Perhaps better known as the impresario of the Sex Pistols, Malcolm McLaren had a hit with “Double Dutch” in 1983 (a follow-up on “Buffalo Gals,” his take on what we called rap back then).
He definitely helped shape a lot of the music scene back then, mixing and matching genres. Sadly, he died today at the age of 64.
Many of our loyal readers are directed toward Streetplay because of nostalgia, wanting to recapture memories of the good old days, the simpler times. In fact, a lot of people adopt a crotchety, self-anointing attitude in this regard, a rejection of what “these kids today are doing” in terms of their personal time and entertainment.
A thought provoking piece was posted on LiveScience.com yesterday that has some significance and overlap with these sentiments. While mainly concerned with recent science and studies concerning the phenomenon of children who are bullied, a phrase stuck out in terms of Streetplay sensibility:
Unstructured playtime — that is, when children interact without the guidance of an authority figure — is when children experiment with the relationship styles they will have as adults.
Bullying is a serious issue that is becoming more apparent and reported in the mass media, and may actually reflect an increase in its occurrence in American society (instead of being the media’s “flavor of the day”). It begs the question: is the combination of hysterical, overscheduling, overprotective parenting (witness Lenore Skenazy’s Free Range Kids blog, sane reportage of the problem), combined with the rampant, time-sucking, physically isolating use of electronic media (witness the Kaiser Family Foundation’s latest report on children’s media usage) a formula for creating socially dysfunctional, ready-to-be-bullied children?
All this just leads me to restate the Streetplay mantra: Get out and play.
Studies Reveal Why Kids Get Bullied and Rejected | LiveScience
I’ve been following Streetplay-oriented things for some time now, and have set up various RSS feeds and search alerts for key terms like “stickball,” “skully,” etc., to keep track of media mentions of our beloved topic. What comes up most with these automagical content creators–aside from actual street game content–is stickball’s relation to youth and urban nostalgia. Specifically, when an older notable New Yorker publishes a book, or gives a speech referring to his/her youth, or (most commonly) dies, stickball is mentioned, usually in a mythic relation to a carefree childhood filled with Homeric sporting achievement.
Dakota Steakhouse in Latham, NY (from TroyRecord.com)
I’m moved to write about this because of today’s unexpected “stickball” story, a review of a restaurant in upstate New York:
Dakota Steakhouse Not As Remembered (Troyrecord.com)
If any of you have seen a reference to stickball that has nothing really to do with playing the game, please comment on this posting!
You can see my father’s childhood apartment building from this shot. Excellent piece!
The Grand Concourse as seen from atop the Bronx County Courthouse(NY Times)
The Grand Concourse, Boulevard of Bronx Dreams – NYTimes.com