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for January 30, 2004

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The Day The Melody Died
by Stiffy Biceptz

For those of you not in the area, or those of you out of touch with the New Brunswick scene, I have very somber news to report. The Melody Bar has finally been demolished. This was a long time coming since the building had been sold to Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center a while ago; the bar had actually closed in March of 2001.
Nonetheless, the actual physical death of the little bar on French Street is a heavy blow. Many times, over the last 3 years, I would drive past it wondering what its fate would be, when its fate would arrive. Seeing the building still standing would always trigger strong feelings and I would be haunted for the rest of the day by many memories of my joyful six years there. Even though long closed, just knowing the building was still there made it seem like the Melody was still alive.
There was always a tiny crystal of hope somewhere in my soul that one day I'd read in the paper or hear from a friend that the Melody had reopened. That someone, maybe even Cal and Steve, the original owners, had decided they missed all the fun and that they couldn't really live without it. Another part of me knew it would never happen, and of course it never did. It's gone now, forever.
Those of you who know me understand what the Melody meant to me; how it changed my life so much for the better, how much happiness I found there, three nights a week, every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. The Melody showed me who I really was, who I could be if I chose to be. At the Melody I learned what it meant to be truly alive and not just living. What it meant to choose for your self everything about yourself, and not just to go along with the script that middle class suburban life comes with. What it meant to be free mentally and physically from all the barriers and restrictions we place on ourselves. What the purpose of life is. For six years the Melody was the most important part of my life.
The Melody was a place human beings could go to. The Melody was in a way a refugee camp, for those who needed to lead a more passionate, authentic life. I discovered how much in common I had with people I believed I had nothing in common with. Artists, musicians, dancers, freaks, oddballs. Men and women in a wide spectrum of sexual identity. You know who you are. To my surprise I discovered I was a little bit of each. Stiffy Biceptz was born at the Melody.
I met many people at the Melody over the years. Some became close friends and will remain in my life till the end of it. Most were more like fellow journeymen. The Melody was a rest stop between our adolescent lives and our fully adult lives, and we had all checked in at the same time for a chance to rest and decide where it was we wanted to travel. And for the time we were there at our little oasis, we made sure to drink, dance, and make merry, for we knew the rest of the journey was likely not to be as hospitable. As time went on, each of us eventually moved on to the rest of our lives, as we all had to. But our time together at the Melody taught us what the purpose of the rest of our lives was all about. To pursue happiness. To be happy. To be as joyful and passionate in all our future endeavors as we were for a few evenings of our lives, in the little club on French Street.
I loved the Melody and everyone I met there. I will always love you all; I owe you all my happiness. In the next world, I hope to see you all again. I'll be right where you saw me last, whirling almost out of control on that tiny dance floor, with the same old boots.
Next time I'll try harder not to step on your feet.

©2004 Stiffy Biceptz

All material ©2001-2014 Sean Carolan, except as noted.


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