July 15th, 2008 5:33 pm | by JAY HORTON Music | Posted In: Columns, Columns

76 Kazoos Led The Big Parade!

pearl kid!Pearl parents threaten to unleash their offspring's creativity; also their offspring.

To be clear, though the editors' assignment presumed a certain malice toward easy targets, we only hope the best for the newly proposed Pearl Marching Band—a marching band solely comprised of youngsters absent uniform or direction or, from what we could tell, chosen song.

Regardless. The Pearl District, for all its pretensions, props up our dimming economy. Children are our future. And, frankly, we love a parade.

Except, this isn't one.

The Pearl Marching Band will be made up of all children in Central Portland who want to make noise/music, wave flags, dance, (twirlers anyone?) and march a few blocks on First Thursdays. I think it'll be a fun way introduce freestyle music, cooperation, celebration and dance. We want to encourage "childlike behavior."

(That being courtesy of the folks at Neighborhood Notes.)

Parades, however we may play with the definition, demand structure and organization and similarly costumed fellow travelers of shared purpose. As it happens, that's sorta what kids demand as well.

In the olden days, the children of privilege were taught that they'd a responsibility to uphold—a quiet dignity and essential un-fun-ness to shame the proles, to prepare lives of denial, to above all embody what was best of civilization so that the riots would not happen. A hundred children whistling Mozart in lock-step rhythms down our prettiest blocks rather defeats anarchy; diverting traffic to allow princesses and Batmen free expression only creates such.

Childlike behavior should be, perhaps, these lazy summer days, allowed...but never encouraged. The indulged whimsy of unconsidered entitlement contains a momentum all its own. Has nobody seen The Music Man? The film, I mean—the none-more-cynical dissection of parents living through their whelps. The film's point, beyond the joys of librarian rape, speaks to the helpless transcendence of a marching band. Of children. Parading for no reason beyond their own delight of sudden unanimity—a tuneful, active submergence toward the mean.

The Pearl necklaces that control moneyed NW shall do as they wish, of course—nothing wrong with a bit of Park Slope our fair burg—but, much as they prize their Zane and Tallulah's unadulterated specialness, The Music Man's worth a rental.

Marching bands, after all, were never really about the kids. The whole project takes cash and organization and endless dithering over material—and membership delays sex and drugs for years! It's the hovering parent's dream. Nobody can tell who's the best musician when the band does well, that's true, but there's also something neat that happens when everyone hits the same key.

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Photo courtesy of Neighborhood Notes.
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