday night Big makes his debut.

He'll play accompaniment on the accordion, music he has composed, to a choir piece called Noche' de Lluvia.

It is beautiful.

The only regret I have now is that Flogging Molly has their accordion player back full time.

My hopes for Big are dashed.

Hey! Maybe he can start his own band! He can feature his brother on the Tuba.


I really wanted grand kids.


Primal Sneeze said...

Accordion is great when played by someone like Sharon Shannon. (Which reminds me/you, I never done the list of Irish music I promised. - I will though - give me time - years, probably).

For now, check out The Galway Girl.

Oh, anything bar those bloddy bagpipes!

Sugar Britches said...

I'll check it out today!

I kinda dig the pipes-in small doses.

Montgomery Jack Farnsbooth said...


~dashes back to his blog laughing at how wrong his mother was...

and wondering when she plans on begging...

Sugar Britches said...

Cram it, Monty!

Eolaí gan Fhéile said...

Yep, it was Sharon Shannon who turned me around, if you'll excuse the expression, on the accordion.

And the thing now is that if you persevere with the playing then that sex thing oddly is reversed. Who would have thunk it?

Sugar Britches said...

Eolai I would never have thunk it. The accordian is just too cumbersome and awkward to be sexy. Or at least I thought.

Let's just hope that reversal delays itself for a little while longer. At least in Big's case!