Crazy notes to myself

Call me Nancy at
There came a point, about 90 columns ago, when News & Review Senior Editor Robert Speer turned to me and said, in so many words, “Why don’t you step away from writing about clones, UFOs and government conspiracies? Focus on downtown activities and what’s happening in the local arts.” And thus I was reincarnated into the infamous Bitter Betty, which is just fine with me. As much as Chico likes to give gigantic hand slaps on the back about how much we love the arts here, there is really no event or forum that thanks those who have given so much to our town. Take the case of Jay “Boomshot” Langworthy. For 12 years he has given Chico a deep infusion of reggae spirit. Before his first band, Dread, Beat and Blood, played there was no real reggae band in Chico (besides the few tunes Spark & Cinder and other locals played). Besides being a founder of Cornerstone, the premier local roots band, which recently had its last show (again, no gold watch), he brought reggae to the airwaves on KZFR for about a decade.

Over the years, Jay has had his entire collection of music destroyed, thieved and otherwise used beyond recognition. Countless thousands of dollars were poured into restoring the archives (through full-time jobs) just so the community could hear the latest dub cuts from Jamaica filter through the air during our long hot summers. What drives a guy to give so much to Chico with so little in the way of recognition or repayment? Do I think that we lose valuable artists each year to bigger cities where rewards are higher? Yes, I do.

I remember one time when a very bad person put something in Jay’s water. The next day, I heard Boomshot on the radio, and he sounded, well, kind of weird. I went up to the station and found him slipping underneath his dais, but when it came time to read the public service announcements, the guy sped through the promos like a pro, despite not being able to keep the words on the card. His perseverance, dedication, ability to communicate, honesty, leadership qualities and love for music will be noticeably missed. Bon voyage, buddy!

On a side note, I don’t often get my point across in 400 words. Last week I mentioned that the Friday Night Concerts "used" to be where the "squares" hung out. I still stand by this but would like to magnify: Since that time, the crowds have grown more diverse and become, in my opinion, a much better representation of the Chico community. Now, if they would only get The Asskickers to play!