One of the things that I used to love about my alma mater, until they destroyed it and subsequently all chances of eking a donation out of me (I hope you’re listening, Cardinal Fund), was that alumni could access all library resources remotely. For someone like me, whose lifeblood used to be LexisNexis, this was not just a matter of post-graduate privilege, but a serious lifestyle issue. I LexisNexis’d everything, all the time, and especially late at night. It’s extremely entertaining to read academic takes on popular culture, especially those articles that make it clear someone brilliant to near-pathological levels has accidentally watched a reality series marathon and doesn’t know what to do with such blunt debasement other than write it out.
Anyway, long story short: I recently came across a trove of articles I had saved from several years back, all sourced by LexisNexis’ing the phrase “Dick Dale.” I really love the following, from “Surfing the Other: Ideology on the Beach” (SURFING THE OTHER, oh my god, Wesleyan, I will never forgive you for taking LexisNexis away from me) by R.L. Lutsky:
“The turbulent social and political issues of the 60s never seemed to intrude upon the beach… the appeal of surf music, like that of surfing itself, has indeed been presented as a matter of fun. [Yet] clearly, the notion of fun involved here — from wild surf to wild bikinis, wild rides to wild dancing — is not readily described as clean.”
Clean fun! What even is that, these days? This is a real question, and if anyone would like to answer it you can find my email address to the right. I am charmed to pieces by the thought that wild surf, wild bikinis, wild rides, or wild dancing would be anything other than clean fun — not to mention Dick Dale’s music, which would never, ever be described as sexual, dark, edgy, or dirty.
In any case! Below is a video of Dick Dale and the Del Tones in 1963, with their particular brand of unclean fun: