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High Potentate Reminisces on ….a High School Dance?

Posted by July 31st, 2008 No Comments »

From The Editor
West Valley High School
1990 Back to School Dance

The Preamble

Somehow I talked the West Valley High School faculty and administration in to letting me score our 1990 “Back to School Dance” in the cafeteria. This was a huge coup.

After being ostracized by the popular kids for approximately 14 years thanks to being gangly and a bit shy, my coordination had recently caught up to my 6 ft 6 inch height and I was better than everyone at basketball. By a long stretch.

Whatever “ins” my on court prowess gave me with the popular kids was counterbalanced by my mild anarchist streak and my left-of-center tastes in music. I wasn’t “unpopular” by any stretch, but I certainly wasn’t on the “in crowd” either. Music was my everything, and getting a chance to impose my tastes on the masses felt like the crowning achievement in my young life.

West Valley High School
1990 Back to School Dance 

The Preamble

Somehow I talked the West Valley High School faculty and administration in to letting me score our 1990 “Back to School Dance” in the cafeteria. This was a huge coup.

After being ostracized by the popular kids for approximately 14 years thanks to being gangly and a bit shy, my coordination had recently caught up to my 6 ft 6 inch height and I was better than everyone at basketball. By a long stretch.

Whatever “ins” my on court prowess gave me with the popular kids was counterbalanced by my mild anarchist streak and my left-of-center tastes in music. I wasn’t “unpopular” by any stretch, but I certainly wasn’t on the “in crowd” either. Music was my everything, and getting a chance to impose my tastes on the masses felt like the crowning achievement in my young life.

I enlisted the support of The Snizz and Shawn McNulty, one of a handful of West Valley students with whom I talked and traded music. Our relationship strictly focused around the fact that, unlike the majority of our classmates, we were part of a secret elite club – kids who liked cool music before Nirvana.

Shawn was a year older and had dancier, saltier tastes than mine, so we made a good pair. He limited me to one Sonic Youth track and I talked him out of the 11 minute 808 State song and including anything by the Dayglo Abortions.

OK, More Preamable

You’re probably asking yourself: “what kind of pathetic sap keeps a track list from a High School dance?”

So here’s the thing: I didn’t.

Proving once again that the best things in life are given away, and the only good ones come back, my sister found the track list in a box of stuff in our attic. God bless her for knowing me well enough to save it for me.

Back to School Dance – Music List (Original title)
Original track list by Chris Allison, Matt Ashworth, Sean Oliver & Shawn McNulty

scoringmachine Tape 1: Side 1
If You Leave – OMD
Holiday Song – The Pixies
King of Wishful Thinking – Go West
Blister in the Sun – Violent Femmes
Can U Dig It? – Pop will Eat Itself
Close to Me – The Cure
Alphabet Street – Prince
Epic – Faith no More
I’m Free – Soup Dragons
Touch me I’m Sick – Mudhoney

Tape 1: Side 2
Take it Slow – Bobby Brown
Figh the Power – Public Enemy
Can’t Deny It – Lisa Stansfield
Kool Thing – Sonic Youth
Fine Time – New order
Get a Life – Soul II Soul
Hell I Love You – The Doors
Wave of Mutilation (UK Surf Version) – Pixies
Rub you the Right Way – Johnny Gill
Blue Sky Mine – Midnight oil
Head Like a Hole – Nine Inch Nails
Mama Gave Birth – De la soul
Just Like Heaven – Dinosaur Jr.

Tape 2: Side 1
Running to stand still – U2
Make you sweat – Keith Seat
wv_hs2Rock Lobster – B-52s
Personal Jesus – Depeche Mode
Lil’ Devil – The Cult
Don’t Let’s Start – They Might be Giants
Get Up – Technotronic
Can’t Touch This – MC Hammer
With or Without You – U2
Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door – Dylan and the Dead

Tape 2: Side 2
The Power – Snap
Blue Monday – New Order
Burning Down the House – Talking Heads
You Must Learn – BDP
Life in a Northern Town – Dream Academey
Poison – Bell Biv Devoe
Once in a Lifetime – Talking Heads
I’ll Melt for You – Modern English
Fire Woman – The Cult
Circle – Eddie Brickell & New Bohemians

The Result

Not surprisingly, the dance was a glorious disaster. Half the kids complained about the lack of Def Leppard and another half questioned how to dance to “Head Like a Hole.”

Minutes before the dance, we wisely decided to save Tape 1: Side 1 until last. The chaperones started getting nervous when a few of us started slamming in to each other during The Pixies “Holiday Song,” and by the time “Touch Me I’m Sick” came on, everyone had caught on. The raised platform in the middle of the cafeteria exploded in to a giant mosh-pit. Every poor sap with an axe to grind was suddenly freed and made equal; a sophomore girl broke her arm.

I’m not sure what happened after that, but I do know two things:

  1. I was never asked to score a school dance again.
  2. At least 20 kids joined our secret society of music dorks following that dance.

That society has been growing ever since.


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