Skip to content

Donald Fagen – The Nightfly (1982)

April 14, 2018

[Album 604/1001]

“Do you have any ID?”
– Cashier at Kingston Farm Boy location, a few weeks ago

In Ontario, you have to be 19 to purchase alcohol (and these days, you can buy Ontario craft beer at specific grocery stores).

Now in my 37th year, I thought my days of being mistaken for a teenager were in the past.

So naturally, when I was recently asked for identification, I was practically giddy in presenting my driver’s licence!

But leaving the store, the interaction sent me on a reflective journey – why did I get ID’d?

Or to borrow the sequence of questions from Pulp’s F.E.E.L.I.N.G. C.A.L.L.E.D. L.O.V.E., Why me? Why you (the cashier)? Why here (at Farm Boy)? Why now?



(photo taken on the afternoon of ID-ing)


And I think I’ve figured it out.

It’s certainly not because the cashier had an “In Training” label on their name-tag, and was likely being over-cautious (as they’re supposed to ask if the customer looks under 25).

There’s no chance it’s because I’d just gotten my haircut (and inevitably look much more youthful for a few days).

Obviously, it’s because she had no idea I’ve become a fan of grown-up music.Donald_Fagen_-_The_Nightfly

Like Steely Dan, or more specifically, its co-founder Donald Fagen.

Unbeknownst to the cashier, I’d been listening to The Nightfly a fair bit.

Though a younger version of myself would have sneered at the synthesizers, I had no issues with them whatsoever!

Even as recently as a few years ago, I found myself indifferent to Fagen’s vocals, but now they’re a definite selling point.

And there’s something about these LPs with 4 tracks per side that I find quite appealing too, the succinct symmetry is very pleasing.

So perhaps I’m both getting older and, at least in this one instance, maybe even slightly wiser?

Just don’t tell the Farm Boy cashiers, it might spoil my chances of getting ID’d again. 😉


Verbalize the Positive

Thank you for making my day, cautious Farm Boy cashier!

From → 1980s

  1. jprobichaud permalink

    Man, the days are long gone when I would be ID’d for purchasing craft beer… even at the Farm Boy (who I’m pretty sure are mandated to do so). Good for you though…

    • I have a feeling this ID-ing will be an outlier, rather than the new normal craft brew purchasing experience JP!

      • jprobichaud permalink

        Haha. Well, cherish it then. And of course, enjoy the brews.

  2. Zack permalink

    I sometimes feel old at the age of 34. It’s nice to know I haven’t reached the ‘enjoying Donald Fagen records’ part of my life so I can’t be that old yet.

    • You’re still a youth Zack!
      Though I’ll call being able to enjoy Fagen one of the perks of exiting my ‘mid-30s’ 😀

  3. A hairdresser told me I don’t look my age(I’m in my mid 30s as well). I think it’s in the genes!
    The Nightfly holds up to repeat spins and the sleeve art is special too. Perhaps the way he sits. though he kind of makes smoking look cool which might offend certain folks 🙂

    • I like the sounds of that hairdresser!

      When I looked at the clock on the cover, I’m guessing based on the title, it’s 410am – being in our mid30s, although I love the idea of listening to a show with the host talking about/playing LPs, no chance I could stay up that late anymore!

  4. I still get carded. I was carded on my 41 st birthday. Yes! I could have kissed the Beer Store guy. He then looked at my ID and was a bit embarrassed. But I was soooooo happy!

    • Well done Sarca!
      I think I was offended as a 20-year old when I was asked for ID – but now it’s the ultimate compliment!

  5. I actually heard and enjoyed a Steely Dan song the other day… I must be reaching that age too! Don’t think I’ve ever been ID’d in my life though.

    • I think that’s the trade-off of getting older – we get ID’d less, but enjoy Steely Dan more!

  6. I love it when I get carded, but it hasn’t happened since I grew a beard…which is very gray. It is the little things that please as we get older.

    • A friend who is about my age has hair that is somewhat gray – they ended up getting an un-requested seniors discount recently.
      But they couldn’t decide if they were offended in appearing to be older than they were or if they were grateful to get the surprise discount!

