Moontower > ACL + SXSW

Image

 

Austinites have a love-hate relationship with festivals. Most people who live here hate them because they don’t attend them, and it causes traffic problems and closes roads, and denies them access to their own city. A smaller percentage attends the festival, and either has a great time or has a terrible experience.

After living in Austin the last four years, I finally understand all of these perspectives. I attended ACL last year (I’ll make a post about that another time), and got very ill from being caught in the rain. I will never attend ACL again. Okay, maybe for one day if a band I really like is playing. I would rather watch the livestream, thanks!

SXSW is a hassle. I can’t get time off during SXSW because it’s busy season at my office. If I do get a day off, it’s a pain to take the bus downtown, fight the crowds, look out for drunk bros and drunk basic bitches and keep my sanity. Because SXSW is held during spring break, I’d say over half of the crowd is just there to scam free booze and food, and doesn’t care about the music. I’m a serious music fan and it drives me nuts when people are chatting during a show.  It’s already a huge problem in Austin, but is 100 times worse during SXSW. I might not even do SXSW at all next year, or if I do, I’ll keep away from the 6th Street, Rainey Street and Red River areas.

Moontower Comedy Festival is the BEST festival in Austin, hands down. Maybe it’s because this was only the third year of the festival, so it hasn’t been overrun by giant Doritos vending machines, drunk frat boys and sorority girls, and people who are only there to be seen. I’ve been to Moontower every year, but this was the first year I had a badge.

Image

 I’d never pony up the money for a SXSW badge. There’s so many free parties, it’s not worth it. The Moontower ACE badge is totally worth it. Not only can you attend any of the comedy shows around town for free, you get tickets for four shows at the Paramount. The cost of four shows at the Paramount is more than the price of the badge, so you’re already ahead. The best part of the Moontower badge is that YOU GET FREE PARKING DOWNTOWN. That’s right – free parking. FREE PARKING! For four nights! What is this madness?

At ACL, I walked two miles to my car in the rain and got sick. At SXSW, I took the bus and had to wait in the rain (it only rains during festivals) for the bus. Free parking is like a golden ticket.

Even if I had to pay for parking, it wouldn’t matter. Moontower is still the best! I saw over 30 comedians in four days. When I went to ACL, I think I saw less than 10 bands in two days (it was rained out for the third day). I got to sit down and enjoy the shows at Moontower in air conditioned bars. At ACL, it was so hot we didn’t even go until evening. At Moontower, I was handed a ticket to see four headliners, and was given orchestra seating without waiting in line. At ACL, if I wanted a good spot for the headliner, I had to get there an hour early and ended up missing other bands I wanted to see.

Kids in the Hall wear wedding dresses

 The vibe at Moontower is really laid back. I was walking around downtown and spotted Bruce and Scott from Kids in the Hall, enjoying themselves and not being bothered by fans too much. I went to get a burger at Wholly Cow and ended up seeing Mark and Dave from KITH, as well as Brody Stevens. I almost had a nervous breakdown but they did end up taking a photo with me, and they were really nice. No one is rolling VIP (or even VVIP) with an entourage at Moontower.

The quality of the entertainment was amazing. I laughed so hard that my ribs actually ached for a couple of days afterward. Some of  the shows I saw were Kids in the Hall, Maria Bamford, Hannibal Buress, Andy Kindler, Brody Stevens, James Adomian, Rory Scovel, Bobcat Goldthwait, Ari Shaffir, and on and on and on! The most unique act that I saw was Puddles the Pity Party Clown. You’ve just gotta see it to believe it, so I’m adding a You Tube clip at the end of this post. If you see Puddles around, give him a hug. He’s a good hugger.

Image

I will definitely be attending Moontower next year. A wonderful experience from start to finish.(And no, this is not a paid endorsement!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Inspired to write again

I know I’ve been away for a while, but something happened that made me want to write again.  Last week, Austin lost @atxhipsters.  He was walking home, and was struck and killed by a drunk driver.

 

I never knew Kelly in real life, but I interacted with him a lot on twitter.  When I first moved to Austin in 2010, I relied on @atxhipsters for information about what was happening in Austin.  If I had spare tickets to a show, Kelly would help me pass them on.  We would share snark about SXSW and other Austin events.  When I saw NIN tape their episode of ACL, I remember reading Kelly’s excited tweets because he was also there, and it made me appreciate the show even more.

