Momus, in case you didn’t know, is a Scottish musician with an eyepatch whose interests, according to Wikipedia, include identity, Japan, Rome, the avant-garde, time travel and sex. He almost had a hit in 1987 with “Hairstyle of the Devil” and has been doing his bizarre thing ever since. In 1998, he graced the “so-called Eclectic House” with his presence and fortunately for us kids, he wrote this spectacular account.
Although he (jokingly?) refers to Wes as the University of Connecticut, his description of our “Oasis of distilled hedonism”, our “self-righteous, temporary, trust-funded student escapism” may be more on point. From Eclectic, he proceeds to Womanist House, where he muses on identity politics and our “pseudo-liberal, politically correct puritanism.”
No, not in 2000. The article’s from 1992, when Al Gore was the Democratic vice presidential candidate, and the headline refers to the elder Bush, then running for reelection. If you’re confused as to why Gore would bother campaigning in the middle of Connecticut, consider that this was 1992; the red/blue state divide as we know it today wasn’t quite in place, and Connecticut swung right for Bush in 1988 and for Reagan in both 1984 and 1980.
So, on October 30, 1992, the VP candidate made his way to the relatively new Freeman Athletic Center, where he spoke for 35 minutes, “mostly criticizing President Bush, but also highlighting the ticket’s stance on the environment, healthcare, jobs and the Head Start program.” According to the piece, Gore spent the bulk of his speech attacking Bush in light of claims that the president knew about and was involved in the 1986 Iran-Contra Scandal. (Why these charges didn’t play a greater role in the election, I can’t say.)
Not all in the audience were solidly on board, though. The Argus article notes that a few Bush/Quayle supporters were physically ambushed when they registered their dissent:
The last time Social Committee announced Spring Fling in late April, they called it a “diverse line-up.” Familiar, no? This was 1993, and underground hip hop trio Digable Planets had been snagged as the last-minute headlining act. (It all seems so 1993, too, until you remember that Digable’s lead emcee, Ishmael Butler, is now one half of hip hop collective Shabazz Palaces, which would’ve been a tight steal for Foss this month.) Opening acts included hip hop group Black Moon, Boston-based ska outfit Bim Skala Bim, and Wes band Thumpasaurus, which are all awesomely named mysteries to me. (Apparently Bim Skala Bim reunited in ’09, so go crazy, Spring Fling Committee.) (As for other acts in consideration that year, committee chair Ron Tuckman ’93 name-drops The Lemonheads, Cracker, Mudhoney, Dinosaur Jr., and Honey. Did I mention it was the ’90s?) (Still, they should’ve booked Dinosaur Jr. You’d be able to enjoy it from Summerfields.)
In other Spring Fling throwback news, I have managed to find the 1999lineupannouncement, which featured reggae legends Toots & the Maytals as headliner (beating out Bob Marley’s former band, The Wailors) and little-known indie trio Yo La Tengo as an opening act: