Brodi’s Brought Back

Most of us can recall special moments from “way back”, music we heard, art we saw, a building, a landscape, something that resonates for years, and rue how difficult is the recapture. Marcel Proust made a career of it.

For example, in the period when I visited the Brodi’s club in Plattsburgh, NY in the early 1970s, I greatly enjoyed the house band. To my memory they were tight, accomplished, pros in every way even though mostly doing (it seemed) cover material.

It’s a memory I must nurture as, without a time machine, how could I ever go back and hear it again? Fortunately, against all odds, I can, and did. Former members of the band “US” have uploaded to YouTube two tapes from the period, on You Tube, here. It is just as I remember it, e.g., the great version of Chicago’s “I’m a Man” near the end.

If I turn it up, dim the lights, in a way I am at Brodi’s again, all I need is a can of PBR!

I stated earlier that the drive each way took about 1.5 hrs. My friend Charles – he did the driving, so he should know – told me this morning we often did it in 1 1/4 hrs, hitting 75 mph at times.

I don’t recall meeting anyone at Brodi’s, ever speaking to anyone, I mean. I just watched the band and sipped a beer or two. It must have been two, Charles says I sometimes dozed on the way home.

So I don’t have any sizzling memories of the place, it was all very correct. After all too we were in a foreign land and careful not to get into arguments or other awkward situations. We needed to get home for Monday’s classes in Legal Philosophy, say. The Hart-Fuller Debate and, oh never mind.

Others surely have more exciting memories of Brodi’s. An American sportswriter, Bill Tangen, recorded his in 2005, you can read them here in his book Choices: Memoirs of a Sportswriter. It has to do with two dates he made in one night at the bar, spaced to avoid overlap, but one girl was late…

My experiences were more anodyne, yes. Still, I value them: interesting new beers; U.S. cigarettes (Venus to our Mars of Virginia blends); the band; the dancing couples; even the local accent – there is one, even such a short distance from Canada. Plattsburgh then was like being thousands of miles from home. Parts of London or Paris today resemble Toronto more than any part of Plattsburgh did then.

Good times, not least the music. And I can hear it all again. Thank you, Tim Berners-Lee, thank you, ex-members of the band US for your wonderful upload, something only made possible through magic McLuhan “circuitry”.

Of course the building has another use now, the restaurant, band, and bar are gone. Charles told me he remembered the metal fencing on the landing. It is still there.

Note re image: the image above was drawn from a video on You Tube of performances by an earlier band, the Starfires, at Brodi’s, see here. All intellectual property therein belongs solely to the lawful owner. Used for educational and historic purposes. All feedback welcomed.


2 thoughts on “Brodi’s Brought Back”

  1. Gary…
    You posted your article July 3, 2019 — I am reading your article September 3, 2019 – two months later. And what really “blows my mind” is, I left the area you are writing about, Plattsburgh 50 years ago. I lived there three years – and was one of the airmen that you mentioned who would hang out at Brodi’s !!! It was three of the best years of my life !!! I was stationed at Plattsburgh AFB from 66 to 69 – so 50 years ago I was discharged. I have so many fond memories of that area — and Bordi’s is at the top of the list. It got a good chunk of my military pay check, ha….drinking – dancing – a great place !!! (I heard last call many times).
    I so enjoyed your article — “thanks for the 50 year memory.”
    Hope you keep in touch….
    Reggie VanAsdalan

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