SONG OF THE WEEK #18: Johnny and Mary (Robert Palmer Cover)

Johnny And Mary (Small Sins Cover of Robert Palmer) by smallsins

It’s been a year or two since my local bar – The Tap – shut down and was later replaced by a bicycle shop, and I still miss it all the time. I’ve never been very fond of making plans to go out. I always preferred to make the decision of whether to leave the house or not at the last minute, and not let anyone down if I changed my mind. I loved going there just to have a drink with whomever happened to be out that night. Everyone I knew ended up there eventually anyway, thus on any night of the week I could accidentally see someone I hadn’t caught up with in years, or have another with someone I see every day. Or just hang out with the bartenders. It didn’t matter to me, I could just go there and not have to worry about whether the night would be short or long, or who I would spend it with. It got to the point where if someone wanted to see me, they didn’t bother calling, they just came. And given its proximity to my home – only a few blocks – it was just too easy.

I’ve been in the Annex in one way or another for 17 years. I went to high school a few blocks away. Some of my first underage drinking was at The Tap’s sister bar, Las Iguanas: tequila shots with breakfast on lunch break. At 18 when I moved out of my parents’ house, it was to an apartment above the futon store with a front window that literally faced The Tap. I lived in Little Italy for a few years after that, but eventually ended up back in the old neighborhood. As long as I was close to The Tap, I would never need to take a cab anywhere or bother getting on a bike. Now that The Tap is gone, I kind of feel like moving. Like there’s nothing left for me here now that we’re overrun by college kids in the bars and yuppies on the residential streets with nothing to offset the situation except shitty tea shops and mediocre sushi restaurants…. I’m just not sure where I would go.

It wasn’t a particularly fancy place – not at all, actually. A dive, in fact. There were Elvis busts painted in Kiss makeup, hundreds of photos of patrons framed in a collage at the back – although for some reason the photos were only of people who drank there ten years ago, never to be updated with current regulars. An old version of Golden Tee that I now have in my living room (it gets played at home about as much as I ever played it at the bar – that is: none). The kitchen had the best burgers in town, as well as the ‘Hot Thom’: french fries with cheese and bacon named after me because I sarcastically threatened to no longer drink there if I didn’t get my own menu item. Dave put a little picture of me the size of an asterix beside it on the menu card. You could order food right up until 2am, although you might get in trouble if you tried to do it at 1:59 and Cherry had already cleaned the kitchen. However, you could call there at 1:59 and have them put drinks in the fridge for you, show up at 2:30 after a gig to chug the pitcher, and if Chris or Jay were game, stay there drinking with the curtains closed until it got light out. Sometimes you would finish up there barely able to walk, and they would give you a bill for like nine bucks or something. Glorious.

This song is a cover of a song I used to hear at The Tap all the time. Every time Dave (bar manager and former drummer of The Pursuit Of Happiness) used to DJ, he would play this song. I literally heard it there dozens and dozens of times. It would often get stuck in my head the next day, and eventually I just had to record a version of my own. Then Dave started playing my version back to back with the original Robert Palmer version every time. C’est la vie.

And now that it’s closed? I just don’t really bother leaving the house much anymore. I mean, I’m not a hermit. I go out from time to time, but not near as much as I used to. It happens regularly that I am sitting at home, watching TV at 11pm. I might want to leave the house, but have no plans, don’t know where to go and don’t know who to call. That’s when I miss The Tap the most. I just don’t know what to do with myself half the time, and there’s no lazy way to see what’s going on outside. I could travel somewhere random and stop in, but what if there’s no one there? A half hour walk for nothing? I’m way too lazy for that. And even if I did, it wouldn’t be MY local. So I just stay in and do nothing. I miss the Tap.

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