 

I’m going to miss his humor and his enthusiasm so much.  His twitter account still posts because he had created scripts that aggregated Austin blogs and websites, but when I see his tweets, it makes me sad.

 

I don’t want to make it sound like we were pals, but I read his posts every day and so he was a part of my everyday life.  I’m very sad that he is no longer around.

 

I do think it’s strange that now that he’s gone, we all found out his name, saw his photo, and learned where he worked and lived.  The most fun part of @atxhipsters was trying to guess who was the man behind the curtain.  At first, I thought it was a team of people, but over time, I realized it was just one guy and some scripts.  He wasn’t even a hipster, really.  He just made fun of the scene, and made the scene fun.  He never posted selfies, and he rarely revealed anything personal about himself.  Austin needs more people like that (and I know I’m guilty of it too).

 

I’m going to start writing for this blog again.  I’ve been busy doing lots of fun things I can write about, plus I still have lots of 80’s memories to share with you.

 

Thanks for reading this.  I hope you will continue to follow my adventures.

The night Martin Gore proved that eye contact = sex

It should come as a surprise to no one that my obsession with Nick Rhodes led to an obsession with Martin Gore.  They are both blonde, elfin, girlish, and play keyboards.  There were a few differences, though.

Nick Rhodes wore makeup like a woman does – to make himself look “pretty”.  I would use photos of Nick to guide me on eyeliner application.  (Especially during his Cleopatra period during Arcadia.) Nick preferred pastel pink lips, and a smoky eye.

Martin Gore was a different story.  He wore ruby red lipstick, smeared eyeliner, and bondage gear.  I didn’t really understand what was going on at the time, but it’s obvious now.  He even had a shirt that said, “SUBMISSIVE” on it.  Martin Gore was kind of scary and dangerous to me back in the 80’s.  I knew he liked girls, because he would always talk about his German girlfriend Christina when he was interviewed in Star Hits.  The question was, what did he like to do WITH those girls?  Knowing his girlfriend was German, I am pretty sure golden showers were probably involved.  EEK!

My Depeche Mode fandom reached its peak during the Music for the Masses tour, aka the 101 tour.  DM came to Phoenix twice that year.  The first time I saw them, I didn’t have a very good seat.  I vowed to be right up front next time.  The band came back around in June of 1988.  I think we were the show they played right before the legendary Rose Bowl show.

My friend and I slept in the parking lot in front of the Diamond’s Box Office in a very bad neighborhood.  I’m surprised nothing happened to us.  We chose this box office  because we knew hardly anyone would buy a ticket there, so we’d be first in line.  No one else camped there, so we were the only people in line.  Luckily, our bet paid off and we had front row center tickets!  I remember that I cried after we paid for these tickets.

I started planning what to wear to the show.  I wanted to stand out and be noticed.  I knew that most DM fans wore black (and the boys wore skirts, which I loved).  I decided to do the opposite, and bought a skintight white mini-dress.  At the time, I was 5 ft 8 in and weighed 100 pounds, so I probably looked like a bag of bones, but I thought I looked super hot.

It has been many years since I was at that show, but there are so many defining moments that I will never forget.  I remember Martin and Alan bashing away at sheets of steel and lead pipes.  I remember Dave Gahan twirling around with the mike stand in his white outfit (Dave grabbed his crotch and shook his junk at my friend Leslie that night, scarring her for life) .  I remember Martin Gore playing A GUITAR during the encore (Pleasure, Little Treasure).  It blew everyone’s fucking MIND that he played a guitar.

But the moment that stands out the most for me is when Martin sang The Things You Said.  I remember he was shirtless, wandering the stage in his bondage gear and softly singing about how someone did him wrong.  I knew all the words, and sang along, my eyes following him wherever he went.  Towards the end of the song, he stood at the edge of the stage, right in front of me and my friends, and looked me right in the eye while he sang a few lines.

I grabbed my friend Sophia’s arm and held on tight so I wouldn’t fall over.  When he moved away, Sophia and I jumped up and down in excitement, and she was screaming “He sang to you!” over and over.  I could have died right there and been the happiest corpse in the morgue.