  7. Lovely story to go with one of my favourite albums, ever. At one stage I had four copies (three vinyl and one CD) but now it’s down to a much more sensible three. Such a superb sounding record.

    • The production values were top drawer for sure – and perhaps that’s a sign of wisdom: knowing that 4 copies could be excessive, but fewer than 3 would simply be insufficient!

  8. Its those River Cuomo like glasses man..I’m telling ya…

    • Cheers Deke – you know how much I adore =w=eezer!
      I hadn’t thought about that with Rivers, the glasses may be his secret to looking the same for the last 25 years!

  9. I have male pattern baldness and white streaks so I never get id’d. Night Fly is a real good record, pretty much a continuation of Steely Dan’s amazing 1970s streak.

    • I used to call that 70s streak one I admired, rather than enjoyed – but now whenever I see a Steely Dan tune featured in a movie/show, I get excited!

      • I’m working through them on my site at the moment. Really like The Royal Scam and Aja when they have these awesome jazz guys like Larry Carlton and Bernard Purdie on board.

      • So far, I’ve only got the 4 from the list (Thrill, Countdown, Pretzel, Aja) – I’ll be keeping my eyes open for used LPs.
        Usually they’re pretty reasonable in the shops & by the sounds of it, if I now enjoy those ones, I’m likely to be a fan of the others too

      • Those are four pretty good selections – IMO The Royal Scam from 1976 is the biggest omission, and it has my favourite Steely Dan song, Kid Charlemagne.

  10. Attaboy for getting carded! I never got carded at 18 even, benefits from all your hair falling out I guess…

    You now something, I never got to Fagen or Steely Dan. Meant to, just haven’t yet. But I’ll take your post as a recommend and keep them on the list!

  11. At nearly 45 I still get carded despite the grey in my beard. I think its just some places condition their cashier to ask for it regardless. The funniest thing is that I’m parent age to most of these people. I think to myself ‘Ive been drinking age longer than you have been alive, Sonny Boy’.

    If only they knew about my complete Dan collection.

    • I aspire to have similar ID-ings at 45!
      Or I’d also enjoy a sonny boy moment at age 38, when I’m double the drinking age.
      And though I wouldn’t have until recently, I think I’d really enjoy going through said Dan collection!

  12. I’ve been mistaken for a grown-up person since I was 12, so I was thrilled beyond the moon and the stars when I was asked for ID at age 27 at a cinema! Musically, I identify being grown-up when a) I am able to sustain interest through things that aren’t catchy or don’t have words and b) I am unable to stand what’s contemporary. For someone who defends really mainstream pop all the time, I can’t tolerate more than half of it.
    But yeah, I’m never going for smooth jazz. That’s the kind of grown-up I don’t ever want to be.

    • Admittedly, I’m beyond under-informed about modern music (mya book version ends in 2005), and I have a bad habit of considering everything released in a year that starts with 20- new!
      Though I’m pleased to report that, despite the smooth jazz, I haven’t attained fulI fledged grownup status yet – as thus far, we’ve been able to avoid getting a ‘mini-van’ (which in Canada is the point when you’ve fully embraced being a grown-up)!

  13. Man, I’ve seen this album umpteen times and I’ve always just flicked past it. Never once stopped to look at it.

    Now that I’m thinking I should pick it up, there’s a good chance I won’t see it. I’m telling you, that’s how it works for me.

    Anyhoo, I was last ID’d 3 and a bit years ago. I remember as it was a celebratory evening with some friends. I was buying them a bottle of wine… and I kinda laughed a bit and asked “are you serious?” when I was asked for ID (being a good bit older than 18 and or 25, which was the store’s policy). I left without the wine, though… as I didn’t have ID on me. D’oh!!

    • I know what you mean J – I’ve had that feeling too, maybe it’s called non-buyers remorse?!

      • I think that might be it!! I honestly can’t tell you how many times it’s happened to me!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Favourite Five: Steely Dan Albums – Aphoristic Album Reviews
  2. 1982 | 1001albumsin10years

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: