Thursday, March 18, 2010

I Guess I'm Ahead of My Time

Sometimes it drives me a little crazy that the stuff that I enjoy doesn't become popular until decades later. Two examples came to mind recently.

The first was when I was driving around, listening to the radio, and they played Ronnie James Dio's "Holy Diver." The song was originally released on the album of the same name in 1983. It was probably around 1986 or so when I discovered it. Yet, at the time, it was utterly and completely unheard-of for it to be played on any Syracuse radio stations. None of my favorite bands of the late 1980s - Metallica, Iron Maiden, Queensryche, Dio, Dokken, Ozzy Osbourne, Great White and a chorus of others - were ever heard on local radio. I got by just fine with a bazillion cassette tapes, but it wasn't the same. I remember my 1987 trip to Los Angeles. I had met some buddies playing a very early multi-player online game and they'd invited me to come out and see the coast. While driving around LA in January, in short-sleeves, with the windows rolled down, I remember I had a moment of pure ecstasy. We were listening to the the radio and suddenly I was hearing Iron Maiden's Aces High. It was practically a religious experience for me to actually hear MY music, which Central New York had taught me wasn't popular enough to be played on the radio, really blasting out of the car radio. It took many years for Syracuse stations to catch up. Now, when that music is more a part of my past than my present, when I rarely listen to the radio, finally it's cool. Finally, you hear "mandatory Metallica" on at least one (possibly two) Syracuse radio stations every night. At last, Ronnie James Dio (who, incidentally, was raised just down the road in Cortland) is able to be heard here in the Salt City. Why, oh why did I have to be such a trailblazer?

The second instance came when I discovered that Dungeons & Dragons is apparently becoming cool. With girls, of all people. Check this out - online magazine The Escapist started broadcasting a weekly reality TV show yesterday called I Hit it with My Axe, in which a predominantly female gaming group plays D&D. Oh yeah, they're a group of predominantly female porn stars. No, I don't get the connection there, either, but it's not just a mash-up for the purposes of producing a show. The same group of porn stars had already been playing D&D together for months (years?), it's just that now they're playing a second game, on camera, for this show. Yes, they keep all of their clothes on so far as I saw in the first video. The Dungeon Master has been blogging about their game since October. Then, strolling around the web, I ran into an article in Dragon Magazine (which I originally found on, the website of publishers Del Ray and Banta) where a female writer is asked by her boss to run a D&D game for a group of women at their office. Now, these are professional, adult-aged women who actually want to play D&D? Where the hell were these chicks when I was in High School, I'd very much like to know?? When I was in school, D&D players were at best ignored, most often mocked, and at worst accused of being possessed by demons. We sure as hell weren't hanging out with actual girls, let alone porn star girls. No, it's true - hardly any of the guys I played D&D with had girlfriends. One of them turned out to be gay, but he didn't have a boyfriend at the time, either, so same thing. Imagine what studs we'd be today? Oh wait, looking in the mirror I see that there's still a problem with that theory. Well, anyway, it would have been nice to be more socially accepted.

I wonder what else will turn out to be cool in the 2010s that my friends and I seemed to be doing in a social vacuum back in the 80s? Turns out, being a pioneer is hard.

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