DM is releasing a new album and touring next year.  Hopefully, I’ll get a good seat.  Even after all this time, I love me some Martin Gore.  I loved his floofy hair, his rat tails, and his wonky teeth.  I wish he hadn’t gotten his teeth fixed.  Who am I kidding?  He’s perfect no matter what.

Oh, Martin….*happy sigh*

John Taylor – Magical Mulleted Unicorn

Photo courtesy of Duran Duran’s facebook page

To me, John Taylor is the Magical Unicorn of Duran Duran.  I have been incredibly lucky to have met Nick and Simon several times (that’s another story), but I have only met John at fast-paced meet and greets.  For this reason, John Taylor is still the only guy in Duran Duran that gives me butterflies and makes me a nervous wreck.  In other words, the Magical Unicorn.

The first time I met JT was when he was touring with the Neurotic Boy Outsiders (Steve Jones, Duff McKagan, and Matt Sorum).  After the show, the band did a quick meet and greet in the backstage area for the fans that were waiting by the bus.  I think we waited for at least an hour, hoping to see our heroes.  Patience paid off and I got in line to meet him.

The closer I got to the table where the band was sitting, the more nervous I felt.  John was at the end of the table, and I could see him in the FLESH.  Before that moment, he seemed like a mannequin or a painting – he didn’t seem real.  For years I had watched him on TV and stared at photos in magazines, and imagined how it would be to see him for real.  Even watching him perform on stage was not real, it was a persona.  This was the first time I had seen him off stage, just being himself, as an actual human being.

I’m embarrassed to say that I sailed right past the rest of the band (I snubbed Steve Jones!  What is wrong with me?), and stood in front of John.  He looked up at me, smiled, and asked my name.   I noticed how his eyes crinkled up just like they did when he smiled in interviews.  I whispered my name and my throat tightened.  My eyes were burning, and I felt fat, salty tears rolling down my cheeks.  John looked alarmed as I started sobbing.  I managed to croak, “Thank you for the music!” as he handed me a signed flyer.

My ex (boyfriend at the time) was right behind me in line, and he apologized for my outburst.  Then he and John discussed the intricacies of graphic design (I heard the phrase “72 dpi”).  I wandered off and saw Bev, who ran the B5 message boards for John.  I had calmed down by then.  I revealed to her that I was the girl who was having flame wars on AOL with John’s then-wife, Amanda DeCadenet (or as I liked to call her, Amanda DeCuntenet…more on this another day…Courtney Love was also involved…).   Bev thought this was the funniest thing in the world, and she wanted John to know.

I told Bev about my embarrassing outburst but she dragged me over to John again, and told him that I was the infamous “NRhodie”, or as Amanda called me, “NRhodent”.   John laughed and said that he was enjoying the drama, and he thought it was hilarious how angry Amanda would get.  I should have realized then that this was a bad sign for their future together (thank goodness).  At least my final impression was that of an evil online troll instead of a crying fan, right?  I’m not sure which is worse.

I should add I’m not a total wife-of-Duran-hater, because I love me some Yasmin and Gela, okay?

The second time I got an autograph from JT was in 1998, when he was touring with the unfortunately named John Taylor Terroristen.  In his defense, this was pre-911.

I had brought the tour program from the 1983 charity concert that the band did with Aston Villa (John’s favorite football team).  John asked if he could keep it.  During this time, John was not in Duran Duran anymore, but he was very nostalgic and was collecting all sorts of memorabilia of the band’s history.  He would post about them on the B5 message boards.  I thought for a moment about giving it to John, but I really wanted it for my own collection, so I said no.

As the years passed, my love for Duran Duran waned, mostly because of horrible experiences I had with fans.  I ended up giving away most of my collection to my friends.  I regret letting some items go, but it is fun to look for them again.  I did end up keeping anything that was autographed, including that Aston Villa tour program.

Cut to the present day – John Taylor did a book signing in Austin last Friday.  I hadn’t been in the same room with JT since that day in 1998, because I had stopped going to see Duran Duran in concert before the reunion.  Writing this blog has rekindled some of those old fangirl feelings, so I knew I had to go to this book signing.  I definitely wanted to give John that tour program he wanted years ago.

