Skip to main content

Int. A slightly run-down church basement. 

There is a table in the corner with nametags, cups and a large coffee urn upon it. We pan from the table to the middle of the room where a group of a dozen people sit on folding chairs in a circle. There is an older man in a snug fitting black suit wearing a pork pie hat. There is a woman with a Chelsea cut that is a week away from growing out. There is a younger guy, probably still in high school, with a large trombone-shaped case next to him. 

We pan in on a heavier man slouched over with his elbows on his knees, staring at the floor. He is wearing corduroy pants, checkerboard Vans and a well-worn T-Shirt with barely legible script reading "MU 330" above an equally faded drawing of a vintage '60s style sci-fi rocket ship on the back. 

The man stands up, surveying the group encircling him. He takes a deep breath before speaking. 

Charlie: Hello. My name is Charlie... and I love ska.

The Group: Hello, Charlie. 

Charlie: Uh, yeah, hi. This is my first Ska-Anon meeting. I'm sick and tired of having to choke down my love of ska whenever I encounter people. I hate having to pretend that the first band I fell in love with was someone cool like the Pixies. It was Skankin' Fucking Pickle and I want to scream it to the world! 

The Pork Pie Hat Guy: Settle down, Charlie. There's no need to get upset. We're all here for the same reason. We love ska... and that's OK. 

Charlie: I know, but it just seems like no one else agrees with me... agrees with us. There's nothing wrong with watching a bunch of grown men pretend they are superheroes fighting a magic chicken. 

Woman with the Chelsea Cut: There is once they start playing songs from any album after "Eye of Death..." 

High School Guy: Look, I know the later albums aren't great, but the Aquabats are why I love ska. I got hooked on "Look At Me (I'm a Winner)" and did a deep dive to discover the earlier stuff. It's why I'm here today! 

Charlie: Yeah! I'll be the first person to complain about a band moving away from the sound I feel in love with—looking directly at you, Catch-22—but we should all be happy we found our way to ska, right? 

Charlie stands up and pulls off his shirt. He is covered in ska tattoos—checkerboard bands around both biceps, a skanking mustard bottle on one side of his chest, seven blue bars in the shape Black Flag's logo on the other side. Over his belly in Olde English script it says "Pick It Up." 

Charlie: This ink is in me just as sure as my blood. This music defines who I am. My high school girlfriend broke up with me after I skipped homecoming to see Bim Skala Bim and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. My first car got stolen outside the Fireside Bowl during a Slapstick show. I lost my virginity listenting to the Slackers after seeing the Suicide Machines, goddamnit. Ska is my life and my tattoos tell the story.

Woman with the Chelsea Cut: Your Skattoos. 

The entire group erupts with laughter. The unmistakable opening riff of "Gangsters" by The Specials starts playing from somewhere as everybody gets up and starts dancing [awkwardly, of course]. 

Narrator: Ska isn't a disease to be treated with a 12-step program. It's a joyous form of music that you should never be ashamed to enjoy. Who gives a shit what your friends say? Be brave and like what you like openly and unabashedly. And enjoy this gallery of ska tattoos... er, skattoos.