Sunday, February 10, 2008
Lost in the Supermarket, Part 2
I had the good fortune growing up to have a mother who was an enthusiastic gourmet cook. Every year, she gives my three siblings (all of whom are excellent cooks) and me (a merely decent one) a subscription to Bon Appétit magazine. I’ve asked her not to renew my subscription (to no avail), because I’m simply too busy to read my issues and not ambitious enough to cook from them, but I found a little time the other day to leaf through the latest while eating my breakfast, and I noticed an apparently regular column called “Playlist,” which suggests songs to put on one’s iPod (I don’t have an iPod, but that’s another story) that are food- and drink-related. This month’s playlist is called “Music to Shop By,” and is recommended for listening to while navigating “the long lines and crowded aisles at the market.” One of the songs is The Clash’s “Lost in the Supermarket,” about which Bon Appétit says:
From their masterwork album London Calling , punk rockers The Clash recount the rigors of childhood and that all-too-familiar lost-in-a-supermarket feeling.
This made me do a double-take. First of all, “that all-too-familiar lost-in-a-supermarket feeling” is not really what the song’s about. And then there is the signally odd feeling of reading about The Clash in a gourmet cooking-and-lifestyle magazine. I remember my shock as a young soprano-slash-office-temp when I realized that the corporate lawyers whose documents I typed by night listened to The Clash. One right-libertarian-leaning lawyer whom I later dated even loved Woody Guthrie. This just didn’t make sense to me: I had a hard time wrapping my mind around the marriage of corporate law and music that can be described to varying degrees as dissident. I later decided that for many of the people I worked for, being a lawyer was a sort of day job like my temping was for me, but on a higher and much more lucrative level. They may have been the capitalist establishment, but they had rock-and-roll hearts. I still can’t get over the incongruity of The Clash and Bon Appétit, though.