Saturday, January 12, 2013

Everywhere that I'm not

On Thursday evening I was listening to the radio while making dinner, like most everybody has, for hundreds or thousands of dinner times each. Then a song came on, like they do. You know, the song you haven't heard in thirty years, and haven't thought of either, but that just nails a particular time in your life.

On Thursday evening that song was Translator's Everywhere That I'm Not. I swear it's been running on continuous loop in my head ever since it came on at 7:24 p.m.

Never heard of Translator? Have a listen.

'Cause you're in New York, but I'm not
You're in Tokyo, but I'm not
You're in Nova Scotia, but I'm not
Yeah, you're everywhere that I'm not
Yeah, you're everywhere that I'm not
It's your basic longing-for-lost-lover tune, you've heard the trope before, you'll hear it again: everybody's been there, everybody imagines nobody's ever been there the way they have.

The video? It's so early MTV (the channel launched the year before the song's release), so band-that-barely-made-it-past-College-radio ... but for me it perfectly evokes a time when I spent every weekend night at San Francisco's legendary Stud -- the old Stud, pre-1987, on Folsom Street. I can smell the cheap gin-and-tonics well before the first refrain ends.

Here's a guidebook-style description of the dance bar, but only because I found it in Google Books, taken from San Francisco Bizarro: A Guide to Notorious Sights, Lusty Pursuits, and Downright Freakiness in the City by the Bay, by Jack Boulware:
If not the oldest continuous gay bar in the city, The Stud is right up there, opening in the late 1960s at 1535 Folsom between 11th and 12th [...]. A popular gay stoner hangout, The Stud gained a reputation as San Francisco's quintessential alternative gay bar. Patrons o f the era speak of it with almost spiritual reverence, and with good reason. The business operated for a time as an ordained chapel of the Universal Life Church, holding "services" after the 2 a.m. closing time so that the bar could remain open into the early morning hours.
The other song that does that for me, evokes that same bar in the same era, is The Clash's Should I Stay or Should I Go, a song of the same vintage, but one that made it into the Canon: anybody who has listened to more than a miniscule corner of late 20th century British music has listened to The Clash.

If you're under 30 in 2013, and knew Translator's Everywhere that I'm not before you pointed a web browser my way, please leave a comment. I salute you.

Related posts on One Finger Typing:
Melancholy popular music: Lana Del Rey and her antecedents
Take a sad song
Are you a lyrics person?


  1. I remember Translator! In fact, I was in the band. I wrote Everywhere That I'm Not! Our rehearsal space used to be upstairs from The Stud on Folsom. We are still play together from time to time - including a very cool show at Slim's in Sept 2009 (clips are on YouTube). I have released 4 solo albums, and I'm working on the next one now. Really great that the song haunted you while you were cooking! All the best, Steve Barton

  2. Sorry about the typo - that should have been "we still play together", not "we are still play together"! steve

  3. @Steve Barton --- Thanks for commenting ... great to know you're still making music. I had no idea the band was so entwined with The Stud. You should know that a number of friends from that era let me know (on FB & Twitter, not here) that they too loved the song.

  4. Wow. That's so cool you got a comment from a Translator! I love(d) that song. That's impossible - that's IM!