Kevin/retro column Jan. 14

January 18, 2001

Dr. Feelgood, or how I learned to stop worring and embrace the past

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I am a child of the '60s ... born two decades too late.

Stop snickering. I'm serious. Yeah, I know, it may not look like it on the outside, but I'm one free-wheelin', tie-dye-wearin' freak.

And not just because it's chic. Sure, I've seen "Forrest Gump" and "Austin Powers." I followed Woodstock, parts II and III.


But it's much deeper than that, man. Like eating a pint of Wavy Gravy in a blacklight-lit room with "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In" on in the background.

You might ask how I've managed to achieve such a heightened state without the aid of illegal substances. Well, hop on KC's Magic Bus for Spiritual Enlightenment: Four Steps to a Retro You, and I'll show you how to embrace flower power, disco delight and a few things in between.

Step One: Tie-dye and sandals

Embrace the fashion of the past. Pleather is so today. Bell-bottoms are the thing; big, flowery patches are even better.

Wear sandals all the time. You might catch cold, but you'll be snifflin' to a '60s beat before you know it, especially if you have a tie-dye bandana tied to your hair and beads hung around your neck.

Step Two: All Dylan, all the time.

Rock's poet laureate. You want to enter a retro state of mind, pop a Dylan disc into the CD player - Bob, not Jakob. Geez, I have to spell it out for you? And not '70s, '80s or '90s-era Dylan, either. We're talkin' "Blonde on Blonde" and "Bringin' It All Back Home," two classics of the rock era.

Step Three: Agitate.

Think anything gets done without someone raising a stink? Think again. That's why I have steadfastly refused to shop at national discount superstores to support our country's fine, independent retailer.

(Uh... just don't count that one Christmas shopping trip, OK? The bargains were sooooo choice.)

Raise your voices, speak out against the hypocrisy of the everyday world. You'll be glad you did.

Step Four: Embrace the simplicity of the disco ball.

I know, I know. I said to listen to Dylan all the time, but you can only take so much of the voice, y'know? That's why it's important to get in touch with the inner disco you.

Could an entire nation have been so wrong for so long in the late '70s? No. So groove to Donna Summer and dust off the "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack. There's a reason Travolta keeps coming back, and that reason is the prospect of his wearing the suit again.

There you have it.

There are only so many VW buses out there, so get to it. A new you is only a flower in your hair away. If I can do it, so can you.

Transformation can be yours, but it won't be easy. Strip away excess, embrace simplicity.

- Kevin Clapp is a staff writer for Lifestyle.

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