The spy-themed bar down the street from my house was unexpectedly rife with fifty year old bros watching sports, so Austin and I headed towards Porter, in search of a bar that was not too full but also not mostly empty, except for well-dressed senior citizens.
We made it all the way to Porter where, as I have discussed with roommates and friends, I never think to go to be social, even though it's well within walking distance.
The Newtown Grille is, as Austin mentioned, like a sports bar in the south, if it had slightly more updated tables, and, as I pointed out, less peanut shells on the floor.
We had some very good drinks and some perfectly acceptable fries and mozarella sticks, but....BUT...
For the first time since the 90s, I heard Dave Matthews Band playing in a bar. This is suprising, but not Hellish. If it were followed up with Blues Traveler, Phish, Spin Doctors,Jimmy Bufffet, and Soul Asylum, I would have just pretended it was 1996 and I was still dating women.
But not Austin, because she would have been, like, five.
What happened next was...somewhat surprising. An Irish folk song that I hadn't heard before, but which the entire bar sang along with the chorus.
"Ok," I thought, "There must be a soccer match on."
No, it was just commercials playing. Maybe they were just really excited about the new Verizon Family Plan.
This was followed by Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You". And it was at this point, that I started to question who was at the controls of this ship.
A cover of Elvis Presley's cover of Big Mama Thorton's "Hound Dog" sung by someone trapped between a crooner and a big band, and, and, and a chorus of barking...dogs?
Austin and I were searching the bar for who seemed to be suspiciously enjoying this slice of musical hell, when the entire bar started singing along with Eartha Kitt's "Santa Baby".
Hell. We were in Hell.
Austin caught one of the barsingers at the Touchjams. And lo, did an unidentifiable but foul song fart forth from the sound system.
We could barely talk. Why would someone do this?
Someone's cover of "Baby Please Come Home" came on, and I noted that I couldn't tell who was singing it, but as I came to the song through U2, I couldn't really judge anyone else's terrible cover. And then I suggested that Austin and I should go over to the jukebox and put in enough money that it just played "Bohemian Rhapsody" over and over, about five times. Because "Bohemian Rhapsody" is an amazing song. Once.
And then maybe I suggested that, instead of "Bohemian Rhapsody" we should play something by Weird Al Yankovick, and I might have mentioned running over to the person we'd witnessed choosing songs from the jukebox, smashing his head into the bar, and running to the grocery store where witnesses would surely keep him from killing me.
As though in retribution for this thought, something indescribably awful started playing from the sound system. A...a...polka? And as we listened closer, the true horror that I'd beetlejuiced into existence became clear. It was Weird Al Yankovick's "Bohemian Polka". I can't vouch for this song existing before 11:10 on November 18th, 2016, and if that is truly the origin of this disgrace, I apologize to society. Because. I mean. This is as close to a cover of "Kiss" by Alvin & The Chipmunks as I can imagine.
After a boringly arranged boy band cover of some other innocuous Christmas song, two people, whom we daggered with our eyes, spent a couple of minutes in front of the touch screen, and the world was returned to jukebox normalcy: The Who, Shania Twain, your usual sports bar jukebox fare.
I post this, not just to share my pain of a terrible playlist with you, but to ask: What are you doing next week? Are you willing to volunteer to be a part of a potentially dangerous music experiment?