‘Possum Rampant in Harvard Square

December 22nd, 2010 by Harrumpher Leave a reply »

ersFor many years, I’ve loved hearing the reggae dude coming on WERS‘ promo saying, “When I’m in Boston, I listen to WERS — Rockers!” I do too and adore the show, the best reggae in New England (Saturday and Sunday 2-5 p.m.)

Then as the cliché runs, you must accept the bad with the good.

Lately, it’s been chuckles over the student DJs’ rendering of the likes of Club Passim. We alter kakers have known it for half a century, from when it was first the Club 47. It’s been in Cambridge all that time, moving a bit, but the folk-music venue for generations.

The word passim goes back many centuries and derives from Latin, passus. It means here and there, throughout, as citing an author’s work in footnotes. That seems apt enough for the motley sets in a typical folk-music evening.

In these parts, the original pass’-im pronunciation has long been pa-seem’. Neither suits many of the ERS mic massagers. It’s pertinent when they regularly read their concert calendar.

The DJs change by the semester. Emerson has a huge presence in communications, including a couple of BA programs in radio as well as its own station. That means a wide variety of skill sets, accents, vocabularies and regional dialects. A few things are sure though. For some reason, the DJs who host fun, kid-oriented songs on The Playground (Saturday and Sunday, 5-8 p.m.) are young women students with squeaky voices. Cute brings cute?


Occasionally, student DJs have strong Midwestern and Plains accents that are stunning in this area. Listen to the news and think you are Wisconsin.

Back to Club Passim, the recent managers have produced Club Pass’-um repeatedly. That’s not a Tom Brady fan group. This afternoon, I got an even bigger jolt with Club ‘Possum. I visualized Pogo with a guitar.

As snooty as New Englanders and Boston-area sorts in particular are about pronouncing their local stuff, I’m surprised the station managers and local students haven’t ragged on these DJs. I have to assume I listen to ERS more than they do.

Here I am, turning into eeka over at 1 Smoot Short of a Bridge. She has regular mini-rants about WBUR’s Delores Handy’s mouth tics, like this recent one. For me, while I can’t take the little girl voices on The Playground, I find the small manglings on ERS tolerable.


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