Tag Archives: robert smith

What I did last summer (Martin Gore – twice! and Fat Bob)

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Last summer, everyone who was involved in writing this blog post met up in Chicago to see (worship at) a Depeche Mode show. The three of us (me, H and K) have all been internet pals for a long time but we’d never all been in the same city at the same time, and we are all huge Depeche fans. We had lots of adventures in Chicago, but the main event was seeing Depeche Mode, and Martin Gore, our favorite.

I’m an extremely anxious person and so I wanted to leave really early on the day of the show. The venue wasn’t that far away, but I get nervous. I was literally shitting bricks so finally H agreed to head towards the show. It turned out there was horrendous traffic getting into the venue, so we barely made it in time. All three of us had panic attacks in the car by that time.

I have to say that the venue we went to was one of the most poorly planned venues I have ever seen in my life. We ended up parking in VIP and not paying for it (shhhhh it’s our secret),and running to our seats just before Depeche Mode hit the stage.

Finally, we were in our seats and ready to go. All of us had our anxiety amped up to maximum levels and so it was inevitable that we all had emotional breakdowns during the concert. Martin Gore, sensitive and elfin as ever, stepped into the spotlight in his silver suit to croon Shake the Disease, and our collective knees buckled. We all held each other up while we sobbed our hearts out. I am not kidding. We were crying like babies. When people say, “I cried like a baby,” they may not mean it, but I totally mean it.

For the rest of the night, we each took turns bawling our eyes out over Depeche Mode, especially when Martin was singing. They had two set lists on that tour, and I was praying he’d sing But Not Tonight, but it wasn’t meant to be. Still, the show was incredible and we all agreed it was better than we had hoped for. There was a magic in the air that could never be recaptured. Thanks, anxiety!

Tickets for Austin City Limits (ACL) were going on sale a few weeks later. Depeche Mode and The Cure were both playing, so I knew I had to go, no matter what, and my friend H was coming with me. Martin Gore and Fat Bob (Robert Smith) are two icons from my holy trinity of goth (Morrissey is the third, if you were curious), so It was going to be insanely great.

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ACL had it set up so that Depeche Mode played on Friday night, and The Cure played on Saturday night. This was basically a dream come true for me. I could not believe I was going to see two of my favorite bands in one weekend, with one of my best friends!

My friend didn’t want to spend all day at ACL, and I agreed, because it was hot as balls and also because there are so many other fun things to do in Austin. We went to Book People, and gasped loudly when we spotted an entire magazine dedicated to Depeche Mode. Yes, I bought it and we squealed over it like teenagers. Whatever, don’t judge me!

We went to ACL that evening, and  I parked at my office, which was two miles away, and those two miles seem pretty far in the hot weather. We were already wilting.

We hardly got to see any bands besides the headliners, because we had to get a decent spot in the crowd. We went on the second weekend of the festival. The first weekend had temperatures in the 70’s, absolutely perfect weather. The second weekend predicted rainstorms, so we had rain ponchos.

Depeche Mode’s show is so fun when you’re in a big, excited, festival crowd. I love hearing everyone singing along to every song. I didn’t cry as much this time, probably because I wasn’t as anxious as I had been in Chicago, but when Martin sang But Not Tonight, I lost it. I think it was raining by then too, so when he sang, “Oh God, it’s raining, but I’m not complaining,” every cell in my body exploded with joy. I tried to sing along but I couldn’t, because I was crying too much. I wasn’t sobbing, just quietly letting tears run down my face while I mouthed the words. When the song ended, I was kind of embarrassed, until a man standing nearby gently patted me on the shoulder and told me that was a beautiful moment. I choked up just writing about that moment.

H and I had a great time laughing at Dave’s crazy dancing. He grabbed his dick a lot, as usual. I remember shouting, “Look at that chicken leg!” during one particularly lecherous grope. Dave, never change.

When the concert was over, we walked the two miles to the car in the rain. We had our ponchos on, but honestly, they don’t help much. You still get wet and then also feel clammy. By the time we got to the car, we were exhausted and hungry. We stopped at Kerbey Lane for some late night grub and I felt (and looked) like I had been run over by a truck. That was only day one!