I went to the signing by myself, because I didn’t know any other Duran Duran fans in Austin.  I made a few friends while standing in line, which is always nice.  I think I’ve learned to smell the crazy on the fans so I know who to avoid.  To be honest, I probably came across as the crazy one, because I was excited to have someone to talk to about my stupid Duran adventures.  My new friends and I giggled over the thought of meeting Mr. Taylor.

John was his usual charming self, and did some readings and a Q&A for the crowd, which consisted mainly of forty-something ladies.  The shrieking was pretty loud.  I felt like I was at a Thunder Down Under strip show (not that I frequent such establishments).  Someone actually shouted for John to take his shirt off.

Finally it was time to get in line and meet the man himself.  I barked like a drill sergeant at my new pals to get them in line before the other fans trampled us.  My old cutthroat Duranie instincts emerged.  The Magical Unicorn has this effect on me.

I started to have that same feeling I got when I first met him.  I thought I might pass out at one point, but I made it.  I had a purpose.  I wanted nothing more than to clear my karmic slate by giving JT that tour program he had asked for so many years before.

I approached the table.  John looked up.  His eyes crinkled.  I flashed back to that day but kept it together.  I handed over the tour program and said, “John, many years ago you signed this for me, and asked if you could keep it.  At the time, I said no, but now I would like you to have it.”  He looked surprised; I’m sure he thought I was going to ask for him to sign it.  John paged through the program and said delightedly, “Wow!  I don’t have this one! Thank you!”  I smiled and said, “Well, now you do.”  That was pretty much the extent of our discussion, but it made me feel good.

John will always be the Magical Unicorn to me, and he will always be a mullet I have loved.

Post Script:

Of course I scanned that motherfucker before I gave it to JT.  I’m not THAT crazy!

Here’s a link to my tumblr posts with the scan of every page.  The paper was bigger than my scanner but I think it came out all right.  There are 3 tumblr links due to limits on uploading more than 10 pictures per post:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

The day John Taylor gave me heat stroke

In 1985, Duran Duran splintered into two side projects. John and Andy Taylor worked with
Robert Palmer and the guys from Chic to create Power Station, a down-to-earth rock band.
Simon le Bon and Nick Rhodes went to Paris and spent a million dollars on their side project,
Arcadia. Guess which one made huge pots of money? (Hint: not the pretentious, arty-farty
album that was recorded in Paris.)

To be honest, I enjoyed the Arcadia album more than the Power Station because I am not really that much of a rocker. Power Station was “rawk and roll” with actual guitar solos and stuff!
Poor Andy Taylor. He was so repressed in Duran Duran, and finally he could let it out and be himself.

The fans worried that the band was going to break up forever. I was especially worried, because I hadn’t seen them play in concert yet, and it was my life’s goal to see them in person. That
summer, my mind was set at ease a bit, because Power Station was coming to Phoenix!

My friends and I were extremely excited and immediately began drawing up battle plans. The concert was at an outdoor venue, with no reserved seating. Even though seats were not reserved, we all decided we needed to camp out at the box office in case the show sold out. We were absolutely positive that the tickets would be gone in a few minutes.

Buying a concert ticket in the pre-Internet era was a huge pain in the ass. The ticket box office closest to my house was inside a Diamond’s department store in Phoenix. Every Saturday at 10 a.m., the box office would open up to sell tickets. This was the on-sale date for every new show in town. We weren’t sure if there was another event we’d be competing against to get a ticket, so camping was the best alternative.

Lisa and I met up with a few other people there to sleep for the night. We told our mothers that we were sleeping over at each other’s houses because there was no way they would approve of us sleeping in the parking lot of a mall like hobos.

We brought blankets, snacks, boom box radios, packs of cards, and other things that would
amuse us while we were waiting. Of course, we weren’t the only fans who had thought of doing this. We weren’t even the first in line! There were probably about thirty people there altogether. The group formed a quick bond through Duran Duran singalongs. We also looked at photos of the band that the other girls had brought with them, and we screamed bloody murder when we saw one that we liked. I can only imagine how annoying that was to anyone who happened to pass by. I can’t remember if we actually slept or not. I am sure we did, eventually.

Finally, the magic hour of 10 a.m. rolled around. Lisa and I linked arms and started praying for a ticket. The line seemed to move so slowly. Five whole minutes had passed, and we were still in line. I worried that it was going to be sold out. My senses were highly attuned to any signs that the tickets were gone, but people were streaming out of the store with smiles on their faces. In what seemed like eternity, but was probably just a few minutes, it was our turn. We bought our tickets and ran out of the store shrieking with joy.

I knew how Charlie Bucket felt. I had a golden ticket.

Sometimes the best part of going to a show is the planning and anticipation that goes on
beforehand. Since it was July, and school was out, Lisa and I had plenty of time to plan things
out. The show was at Compton Terrace, a large outdoor venue that was about 30 miles out of
town, on the Indian Reservation. We knew our friend Christine had a driver’s license so we were going to ride with her. There were about six of us going to the event together. None of us had ever been to a general admission outdoor show, so we weren’t sure what it would be like. The decision was made to get to the venue at 10 a.m. and wait all day for the show to start, so that we could be right up front.

Being naive teenagers, we had no idea what was in store for us on a sunny July day in Phoenix, with the predicted high temperature of 115 degrees Fahrenheit.

The six of us piled into Christine’s car. None of us had brought any water or food along. There was no way we’d be able to eat – we were going to see John Taylor in the flesh! If you want to see God, you have to fast.

We were the first people to arrive at Compton Terrace for the show. I realize this was not a huge surprise to anyone but the six of us. We were overjoyed that we were the only people smart enough to plan ahead so well. We were goddamn geniuses!

The six of us walked triumphantly to the gate, which was closed. Doors didn’t open until that
evening. We had imagined that we’d be let in and then we could roam the grounds freely, and that they would have water and food for sale. This was reality check number one. At this point, a sane person would have left and perhaps gone to lunch, returning later that night.

We were not sane. We were Duranies. We had carried all the gifts we wanted to throw on stage at the band – teddy bears, letters, flowers, etc. etc. I don’t think any of us had panties to throw to them; we weren’t those types of girls. We sat down in the dirt in front of the gate and examined each other’s gifts approvingly. It was going to be mind-blowing to actually interact with John Taylor! (At this point you should realize that none of us really gave a hoot about Andy Taylor, although I was always one of his greatest defenders. He just wasn’t as cute as John.)

By the afternoon, we were hungry, thirsty, and hot. It was probably around 3 p.m. when I staggered over to a corner and vomited, then passed out from heat exhaustion. Luckily by then there were actually some employees around who gave me some water. In fact, the employees were really concerned about our group, most of whom were about to suffer my fate. By the time the gates opened, we had all either fainted or thrown up. That did not dampen our determination to see John Taylor up close and personal.

As soon as the gates opened, everyone rushed to the stage and staked out their territory. It was like Pa Ingalls staking his claim for the Little House on the Prairie. We had claimed our turf, and nothing was going to keep us away. I knew from seeing Power Station perform on TV that John would be standing at stage right, so we all huddled in that section. As the hours passed, we noticed a huge crowd assembling behind us, and we were smug in the knowledge that we had the perfect viewing spot.

The opening act was Orchestral Manouevres in the Dark (or OMD, as they were better known). I was fully prepared to hate them for making me wait for John Taylor. Instead, we all became huge fans of their music and I developed a crush on Paul. (It was just a minor distraction from Duran Duran, who held the lock and key on my heart.) Their sound was very loud, though, and I did get a huge headache.

If you’re keeping track, I had a headache, a stomachache, dehydration and heat exhaustion. I think I was starting to hallucinate at this point, but there was no way I was leaving my perfect viewing spot to go to the medical tent.

Approximately one hundred years later, Power Station took the stage. Robert Palmer wasn’t able to tour with the band, so the replacement singer was Michael Des Barres, who is better known for his role as Murdoc on MacGyver. I’m glad he decided to become an actor later in his career, because his voice sounded like the cries of a wounded cat after a bad Halloween. The songs sounded terrible, and I was deeply disappointed.

Despite the shitty sound, the crowd began pressing in closer and closer to the band. I could look up and almost touch John Taylor (at this point when you read his name you should imagine glitter and flying hearts, and hear angels singing) himself, as he loomed over me. I watched in fascination as his fingers played the bass, and imagined those fingers touching me. It almost made me forget how terrible the music was.

Soon enough the crush of the crowd was becoming very painful. I was having trouble breathing and my knees were buckling. John Taylor noticed the way everyone was pushing and asked the crowd to take “four steps back” so that the people up front could breathe. As soon as this happened, I suddenly felt myself being sucked into the crowd by some law of physics, and ended up much further back. I had also lost my friends.

Just then, the band launched into “The Reflex”. I burst into tears. How dare they play this song without any keyboards — it’s as if Nick Rhodes had never been born! I made my way to the back of the crowd and sat down in the grass, crying hysterically. This is how I spent the rest of the concert.

Eventually we all found each other in the parking lot and had a somber drive home. Each of us had our own personal nightmare: fainting and being carried to the medical tent and missing the show, losing everyone in the crowd and spending the night looking for them, getting stepped on by strangers, throwing up on the stage barrier, and so on.

Looking back, it was one of the best nights of my life. I had seen John Taylor (cue glitter, flying hearts, and angels) live and in person!

The day I was kicked out of the mall

The clip above showcases the mall where I spent most of my youth.  Metro Center Mall – yes that’s where they filmed the mall scenes for the Bill and Ted movies!  Before I got a job in the mall, I spent many hours loitering there.  I got a two-dollar-a-week allowance and I could only spend it all in one place!

If you think that Bieber and One Direction fans are annoying online, imagine how it would be if they were inescapable while you were trying to do your Christmas shopping.  Yes, Duranies roamed the mall like brainless zombies…wandering from one end to the other in search of Duran Duran lookalikes.

There was always at least one boy at the mall who did his best to look like John Taylor or Simon leBon.  (No one ever tried to look like the other guys – isn’t that weird?) My friends and I would find one and trail him around the mall from store to store, giggling and elbowing each other.  I am sure he enjoyed the attention.  Why else would he dress up like that, right?  (We were totally creepy.)

The best store at the mall was called The Merchant.  They sold posters, tee shirts, and photos of your favorite bands.  They would also turn your photos into buttons (badges) that you could wear on your jacket.

If you didn’t have at least 20 badges on your person at all times, you had failed as a Duranie.  I had hundreds of them that I put on a rotation schedule.  I bought sets of badges, as shown above, but the coolest ones were the ones I had made from magazine photos or photos I bought at The Merchant.

Yes, it’s pretty sad, but we didn’t have tumblr, so we had to actually buy pictures.  I was my own walking tumblr page if you think about it.

The Merchant had huge photo books out on their counters, and we fans would page through them and plan our future purchases.  We would giggle, and sigh, and squeal as we discovered a photo we hadn’t seen before.

One day, when I was feeling particularly hopped-up on Nick Rhodes obsession, my friends and I headed to The Merchant once again.  I made a beeline to the photo albums and feverishly thumbed through to the new photos.

I saw some concert photos that actually showed Nick’s FLESH.  This man was usually covered up from head to toe.  He even wore hoods and scarves to cover his face.  Seeing his actual ARMS and CLAVICLE was like a glimpse into the gates of heaven.  I reacted like a Victorian gentleman who glimpsed a shapely ankle.

From deep within me came a roar of delight…a scream so raw I tore my throat up.  I screamed as if Freddy Krueger had just appeared before me.  It was better than feeling myself up in the store, right?  (Probably not)

The next thing I knew, security was escorting me out of the mall.  I had taken the bus there, so they walked me out to the bus stop.  I was probably banned from The Merchant but the staff turnover was so high, it was never really enforced.

I didn’t even get to buy the picture!  It would have taken my entire allowance, but it would have been worth it.

That time I crashed my car because of Scritti Politti

The year was 1985.  I had just gotten my driver’s license and was terrorizing the streets of Phoenix, Arizona in my beige Dodge Omni.  (My dad always bought the most Al Bundy-esque cars…)

Yes, the Dodge Omni was ugly.  No, it was not the most reliable car I would ever drive.  Yes, it had a cassette tape deck.  That was all I cared about.  My cassette collection was impeccable. If a band was featured in Star Hits magazine or on MTV, I most likely had their cassette.  I joined the Columbia House record and tape club, and then quit, and then rejoined, so I could keep getting 12 records or cassettes for A PENNY.

However, sometimes a band was so important, I had to actually go to the record store and buy it on the release date.  Scritti Politti was one of these bands.  I had a very dangerous crush on the singer, Green Gartside.  (Now that I think about it, he kind of looked like Nick Rhodes, who was my scary obsession in the 80’s.)

My parents had gone out of town to Las Vegas (some of you may remember my dad’s gambling problems, as mentioned in my earlier post about the the time I went to Las Vegas to see Barry Manilow with my parents). Since I was the oldest child, it was my responsbility to be a grown up and so I was allowed to drive the car in case of an emergency.

What could be more of an emergency than buying a brand new cassette of the new Scritti Politti record?  Plus, the record store was only a couple of miles away, I rationalized to myself.

I headed to Zia Records, where all of the clerks would give you a hairy eyeball if you bought disposable 80’s pop, such as Scritti Politti.  It was very much a “John Cusack in High Fidelity” atmosphere.  At sixteen years old, I really didn’t care what a bunch of old hairy dudes thought of my dodgy record-buying habits.

Shiny new cassette in hand, I headed back to my car and ripped the wrapper off.  I popped the cassette in and listened through the car’s tinny speakers.  The sound of Green Gartside’s voice was like a balm for my soul.  He sounded like he had been filled with helium.  He sounded like the aural equivalent of spun sugar, and I was bursting with joy.  I sat in the parking lot and listened to the first song, and then I decided to head home.

You know those ads that say “Don’t text and drive”?  Well, I should have been told not to listen to music and drive.  I was so absorbed in what I was listening to, I didn’t realize that the car in front of me had stopped.  This car was driven by a little old lady and she had stopped in the middle of the road for NO REASON.  There was no light, no stop sign, nothing.

BANG!  I rear ended her car with the old Dodge Omni.  I didn’t have my seat belt on (Wear your seat belts, kids) and my chin slammed against the steering wheel.

I was freaking out because I had only gotten my license a few weeks earlier, and now I already was going to get a ticket.  The car was not too bad, at least, but I knew my parents were going to be so disappointed and angry.  I started crying, and I threw the door open to take a look at the situation.

The old lady was already out of her car.  As soon as she saw me, she pointed at me and started screaming.  I looked around.  She told me to look in the mirror.  I sat in the driver’s seat and looked in the visor’s mirror, and there was blood dripping down my chin.  It didn’t hurt, probably because I was in shock.

I WAS WEARING MY “FEED THE WORLD” LIVE AID SWEATSHIRT AND THERE WAS BLOOD ON IT.  NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

Then I realized I was bleeding because my teeth had cut through my chin and punched a big old hole in it.  Hooray!

The police came and gave me a ticket.  I tried to act brave, but then the cop said they were going to bring the paramedics and that I should go to the hospital.  They asked me for my parent’s phone number to get medical consent.

This is when I started crying really hard, because I didn’t have a number for them.  They were in Vegas, and this was WAY before cell phones were invented.  I told the cop what was going on and he told me that he couldn’t leave until he knew I had medical attention.  I told him maybe we could go to my friend’s house, because her mother would be at home.

I remember that I was shaking, freaking out, and bawling as I headed to my friend Sue’s house, which was just down the block.  Her parents were home because they weren’t degenerate gamblers that were enslaved to the one-armed bandit.  (Thank God this was before Indian casinos, because we would probably have been homeless.)  The cop told Sue’s mom what happened, and she hugged me, cleaned me up,  and took me to the emergency room.  She told the docs that she was my aunt so I could get stitches.  She also gave me a ride home afterward, and got my car back to me the next day.  Sue’s mom was the best.

I had stitches that looked like giant black hairs growing out of my chin like an old Russian lady, which is just what you want in your junior year of high school.

I decided that I wanted Green to send me a letter or a card or something.  I had no idea how to reach him.  (Remember, no Google back then)

Who could help me?  Oh yeah, Star Hits magazine!  I should write to Jackie and ask her!  And I did.  And it got PRINTED!  I was printed in Star Hits!  My first publishing credit…under an alias…which is how I prefer to live my life.

I never heard back from Green.  Maybe he will see this post and send me a note…