The best things that have ever happened at Grand Old Day


This is the first blog entry for “New Slang.” The Twin Cities Daily Planet is nice enough to let me put a blog up here. I’m hoping to create a space where I can share my thoughts about hip-hop music, trivia, food, and the beautiful Twin Cities I live in. I’m aiming to ramble. Why did I call it New Slang? ‘Cause I love that song by the Shins. ‘Cause I love slang and ’cause I love slang that I can’t figure out. So we’ll start the ramble here:

in new slang, sean mcpherson shoots the digital breeze about current events, decoding hip-hop songs, chicken wings, contentious trivia questions, and daily life.

I love the Digable Planets. The Blowout Comb has been getting me through my week and I’m reminded of how much this record stands as an amazing testament to the breadth of hip-hop music. This music has so much jazz in it, but it’s not cheesy jazzy. And the lyrics are great, and coming back to it years later I’m following many more of the plot lines. I want to get deeper into this record; for now I’ll just leave it as a recommended record. It moves me. A lot of the slang I don’t follow here relates to 5 Percenters including lots of references to 7 and a crescent, Earths and other terms. I’m learning about this, but slowly. What else has been making my week wonderful? Dr. Bonner Lavender Soap. This weirdo hippie soap that you can buy at Whole Foods feels so incredible, I can’t get enough of it. My girlfriend and I are pouring through a whole bottle every two weeks. It is better at waking me up than my alarm clock. Unfortunately, I have not designed an alarm system with soap yet. It also is a great hangover remover if you put the soap all over your shaved head. If you don’t have a shaved head you should consider shaving your head. Especially right around this time of year. Regardless of however long my hair has grown in the winter it is about to get shaved before Grand Old Day. The closest I ever get to feeling like a celebrity is probably a white-t-shirt-baggy-jean-shaved-head-half-buzzed Grand Old Day walk-around. St. Paul’s my city, and growing up Grand Old Day was the real start of the summer. I’ve known folks who have quit their jobs since nobody gave them the day off. So, it’s a serious one. In what I hope will be the first among a lot of lists I will tell you about the best things that have ever happened at Grand Old Day:

1. The Hold Steady at the Dixie’s Stage in 2005. I figured that Hold Steady would be an okay band but never live up to the Lifter Puller reputation. This show changed that. Craig Finn walked out with his guitar falling off of his hip like he had been drinking Budweiser in Eagan for the last ten years. It was right then that I thought, he could get all those Bruce Springsteen fans to believe in these Uptown hipsters. It felt spectacular. 2. The rainstorm in 2005. I had just left a house party with Martin Devaney and Kevin Hunt and we walked up the middle of Grand Avenue while rain poured down everywhere. Everyone was racing for cover and we were walking in the middle of it heading for Snelling from Victoria. I put my headphones in, listened to some rap and let the rain fall all over us. It felt like an adventure.

3. The terrible concoction of 2006. I decided that I should make iced tea but use gin instead of water. It tasted pretty much like making out with a tree. And I made out with that tree all day. I also decided to take photos of tons of people all around Grand Old Day holding a sign that said “This Could Be Your Last Summer.” 2006 was that first year where I thought all the fun might be coming to an end for dayjob-having Sean and all my friends would stop wanting to play gigs on offnights and have barbecues on Tuesday afternoons. I was wrong, but the “This Could Be Your Last Summer” poster worked out great. Note famous person Ike Reilly in the bottom left corner. He headlined the Dixie’s stage that night. That terrible concoction resulted in me sending a text to a friend that said “Come pick me up, I’m at the corner of Lexington and Snelling.” And it was on a day called Grand Old Day. 4. When Heiruspecs lost the Battle of the Bands in 1999. That sucked, actually. But the Mac-Groveland battle of the bands was the proving ground for St. Paul bands in the late 90s. It was about the funnest time to play those Battle of the Bands.

5. The terrible concoction of 2007. This time I made lemonade type stuff with tons of vodka and about 400 little containers of Splenda I stole from the Coffee News Cafe the day before. Dessa asked Heiruspecs to back her up and we were happy to do it. Sims and Felix from Doomtree came and rapped with us. After the rapping was done I decided to open my concoction. I poured some for Sims, he had a sip and he looked at me and said “you are a bad person.” This drink was terrible, not as bad as the woodgintea, but pretty bad. Pretty bad. Also, I made a shirt that said “Minneapolis out of St. Paul now.” This was in reference to the fact that for a lot of Minneapolis hipsters this was their first time in St. Paul because their elected hipster officials, Tapes ‘n Tapes, were headlining the Dixie’s stage. So I wanted to remind them that some of us get to enjoy St. Paul everyday. In the photo you can see Martin Devaney and Josh Peterson fitting into the shirt on the morning of Grand Old Day. Well, my friends were waiting for the part of the set where I took off the overshirt and let Minneapolis know how I feel. So, all my boys were in the front row yelling “take off your shirt, take it off Sean, come on Sean, take it off” during the whole set. It was enough to make Dessa think she was getting heckled/harassed. Another great Grand Old Day! My dumb band (Heiruspecs) is playing at Salut this Grand Old Day at noon. If you have any advice on what type of terrible concoction I should drink, just reply to this blog. Okay, that’s it for my first blog. There’s more coming.