The next day, we woke up and still felt terrible so we planned to go even later than we did the day before. We ended up seeing the Arctic Monkeys, but had to leave early to get a good place to see the Cure.

We were really excited to worship at the altar of Fat Bob (affectionately nicknamed by Siouxsie, so we aren’t body shaming, okay?). I’ve been listening to the Cure since Let’s Go to Bed. I remember scoffing at the people who discovered the band when The Head on the Door came out. I’m still a terrible music snob, sorry. (not sorry)

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I knew it was supposed to rain again that night, and as promised, the deluge began about halfway through the show. I didn’t have a rain poncho and I forgot my umbrella, so we huddled under H’s umbrella. Seeing The Cure play One Hundred Years in a heavy rainstorm through a sea of umbrellas was probably the ultimate experience I could have as a Cure fan. I will never ever forget that.

I’d seen The Cure play at Coachella in 2010, so I knew they were notorious for breaking curfews and playing for hours and hours. They played on, covering their equipment with tarps, makeup smearing in the rain. Sadly, due to the storm, they were cut off. You could tell that Robert did not want to leave the stage, as he reluctantly shrugged and waved goodbye.

We trudged out of Zilker Park, and got lost trying to get to the car. I think we walked an extra mile out of the way. I was soaked to the bone. When we got home, we bundled up and I had the chills. The next day, I was miserable, the park was flooded, and ACL was canceled due to the fact that we had over a foot of rain.

The only band we really wanted to see on Sunday was Franz Ferdinand. They were playing a secret show at a club downtown. I felt so awful that we didn’t get in line early enough. I knew we weren’t going to get in, but after three hours, we ended up sneaking in only to be escorted out seconds later. We saw the band walk into the club, and I touched Bob on the arm as he went by. Oh, the humanity!

To salve our disappointment, we went to dinner and got some Amy’s Ice Cream. I felt terrible because I’d been a whiny bitch all the time we were in line. I seriously felt so sick, though.

After I dropped H off at the airport the next day, I went home and passed out. I ended up calling in sick the whole week, because I had a bad upper respiratory infection. They thought maybe it was pneumonia or pertussis, but I dodged those bullets, thank goodness.

I’m not sure I will ever go to ACL again. I could just livestream it all on the web, and see more bands than we saw. If it wasn’t for Depeche Mode and The Cure, I would have never gone in the first place. I guess I’ll go back to ACL for a Smiths reunion…haha! As if…

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The five stages of Morrissey fandom

I have spent the last few days listening to quite a lot of Morrissey and The Smiths. Seeing as how this week marks the 25th anniversary of the release of one of the greatest albums of all time, The Queen is Dead, I felt I should write about my love for Morrissey.

I have been a Morrissey fan ever since I met my first boyfriend. I would go over to his house and we’d sit in his bedroom and listen to the first Smiths album, and sometimes we’d cry together. (Yes, he turned out to be gay and left me for a boy.) He educated me about a lot of amazing music, but I really fell in love with Morrissey and The Smiths.

Morrissey spent a lot of time alone reading books, just like I did. We both thought Oscar Wilde was a genius, and we both thought we were unloveable. I wear black on the outside, because black is how I feel on the inside. If I had ever thought of getting a tattoo at age 17, I am pretty sure it would have said that. (I am glad I never got this tattoo though)  Things change as you get older…that being said, here is my interpretation of the Five Stages of Morrissey fandom.

1.  Romanticism

Keats and Yeats are on your side…

When you first encounter Morrissey, you’re a teenager (if you’re lucky).  Teenagers feel things so much more deeply than anyone else in the world.  I would hear Morrissey’s songs and they would speak to me in such powerful ways.  I was an outsider and a loner, and so was he.  It was terribly romantic to picture him as a Byronic figure, standing on the windswept moors, with a tear running down his cheek.  Only he understood the pain of living.  Only he could rescue me from that pain.

2. Wit

Morrissey is known for making good sound bites.  He has often gotten himself into trouble for saying things that have been misconstrued.  Back in the 80’s, he gave a good quip.  I remember that he said things like “Long hair is an unpardonable offense which should be punishable by death.” (Later, I discovered this photo of him as a lad with very long hair…haha!) He also loved to put down other pop stars of the time.  He accused Robert Smith of The Cure of being a “whingebag”.  Robert Smith replied by saying that, “If Morrissey says not to eat meat, then I’ll eat meat; that’s how much I hate Morrissey.”  (Not that Robert Smith is an angel – I  remember that he said he wanted to see George Michael hung by the neck – I can’t find the exact quote but you get the idea.)

But you lose, because Wilde is on mine….sugar…

During this phase, the young Morrissey fan will educate him or herself by reading loads and loads of Oscar Wilde, Byron, Shelley, Keats, etc. etc.  Every word that passes the lips of a Morrissey fan in this stage is either a quote, an epigram, or a witticism of their own invention.  This becomes very tedious for their friends, if they should happen to have any.

This phase ends when the fan reads A Taste of Honey by Shelagh Delaney, and ends up highlighting every line that ended up in a Morrissey song.  Finding out that Morrissey has plagiarized and taken on loan creates an overwhelming sense of disillusionment, which is immediately internalized and forgotten so that you can continue to listen to Morrissey and not feel like the world is crashing around you.

3.  Vegetarianism

Steven, you don’t eat meat…

I personally have never gone through this phase, because when it comes to food I am unable to deny myself.  Well, I do eat a lot less meat than I used to, but that’s just out of necessity due to not having any money.  Also, there are all sorts of nasty diseases caused by toxic meat, and also I happened to read Fast Food Nation, which is The Jungle of the 21st Century.  If you don’t know what The Jungle is,  click here.

However, the young Morrissey fan who first hears Meat is Murder may become inclined to eschew meat, leather, dairy, eggs, and all of those things that are made from animals.  The Morrissey acolyte will also make sure to let everyone within hearing know that they are eating the decayed flesh of an animal that once had a face, or some such similar lecture.  This phase will either continue until the person becomes a vegan, or it will end once their family cooks up a barbecue.

I did see Morrissey at Coachella in 2009, and he could smell the barbecued meat coming from a nearby food vendor.  He left the stage for a moment, declaring, “I smell burning flesh…I hope to God it’s human.”

4.  Death Wish

It’s inevitable.  If you are listening to Morrissey, eventually your thoughts will dwell upon your eternal slumber.  For someone that has written so many songs about suicide, Morrissey sure does persist in staying alive.  Still, there is nothing like listening to endless litanies about how things would be so much better if you were dead.  I used to listen to Asleep before I went to sleep, which is a song about killing yourself and/or dying in your sleep.  NITEY NITE!  SWEET DREAMS!  Yes, I had issues.  (Still do)  It’s terribly romantic to think of your funeral, and all of the people who would be there in tears, wishing they had been nicer to you while you were alive.  (Ah, youth!)  This is the phase in which I should have gotten that tattoo I mentioned earlier.

5.  Nostalgia

Once you’re grown up, and you’ve become a clever swine, Morrissey might lose some of his allure.  The golden god may tarnish a bit and you might forget about him altogether.  If you forget about Morrissey, I hope you enjoy your corporate sycophantic life, because you are dead inside.  As long as you have a little affection for the Mozzer, you will continue to question reality.  When you’re listening to Morrissey and The Smiths during this phase, you will think back on all of those nights you spent crying into your cat’s fur and smile fondly.  What fools we all were in those days, ah what fun to write your suicide note in longhand while tears splashed the page!  Is it weird to feel nostalgia for crippling depression?  I am not sure.  All I can say is that back in the late 80’s, Morrissey already knew how we were going to feel about him in the future, so he wrote a song about it.

Listen below to Rubber Ring, and remember that Morrissey is in the corner of your room, holding a torch.

When you’re dancing and laughing, and finally living, hear my voice in your head and think of me kindly…do you love me like you used to?