Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.


Minnesota Days

I was late coming to the CD revolution. I had a smattering of LPs and boxes upon boxes of cassette tapes (purchased and mixed both) that I lived by well after CDs became the default way to collect your new music. After leaving White Wolf and Georgia circa 1991 (where a young Josh Timbrook had influenced my musical tastes and I'd started dabbling in rap and dance music) I returned home to the comfort of Northfield, Minnesota, and its liberal senator (local college professor, Paul Wellstone), its liberal arts colleges (St. Olaf and Carleton) and its Scandanavian sensibilities. I spent a lot of time at Goodbye Blue Monday, a coffee shop and smoker's delight, a hangout for college kids who spent their days hopped up on caffeine and their nights smoking, drinking, and debating Derrida.

Goodbye Blue Monday was started by three college friends who quickly whittled down to two when the constant responsibility of tending the store wore on one of the partners. Ironically, one of the owners of ended up also being my housemate but despite sharing a house with him I rarely saw him. We worked opposite shifts. His partner was most often the guy on duty at Goodbye Blue Monday when I would roll in after my 6am-2pm shift for a pick-me-up and most often the one who was off-duty when evening activities presented themselves. Chad was hip, confident, political, opinionated and far more cosmopolitan than I was, and was constantly introducing me to new things. It was his influence that drove me to buy one of my early CDs: Billy Bragg's Peel Session Album. I learned about John Peel through the conduit of Chad Snelson.

When I heard today that John Peel had died, my mind immediately went back to that album, to Chad Snelson and the energy and rhythm of the coffee shop. Last I heard of Chad he'd gotten engaged to an equally hip, political, beautiful young woman he met through Goodbye Blue Monday, sold the store and moved back to the city. That was years ago, and I have no idea what happened then.

I put in the album and listened to Bragg's earnest rendition of "Days Like These" and it's as relevant to me now as it was then, as it was when it was broadcast on John Peel's show in 1985...

The party that became so powerful by sinking foreign boats
Is dreaming up new promises because promises win votes
And being resolute in conference with the ad man's expertise
The majority by their silence shall pay for days like these


for this post

Anonymous Anonymous Says:

Small world, indeed. Chad was someone I knew and loved a long, long time ago. He and I discovered Billy Bragg together on WBCR (Beloit College's radio station). A current friend of mine, who is British, and a D.J. at the U of I's radio station, devoted his entire show to John Peel the night he died. He played Bragg's "Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards" from the Peel Sessions, an equally apropos song for these frightening times.

Chad married the aforementioned beautiful young woman about eight years ago. For a time, they resided in Chicago and gave birth to an equally beautiful baby girl. He has a knack for disappearing, though... his family moved back to Minneapolis sometime within the past six months. Last I heard, they were all happily aging hipsters.

"... but we can fight for democracy at home, and not in some foreign land..."

Blogger Nikchick Says:

Thanks for the update, Anonymous!

It brought a smile to my face after a couple of pretty glum days. It's always so pleasant to hear tidbits of good news about good people I've lost touch with.

Anonymous Anonymous Says:

As another person who knew and loved Chad, John Peel, and Billy Bragg, how strange and wonderful to happen upon this update. Thanks, Nikchick and Anonymous (K.?).

Anonymous Anonymous Says:

The other owner, John Podeszwa, ended up in Japan and has his own English School and CD label (www.seal-pool.org) and pet kinkajou! He's married to a great Japanese girl who does physical therapy at a home for the aged and disabled.

Chad is now running a cafe/restaurant in South Minneapolis. I forget the name, but it's around 36th and Bryant. Angie's? Eve's? Something...

Anonymous John Podeszwa Says:

Chad's restaurant is Gigi's.

And I do in fact live in Japan and have a wife who is a PT, and an English school and a CD label and a kinkajou. His name is Momo.

Who in the world knows all that about me?


Leave a Reply