Vinyl and Lyme Disease

Whether you enjoyed the premiere of Vinyl as the folks at Rolling Stone did or hated it like the folks at The New Yorker, you were no doubt left wondering whether that reference to Lyme disease about halfway through the episode rang true. The reference occurs when Bobby Cannavale’s character, Richie Finestra, visits the home of radio personality (or lack thereof) Frank “Buck” Rogers, played by Andrew “Dice” Clay. It’s late when Finestra arrives, and by way of apology, he explains that he had to drive all the way from Connecticut to visit Rogers. Rogers replies by castigating Finestra and his ilk for living boring lives and worrying about catching Lyme disease. The problem, however, is that the show is set in 1973.* And although the oldest known human with Lyme disease is a 5300-year-old mummy, the disease did not earn its name until 1975 when a cluster of cases of what looked like rheumatoid arthritis broke out in and around Lyme, Connecticut, in 1975. So Rogers was right to pinpoint Connecticut as a hotbed of concern regarding Lyme disease, but he was a couple of years early with his reference. An anachronism? Maybe. Or maybe we’re going to find out that he’s a fictionalized version of Jeanne Dixon.

*In fact, one of the major real-life events that occurs on the show is the collapse of the Mercer Arts Center, which happened on August 3, 1973, a historic date if ever there was one.


This man does not worry about Lyme disease.

David Bowie

I can remember hearing David Bowie on the radio the summer I turned ten and thinking he sounded really cool—like, literally, cool, as if he were made of ice. I loved the “And if you say run…” bridge on “Let’s Dance” (“And tremble like a…………… FLOWER!”) and the manic cry of “I’ll give you a man who wants to rule the world” on “China Girl” (though at the time I thought the line was “I’ll give you man o’wars to rule the world”).

Even then, I identified with the opening line of “Modern Love”: “I don’t want to go out, I just want to stay in and get things done.” And the idea of standing in the rain and never saying bye-bye? Ten-year-old me was like, “Yeah, man. That’s life.”

And that was before I found out about Ziggy Stardust.