Monday, September 15, 2008

Of Real Estate Developers and Popular Music

By: Sherry Rashad

I recently acquired a property in lieu of someone owing me money and all he can afford to pay me was his not-so-often-used house. It was located in a gated community fancifully named “Musicians Village” in some out-of-the-way suburb north of where I live - i.e. Tayod, Consolacion. The streets are named after musicians, mostly from the rock end of the spectrum. The howls of protests will probably bellow once this heavily gentrified gated community gain further press exposure. Its quite refreshing that the property I acquired is located on a street named after Mia Zapata. After all, it is only respectful to name a street after the brutally slain extremely talented musician lead vocalist of The Gits, who is for all intents and purposes an integral part of the Seattle Grunge Scene before she met her brutal end back in 1993.

Ironically, the famed street intersected on a one named after Avril Lavigne. Avril Lavigne!? My surprise did brought back memories of me protesting against the Smashing Pumpkins’ inclusion into Guitar Player magazine’s “30 Tones That Changed the World…and how to get them!” cover story back in 1997. I really am quite liberal, reminiscent of the Crown Prince of Brunei’s forays into the world of Western pop culture. But after several unavoidably “repeat auditions” of Avril Lavigne’s “I’m With You” over the airwaves, I’m since convinced that she is inciting / advocating teen-age girls to be consenting – or is that willing - participants in underage teen sex with “on line predators”. I’m still surprised though that Dateline NBC ‘s To Catch A Predator hosted by Chris Hansen hasn’t used Avril’s “I’m With You” as their opening theme. Sadly, the street named after her is the hottest section of this “gated community”. Twelve year-old girls that lived on this street had since lived their lives like their “Masters of the Universe”.

One of the streets that I really admire is the one named after Jennifer Batten. Sadly, only a handful will probably know this extremely talented guitarist and her extensive body of work as a session musician and as a solo artist. She probably single-handedly made Michael Jackson matter to those regular subscribers of guitar magazines like Guitar World and Guitar Player, back in the 1980’s.

The most ironically named street of all is the one named after Joni Mitchell. She’s the one who originally performed the pro-environment anti-gentrification protest song titled “Big Yellow Taxi” before most of us heard – or had grown weary – on the overplayed FM radio versions sung by Amy Grant and later by The Counting Crows. I think the real estate developer(s) who approved the nomenclature of this gated community’s streets are probably really clueless when it comes to American pop culture. To the real estate committee’s credit, this property is the hottest piece of real estate that I had the good fortune to acquire.