It was a terrible year to be at Stonehenge for the Summer Solstice Festival, but there were still over 40,000 people partying all over the mound, climbing, screaming, singing, dancing, and chanting. It was raining that English summer country rain, the kind that goes on non-stop for days and comes at you in a fine mist from every direction and soaksnot just through everything you are wearing but all the way through you as well and chills you to the marrow. It was 4am. There were (at least) three longer, hard, hours until sunrise and any hope of getting warm or dry again. We were sitting on dirty black plastic bin liners, huddled up together, shivering, backs up against the stones, under a leaky, makeshift shelter made of an old umbrella and some scrap sheets of plastic we managed to find somewhere. It wasn’t helping much. We had just managed to get here an hour ago. I had been on a plane all night the night before. I was exhausted before we even got here. This year, or me, so far, it wasn’t exactly boatloads of fun. I wasn’t sure about Simon
“Shhhhhhh…” Simon said it so softly I almost couldn’t hear him at first, over all the chaos.
“Be very still… and quiet”
He pointed down at the ground, near to his right leg, at a quiet little spot (just about the only one, anywhere) where there happened to be no plastic covering the earth. There was a hole in the ground no more than an inch or two in diameter, right up against the base of the massive stone. Poking its head out the top was a tiny grey creature with pointy nose and bright grey eyes, come to join us in our plastic womb (or tomb) just barely big enough for the two (no, make that the three!) of us
“What is it?”
“I don’t even know what that is.”
“It’s kind of like a shrew. Just think of it as a sort off a fat, fancy, mouse”
“ Great. Now I’m picturing it in a top hat, dickey with a bow tie and a monocle”
It didn’t seem frightened at all. Only curious as to what was all the commotion and who we were and just exactly what the heck was going on around here at this hour. I think if we had wanted to, we could have reached out with one finger and stroked it on the head.
“It’s only mid –June, it can’t be more than a month or two old. So it’s never seen a single person in its entire life. Look, it doesn’t know enough to even be afraid of us. It’s never even seen one normal human being, and now there are 40.000 lunatics taken over its entire world.”
“I think I know how it feels; I’ve had a few days like that”
“Can you just imagine? You’re just going along, doing your own little vole thing, every single day, minding your business and this place is completely deserted.”
“And one day, you just wake up, and stick your nose out, and see …this?”
We now we are laughing out loud now, we are all warm and lit up from the inside, with all that special bliss that envelopes you once you understand the universes gave you the privilege of sharing with you firsthand, one of their millions of wonderful, crazy, miniscule, everyday miracles happening all around you all the time that you almost never fortunate enough to notice, much less enjoy, or appreciate.
Once in a great while, you just get to “ to have a larrff” with the Mighty Forces of our Grand Universe , and join in on one of the Great Cosmic Jokes, even if it’s just for a moment or two, even if it’s just one with big grey eyes and pointy snoot, that’s only two inches long.
Our little friend spent all night with us. Every now and then he would scuttle out and take a few steps and a bit of a sniff, safe under our shelter, making the occasional trip back down below to do whatever it is that a busy baby vole must do to meet his vole responsibilities, and to fill his busy little vole day . I don’t know how long the average vole lives (but I hope it’s a long, long time.) I think of him sometimes when I think of Stonehenge, or Simon or I think I just heard the Universe give a quiet little giggle. And I wish I could see my little friend someday, so I could ask him… “Hey little buddy… Did you ever make it to the party again? “
One. NEVER GO TO A HEART CONCERT. What a disappointment! They are the biggest rip off in rock and roll (excusing Pete Dougherty but one would have to consider that mess music to add him.)
They sounded pretty good the whopping huge entire 68 minutes they actually spent on stage (which apparently made up their entire show) but it was the equivalent of sticking twenty quarters in the All Heart All Hits jukebox at some terrible 8os themed party you couldn’t find any way to get out of attending short of faking your own death with none of the thrills. Faking your own death would have been more fun and considerably less expensive .
For a rock and roll band to charge top dollar only to spend minutes over an hour onstage performing nothing but regurgitated radio hits most of which even the band themselves has said publicly” they hate and even they can’t stand to hear again” is an absolute outrage and an insult to their fans, a slap in the face to the people who have paid their paychecks all these years and loved and admired them, the public and their fans.
Or at least the ones old enough, sober enough, and who have been around long enough to see a band who actually cared about their audience, enjoyed performing and actually did it with great enthusiasm, if not brilliance and for a length of time in which the audience actually got their money’s worth.
They Rocked, don’t get me wrong Nancy looked and sounded great, but Ann was wearing such a huge wig I couldn’t even see her face the entire show and such monster six inch boots it could have been Gene Simmons under there for all I know lol The worst part is that their act hasn’t changed a bit since I first saw them in 1978 and they are women in their 60s now. If that’s your excuse for robbing you fans of a show worth seeing why don’t you stop pretending to be 25, it’s kind of pathetic, take off the high heels, and gigantic heavy wigs, put some pancake on those wrinkles instead and sit down in a rocking chair something and give us at least a full one and a half to two hours BEFORE encores, of your stunning voices, beautiful music and gorgeous guitars. Then, if you like, indulge yourself and cash in on the popularity of someone else with a bunch of songs by Led Zep, a band we all love. I hate to break to you, no matter how much you love them too you will never BE them and the only person I enjoy hearing play Led Zep songs is THEM. You know, the REAL Led Zep.
if all you really want to do is show up, do the bare minimum you can possibly get away with take the money and run, after all, I hear it’s the latest thing with all the old washed up bands of the 70s and 80s these days, the least you could do is hire a special effects company that wasn’t my 7th grade prom committee and hire a decent warm up band, so no one would waste their time and money thinking they were going to have a great evening out just to get on an hour of reheated you and a couple of led zep covers, which actually seemed like the only time you were having a good time all night. Did it ever occur to you that if your own show and playing your own music bores YOU, some changes might be in order? lol
If you are too tired or too lazy to stay on stage more than an hour maybe the time has come for you to become a warm-up band as a nostalgia act for a young hot hungry band with some potential just getting started in the business who actually cares . Or someone worth paying top dollar for like the gig that you played the next with a kick ass, vital, alive, exciting in your face band that always gives you a big bang for your buck and truly leaves you dazed and confused when they rock and roll, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.
I believe you might even have something in common, and could learn thing or two touring with them as a warm up act since they are almost your age. So don’t you dare give us the excuse it’s okay because if you can manage to totter out on to the stage and do a half -assed job onto we should throw money at you and give you a standing ovation. There is no heart left in this band.
You made several disparaging remarks about the record company execs trying to control you and screwing up your band ( go ahead, blame ‘the suits’ for ruining rock and roll and your profits just like every other band going broke) but I’m warning you, before it too late, the main people ruining your career is you. And it wasn’t just this show evidently, from what I’ve learned, it’s always like that. What a shame. The were heroes to many women of my generation. They were Unique. N0w they are just the same tired old greedy rock and roll has- been act. What a disappointment.
TWO. Don’t go to Wolf Trap in VA by public transport unless you really live close to Wolf Trap.
The shuttle from the Metro is great. That is, if you don’t make the mistake of going the weekend the Silver line opened like I did. Because the Silver line on the Metro goes closer to Wolf Trap all the unpleasant, burly, rude , typical for the Metro employees have decided that shuttles actually GOES from the Silver line and not the Orange line as it always have.
I found this out the hard way, by going to the place on the Orange line where they were barricading the doors to where you get on the shuttle and snarling as they sent me back several stops to switch to the Silver line. When I got to the end of the Silver line I was told the Orange line guys had no idea what they talking about and that the bus would today and in perpetuity leave from the Orange line through the now locked doors I had been at a half hour earlier and I would have to take the matter with the lovely surly snarling gentleman who possessed the key. Thus doubling he cost of my trip.
The Wolf Trap Shuttle is really a good deal for five bucks it takes you straight from the ORANGE LINE pick-up to the show and back but even with the Heart show ending at nine twenty we dint get to the subway until after 10: 15 so almost anywhere you have to go which isn’t within minutes once you get on the subway odds are good you will get stuck halfway home because all the public transport will have stopped after a show of any reasonable length and you have to take expensive cab ride home.That is if there happens to be one where you are at when the last bus or train has come and gone.
I was lucky. There is a cab stand at the Shady Grove metro but it is still a thirty dollar ride home. I expected as much and had budgeted for it and had it been a better show I would not have gotten home infuriated at an even further waste of my money thanks to Hearts greed and indifference and the crappy public transport in the Dc area.
THIRD AND MOST IMPORTANT
Do not go on facebook when you plan on going somewhere new to get to a gig by public transport for numerous and excellent reasons.
Your idiot friends will not shut up so you can get offline until you are almost late for the bus you really need to take to be sure you actually get some place new you have never been before on time lol. This could result in the following ripple effect.
Instead of having time to get gorgeous and do your hair and make- up and find a fabulous outfit you will say What the hell, I’m just going to a gig by myself, I’m not even trying to go backstage who cares what I look like? And you will throw on the closest pair of sweatpants and a huge very dated band tee shirt from 1992 and race out of your house, forgetting your camera. WHEN you go back to get your camera you will get back to the bus stop right after your bus just left. When you go back to get your camera, your may be stupid enough not to take extra batteries, but since you have plenty of time now having missed the important bus you really needed to be on, now you can enjoy the momentary joy of smug satisfaction for remembering in enough time to go back to your house and get six extra fully charged batteries and get back to the bus stop. Where you can chew your newly manicured fingers down to bloody stubs because now, even though it only 3:30 you are afraid you are going to be horribly late. Which will have been for nothing because though the Neanderthals that manage the subway screwed you over you still go there just in time to wolf down a nine dollar hot dog and a 15 dollar frozen strawberry daiquiri before the show starts.
HOWEVER because of this when you DO get recognized on the WT shuttle as the writer of the raucous rock and roll memoir Even Rock and Roll has Fairy Tales and are they discover you are there to review the gig and the entire bus starts talking about it you will learn a very valuable lesson the very hard way. YOU ARE ALWAYS DOING PUBLICITY. Do not EVER leave the house even if it is on fire LOOKING LIKE THAT AGAIN! LOL
Four. Don’t blow this part
When you pay sixty plus bucks to sit in the third row of a gig by yourself that you really didn’t care about enough about to spend thirty five bucks each to pay for a bunch of people to sit on the lawn where you might actually have had a good time DESPITE the inferior quality of the entertainment in order to concentrate on learning to use your camera better and improve your gig pic skills by taking thousands of pictures WHEN you almost forget your camera and go back for it, or MAYBE when you go back second time to get fresh batteries you might want to CHECK AND SEE if the photo card is still in the camera or is in the computer, sitting at home. Guess where mine was? lol
Five. My phone, though actually charged AND working through some sort of miracle of divine intervention, takes really shitty pictures
Six. I am officially TOO OLD to sit on the third row on a stadium gig without earplugs or going deaf. excuse me, what was that you said?
Seven . Wolf Trap gives away free ear plugs. Just ask the Ushers
The Ramones were the first American band I fell in love with.
I had just recently discovered rock and roll, I was always a quirky kid, a classic movie fan and Broadway musical snob I would rather watch Fred Astaire or dance in a show than go to the mall and listen to “popular music” But then a girl I met in my first (and pretty much only) year of high school who had been living in England turned me on to the Kinks, Bowie, Mott the Hoople , Sweet, T-rex then MY BAND forevermore early Queen. I was a glam fan, no doubt about it. They were theatrical enough to thrill the theatre buff in me and raw and raucous enough for my raging teenage hormones. We took great pride in never shopping at Waxie Maxies. We only went to the import store to buy the one record a week we could afford with our allowance. When the whole punk thing started in England we just weren’t feeling it. It didn’t strike a chord with us little white girls living in the suburbs of Nowheresville USA. Where were the suits and the platform boots? Oh dear oh my o my-o my-o . We didn’t want to start a riot or cut ourselves with broken glass. We were well fed and “comfortable” and cringed at anarchy and blood and didnt want to tear up our clothes, they were cute and we didn’t have much money for those either and we sure as hell didn’t want to be sticking safety pins through our bubble gum pink glossed lips. But then, there were the Runaways and the Ramones.
They looked like us and the guys we went to school with, they wore the kind of clothes we could afford, their haircuts looked like ours, as if they had cut it themselves because they couldn’t afford to go to the salon because they would rather buy records, concerts tickets , and party.
They sang about stuff we could relate to, they were cartoon characters of us, bigger and brighter and more crazy and colorful than we could ever be but they felt like next door neighbors and best friends. They dreamed the stuff we dreamed and then went out and did it! We didn’t have any money when they came to Warner Theatre together to buy tickets but we snuck in the theater at 5pm and saw The Ramones do their sound check. When security found us they tried to throw us out but the band told them to let us stay. So we got to see the show after all! After the show Joan Jett was standing backstage cigarette in one hand, Jack Daniels bottle in another. I said to her “So is it true you are from Rockville? So am I.” She threw one arm over my shoulder like we were the best of friends and said” Yeah I’m from Rockville doesn’t it SUCK? I said “Yah it does” and she took a swig and said laughed” It sucks SO bad” and she passed me her bottle of jack to have a big swig. I had never had it before and it was all I could do not to choke as I sucked it down but I didn’t want to let Joan down. Cause she could have been me, or be me someday. The Ramones were the guys who showed up to play a gig at your house when your parents were out of town, the guys you might find in your garage practicing until the neighbors called the cops .
They weren’t “grown-ups “or rock gods or guys twice our age in sequins and spandex or lame. They were what they were. They were us.
As it’s always been said “They were real. You always knew what time of day it was with the Ramones” Who’s going to tell us now? Or the kids today? Lady Ga Ga? Britany Spears? Justin Beiber? Some may say our time has come and gone and it ain’t ever coming back. But as long as the last one of us is still here, although we are all going faster and faster and there are less of us all the time our time will always be now, as long as we always remember them. And even more important we remember us. We are still here. Just older and wiser, and it hurts to head bang all night and we may make that noise our dad used to make when we have to stand up to fast when we get out of a comfy recliner. Never forget that kid isn’t who you used to be. It’s still and will always be the REAL you. Before the world, and your parents, and your school, and your job and your Dr. told you who you were supposed to be.
“It wasn’t just music in The Ramones: it was an idea. It was bringing back a whole feel that was missing in rock music – it was a whole push outwards to say something new and different. Originally it was just an artistic type of thing; finally I felt it was something that was good enough for everybody.” – Tommy Ramone, 1978
Goodbye Tommy. We miss you all. Long live The Ramones! Gabba Gabba Hey!
I was partying with Ac/Dc in Baltimore about two weeks before poor Bon died and he looked just awful then. So it was no big surprise to me, but a tragedy none the less. They had a case of Jack Daniels and there was only about 20 of us hanging out in the suite at the Hilton downtown but they had managed to smash every soda machine on every floor to get” free” mixers for the all that booze.
As the party broke up around 11 am so they could go get on the bus I said ” Y’all are gonna get in some big trouble for those destroyed soda machine you know. the Hilton don’t dick around when it comes to this sort of foolishness”
Bon stood there knee-deep in pile of smashed and half full crushed soda cans and empty Jack Daniels bottles that literally covered almost every inch of the ruined carpet and he said wide-eyed and with complete innocence ” How will they know it was us? ”
RIP You Lovely Madman! You are sorely missed!
” 9th July 1946, Born on this day in Forfar, Scotland, Bon Scott (Ronald Belford Scott), singer with AC/DC from 1974 until his death in 1980. He was brought up in Kirriemuir before moving to Melbourne, Australia, with his family in 1952 at the age of six. Having arrived from ‘Bonnie Scotland’, he was dubbed ‘Bon’, and the nickname stuck. After a night of heavy drinking, Scott was found dead in the backseat of a friend’s car in South London on 19th February 1980, the cause of death being subsequently listed as ’acute alcohol poisoning .” More on Bon http://www.thisdayinmusic.com/pages/bon_scott
CHAPTER ONE: THE FLIGHT OF THE FAIRY
By the time the sun started to rise over the Great Lakes I had almost managed to convince myself that maybe I wasn’t crazy after all. Stressed? Sure. Way too old for this nonsense? Okay, you got me there! Thirty-eight was way too old and it was way too late to run away from home, so that was a very good possibility. Exhausted? No, not just yet, still a bit too soon and too early in the trip. I was bound to get that way at some point, but I would worry about that when it happened. At the moment, I was having fun. That was the important thing. The most fun I had had in years.
The Shiny Happy Sherry Fairy takes flight again! And I loved every moment of it.
The closer I got to my destination, the more convinced I was that this was the right choice. With every mile I left behind me, I could feel myself becoming more exhilarated. There was no mistaking it! Magic was in the air. Or maybe it was out there waiting just for me, around the next corner, all this time. Okay, more like hundreds of miles away. Wondering what the hell had taken me so long. I was getting closer every minute I could already feel it. I was sure it had begun to feel me. Approaching rapidly and relentlessly, running years too late, but inevitably one of these days bound to arrive.
I guess it was a somewhat reckless decision on my part, at close to 10 p.m. on a perfectly ordinary Thursday night, to take off on a long distance road trip to see a man in a band; just like back in the good old days when I was young and foolish, with no real life, no actual responsibilities, and no fear or common sense at all. In this case, this band featured my old flame, Eric Burdon, sinner, singer and front-man extraordinaire, formerly founding member of one of the world’s greatest classic British invasion bands. My very favorite man of all the men who made music in any band I had ever seen or known, and the reason I was spending all night tearing wildly down the highway in the family minivan headed for a weekend-long festival, hundreds of miles from home.
The morning light (what little of it there was, so far) had emerged above the horizon, as pure and bright as liquid silver, sparkling, shimmering, and pulsating. I had never seen anything quite like it before, and I am sure I never will again in this lifetime. Gentle but relentless mists of rain had been thoroughly drenching the van for hours, providing a damp silent cloud that muffled and masked every exterior sound. A thick, dense fog was slowly emerging from the mirror-like surface of the lake. Steam lifted from the highway in the rapidly rising late July morning heat. The tires were kicking out a spray of fine water vapor almost as high as the windows.
It was impossible to tell anymore what was sky, air, water, or ground and exactly at what point they separated, started, or stopped. Everything around me was in shades of grey, but in every conceivable texture, consistency, and variation. The whole world had turned into a soft, out-of-focus, black and white silent film. It was all so extraordinarily strange for someone so unfamiliar with the phenomenon and far from home, yet somehow perfectly appropriate and exquisitely beautiful.
I am the only thing in full, vivid, glorious Technicolor. When the sun finally does manage to creep its way through the fog from the lake and take a quick peek over the horizon, I can tell it is embarrassed to show itself because it cannot begin to compete with my heat, outshine my colors, or ever hope to melt my wings. I fly high tonight on old memories and new dreams, fueled by unforgettable emotions, promises from the past, and cheap truck stop speed washed down with huge Styrofoam cups of powerful, lukewarm black coffee.
I almost wish I were chain smoker.
There should be a cloud of aromatic silver smoke swirling inside the van as well, intoxicating me, with the scent of the thrill of ever distant, unfamiliar air that meant freedom. Sucking it down, drawing it in, as if I need it just to keep breathing. Trailing flaming sparks and blackened ash, more like gunpowder than fairy dust as I soar along the highway. Firing up a new fresh buzz and frantically stubbing out the drained remains of the old one, with cotton-candy-colored chipped and chewed fingernails as each minute and mile passed, the tray filled to overflowing as the spent remnants tumbled out all over the carpet.
It certainly would have suited a character in the divine melodrama currently featured. However, in this reel I was cast and costumed to be the Glamorous Starlet. Certainly not destined to be the Figure of Tragedy or the Villain but quite likely, the occasional Comic Relief. So my nails were quite expertly manicured in the pink French tip style; it was, after all, a special occasion.
In reality, in all these years I had managed to escape ever becoming a slave to the filthy, disgusting habit of actually sucking down cancer sticks. I always felt everyone should have one bad habit they could not or would not ever indulge in, and smoking always seemed out of them all to be the least fun. So long ago, I swore out of all the vices it would be the one I would forever do without. I had tried most of the others at one point or another in my life and they were all a lot more fun than tobacco, believe me.
I didn’t really care that I hadn’t been able to reach Eric to warn him I was coming. I didn’t even know myself until a few hours before I left. I had done it before, more times, than I could remember since we had first met twenty years ago, and it had always worked out just fine every time. He was always gracious and appeared happy to see me, even when he never expected me to be there. We shared some very good times that way for a long time.
When I first met Eric, I had just turned eighteen and he was in his late thirties. He hadn’t had any hits on the radio lately, or built up much of a solo career touring in the States. I guess you might say he was in a bit of a slump. It was nothing like the days on the road when he was a star in one of the biggest bands in the world. However, times had changed, and so had popular music. Punk and disco were not his forte or his friends, and they were not my taste either. I did not buy those records or know who any of those people were, but I sure knew who he was. His original band, The Animals was one of my favorite groups.
Nevertheless, he was still so gorgeous then, extremely sexy and extraordinarily talented even if the fickle fans of the Top 40 seemed to have lost interest. Dark shaggy hair, fantastic smile, that sexy soft English accent combined with his fame, charm, outspoken personality and big, rich, soulful voice. He had a powerful presence, impossible to overlook or ignore whether packaged for market in a stiff suit, silk shirts, fringe and fur, denim and leather, or tie-dye
He was accustomed to living the life of a rock-and-roll legend, playing everywhere from the hottest clubs to the biggest stadiums just as he had since he had his first hit record barely out of his teens. He had always seemed pretty stiff, quite serious, very hard and tough, when I had seen him in pictures in fan magazines or on TV.
However, he was much softer than I ever expected or imagined at the time I met him. He was charming, lighthearted, and joyous. Playful and mischievous, with a certain impish quality that could completely disarm you, which women all over the world found irresistible. Notorious for his very bad attitude and very big mouth and infamous for the celebrated company he kept and their well-chronicled, inebriated antics. He had been living and loving a lifestyle of extremes and excess, which almost managed to overshadow his talent, which was, quite formidable.
Enter the Shiny Happy Sherry Fairy.
A perfect landing right on cue, front row and center.
Where I could get a good look at him and be sure he got one of me.
Just a naive little freckle-faced redheaded American kid from the suburbs, who somehow ended up in just the right, or the wrong place as Eric that particular night. Done up like a birthday present in a pink flowered sundress and white hair ribbons and a pair of sky-high–heeled platform sandals. Clearly, it was a match made in rock-and-roll heaven. I was struck completely deaf, dumb, blind, and stupid by the size of the stars he put into my eyes.
But I had called a halt to my years as backstage teen queen when I was 22 and gave the whole ridiculous scene up over 15 years ago. I had just had enough. The time had come.
Rock and roll is a cold, ugly business and was bound to break your heart, ruin your life, steal your spirit, and destroy your soul sooner or later, inevitably.
If it did not kill you first.
However, odds are it would do them all eventually, if you did not get out when you had the chance, or if you were not very smart, very tough, very lucky, or very careful.
Deep down, I suspected I was just not enough of any of the above.
In fact, I was sure of it.
By almost twenty-three, I was ready for real men, not immature egomaniacs with drumsticks, microphones, and guitars, and their debris of damaged hearts and hotel rooms with skeletons scattered in every club, closet and cupboard in every corner, all over the world. Fed up with being one of the beautiful fragile young creatures constantly mooning over them, swooning at the sight of them, left behind when they went, secretly stashed away or blatantly paraded beside them before being worn out, used up, well fucked and then fucked over, destroyed and discarded. There were always plenty more, waiting.
Eric couldn’t seem to understand why I had such a problem with all this. It was all he had ever known for a long time. He had been doing it almost his whole life, but I wanted something different for me and mine. So he did kept doing what he knew how to do best, what he always did, stayed on the road, living his life, wherever or whatever that was to be after.
I made the decision to completely change mine.
Decided to go home, find myself a real man, a good one, and settle down, get happily married and try never to look back. I just forgot all about those days, stopped caring about that world and made a new one of my own. I went to the local University and got a degree in Education, bought a big house in the suburbs, opened a private pre-school, filled it with kids, love and laughter. Gave up the men and music, the makeup and miniskirts, the drugs and the decadence, the hard living and easy dying and traded it all in for self-respect, security, safety, and sanity. I paid my dues and earned righteousness and responsibility and bought a ticket to ride on the “American Dream”
I worked my way up to the dizzying heights of the very pinnacle of suburban success and earned my rightful place in the real world and proper society. Became a shining example of proper modern womanhood, a wife, mother, business person, you know, what they call a “role model.” Just another one of the cold, grey, stone pillars of virtue that support and protect the community and make the “real world” go endlessly round. My whole life revolved around my job, house, husband and family. I completely lost interest in rock and roll. I had outgrown it. I was uninterested and unimpressed and no longer a part of it.
I wouldn’t even buy a record or go to a show except to see Eric or a few other really good friends, who I still kept in touch with. I just wanted to have nothing to do with all its nonsense.
Looking back, to him then, I think that must have been my appeal.
Through the years, I went to every gig to see him. But I always came home just as soon as it ended. With Eric and me, it wasn’t really safe to do anything else. Our unlikely association had now gone on for over twenty years, which was quite surprising, to us just as much as anyone else, because our lives were so very different. Especially since the average length of most of his relationships with girls on the road was lucky to be room service breakfast the next morning.
I always felt I had spent the last 15 years of my life in disguise.
Hiding behind huge owl-ish schoolteacher glasses with my wild red hair and big, bold personality kept well in check. Constantly covert, controlled, restricted, constricted, and well-contained. Living with the choice I had made to be non-threatening, unappealing, uninteresting and innocuous in order to conform, progress and succeed because it was appropriate for my station and position in this place and time, for the life I had chosen to live from now on.
Surprisingly, as it turned out, I loved it. Even though I spent every single minute all those years, busting my ass every single day, overworked, unappreciated, undervalued, and covered with multicolored crayons, apple juice, and baby spit. I adored the children I took care of; it was the parents, the childcare administration, the community and the monotony I could not stand. I was happy doing it all for a very long time.
Until one day, for no one explosive or explainable definable reason, I just was not happy at all anymore. Call it a mid-life crisis, or the fifteen-year itch, or some form of temporary insanity. All I knew was it was time to do something else. Something different, I just had no idea at all what that could be.
I think the last straw was on the day I had changed my three hundred thousandth dirty diaper, in the week that four different mothers had “forgotten” their checkbooks on payday, in a month that I hadn’t left my house where even once, in the year I finally knew my marriage was over. I tossed the last diaper I would ever change in the can and said out loud to myself.
”That’s it. I’ve had enough! I would rather shovel coal or kiss the devils ass daily or flip burgers with my bare hands at the McDonald’ s in Hades for the rest of eternity then do any of this one single minute longer! I QUIT”.
And sure enough, I did, at the end of that week.
And that was about six months ago.
As I got ready to go “The Animals Greatest Hits” on old vinyl blasts, crackle and hissed through my cheap, crappy, boring, affordable old respectable suburban married type people’s stereo speakers. Nothing like the equipment I used to have back when I was young, single and foolish with plenty of spending cash, and music, and, the men who made it and nothing else was my very reason for living. I made sure to sing along with every single song, completely off key and with ever growing conviction and even greater enthusiasm, getting increasingly louder and out of tune, while I do the electric boogaloo around the bedroom in my old grannie panties.
Eric and I do a duet. We are bloody marvelous! We always were, even if I do say so myself. And I think even he would have to agree. I opened the windows wide to make sure the old prune next door can be sure not to miss a note.
I dug through the disorganized mess on the floor of the closet of our bedroom. What a mess, a complete disaster, all these things that were scattered haphazardly and left behind when he left with all of his, and I still hadn’t sorted it all out yet these many months later. No, I guess I mean my bedroom now. Wade my way through a huge pile of ugly smelly old worn out old sneakers. I hadn’t bought any other shoes for as long as I could remember. The same ones I had worn every single day for the last 15 years when I finally dragged myself out of bed at 6 am in the morning and threw on the nearest semi-clean tee shirt I could find with my eyes still half closed, hopefully without too much grape jelly or baby formula stains all over it. And didn’t get to take off until frequently way after midnight when I finally collapsed into bed in exhaustion. There they were, thank God! I was starting to panic! My favorite tall black leather boots. For a minute I thought that it just might be possible in a moment of madness I could have foolishly decided they were no more than some sort of obsolete garbage and just carelessly and callously given or tossed them away.
But no, not gone, just out of sight and definitely way out of my mind. Just like me these days, evidently.
There once was a time wearing anything else would be unthinkable!
They were my prized possession. Now look at them, all roughly mistreated and miserable. Just shoved in there, and evidently completely abandoned, stuck down at the bottom underneath a bunch of old dirty everyday crap, no longer a priority much less a necessity, just weighted down now, helpless, useless, smothered, overwhelmed and overpowered. Exiled by the others for being strange and different and therefore (until now) banished! They had clearly hit very rock bottom, reduced to pathetically cowering in the very back of the deepest darkest of corners. What a crying shame! This is footwear that lives to see and be seen! With their mile-high chunky heels, the corset lacing in the back and the silver three inch embossed square buckles and studs!
Oh dear, looks like I better give them a good polish first though, since they too are quite old and dull these days and seem so close to worn down and out and have apparently become just a bit too much their owner these days, both looking and feeling pretty lackluster. I cradled them in my arms and then lovingly rubbed every inch of their dried out wrinkled old hide with moisturizing, nourishing beeswax.
“Poor babies, you’re a mess! How could I have let such a thing happen? You are in need of some serious help if you ask me! All you really need is just a little time and attention, somebody to notice you and take you out and take care of you and show you a good time! That will really sort you out, wont it? “
“Well, let’s get right to work, I just hope that it’s not way too late to save you!”
And they came up a treat, bright and shiny as new; I thought that was a very good sign. Clearly they were just as fed up as I was of being bored and neglected, cooped up, crushed, and falsely imprisoned! And were just as thrilled to no longer be forgotten and buried alive just hoping and waiting for the wonderful day they get a well-deserved and long overdue chance to “that thing they do” once again before they go off to the Great Shoe store in the Sky.
Now what? I had almost forgotten how all this was done. I glared at my reflection in the dressing room mirror, and it stared just as rebelliously and defiantly back.
“Oh, so that’s how it’s going to be, eh?”
“Ok, you scoundrel, I accept your challenge! En grade! And may the best man win!”
With great trepidation I lured the rabid red badger that lived on my head and pretended to be hair out of the rubber restraints of its perpetual ponytail prison. It had grown almost comatose out of sheer boredom and inhumane levels of neglect over the last 15 years. I unleashed it, grabbed a tight hold on it, and violently shook it and shocked out of its slumber, then jumped in the shower and squirted steaming then ice cold water all over it, moussed it and mussed it, spritzed it and sprayed it, until at long last it showed some renewed signs of life. Then fried it, dyed it, baked and burned it and teased and attacked and tormented it with no mercy until it was once again a scary wild out of control dangerous beastie.
Once I had its full attention I laid down the ground rules.
“Ok, I don’t like you, and I know you really hate me, but can we at least try to cooperate with each other for just a couple of days? It’s really important! And by the way it’s nice to have you back, I really have missed you, you evil soulless mean furry critter!”
I thought I heard it growl just a little bit but it didn’t try to devour or strangle me, so I took that as agreement to the truce and a halfhearted promise to at least make some attempt to behave.
Eventually, I managed to track down my favorite fab bunny-soft slate grey suede miniskirt with the white stitching. In a box in the attic that said “SHERRY’S USELESS CRAP” in great big black definitive letters written with permanent ink.
“That’s what you think you silly box, what do you know?”
I fling the contents of my underwear drawer around the room and finally decide to shimmy into slinky black and white zebra striped demi- bra trimmed with frilly hot pink lace and of course, just a FEW tasteful and strategically placed sparkly pink sequins. After all, I grinned, I wouldn’t want to look like some sort of cheap floozy! I always had plenty of nice sexy things like this fairly close at hand, always and forever still worth the investment. Just in case. Of what, I wasn’t sure. That was my little secret. And of course, the mysterious Victoria’s.
Now… for the top? I think maybe a fairly conservative white silk button up blouse just sheer enough that if you were really trying you could you could just catch a little hint of what wonders may be hiding beneath the thin fabric. Add a plain silver braided chain almost a choker with heart shaped tiny locket I got from my grandmother, one of my favorite things that I saved for only the most momentous of occasions when I could use all the luck I can get. And the charm bracelet I had from childhood just to be whimsical, dangling dozens of little mementos of times and places of things worth immortalizing in a jingly silver-plated miniature form.
I am ready. At least as ready as I will ever be, this is as good as it’s going to get. But is one ever really ready for something like this? You may be fully prepared… But ready? Who knows! There’s only one way to find out.
All I need to do now is grab my leather jacket, lock up the past, and leave my real life and real world behind far behind and actually really start doing it.
That’s the hardest part. And after that? Well whatever happens, just happens!
I check out the final results in the bathroom mirror. It’s a bit friendlier. I don’t even have a full length one in the bedroom where I always dress. And I wonder at exactly what point, on what day did I stopped really caring at all what I looked like? No wonder my reflection was none too fond of me. I didn’t really blame it at all. I wasn’t too thrilled with myself either. Thank god, that girl from the past that these clothes truly belonged to and the one I am now seem to still be approximately the same shape and size. Even though that may be the one and only thing they have in common. And somehow tonight, it’s all a perfect fit!
Chasing all those little kids around all these years seems to have had some advantages. Although at the moment, at least, I certainly can’t for the life of me remember what a single one of them was.
Tonight, by some miracle, the two of us, who I was and who I am now seemed to have somehow managed to come together in the end. Smoothly and seamlessly, without too much effort, making some strange brand new girl I’d never seen before!
One I guess I better get to know and get used to. And fast!
If I was going to take her out for a test drive, especially under these circumstances!
I checked out the finished product.
Hmm…not bad, not bad at all, in fact, I conclude, a rousing success!
“Take that you bitch! VICTORY IS MINE!”
I stuck out my tongue and gave the dressing room mirror the finger.
The look was quite retro, I know but with a few modern stylish touches, definitely vintage, rather than antique. The perfect blend of classy and sassy, both dead cool and yet somehow, hopefully, still totally hot. Let’s just hope and pray that just goes for ME too!
No more excuses, or putting it off.
It was definitely long past time to go.
My showing up (with zero notice, no warning) pounding on his hotel room door tired, wired and just a bit of a mess, a mangy stray puppy dog on the back porch demanding to share his finest steak dinner, with no real clue what I was doing there or why I was doing it, was so bloody typical, and just like us in the old days, it was perfectly priceless and going to be totally worth it!
Or so I hoped.
One never really knows for sure about this sort of thing.
But you won’t ever find out, will you?
Unless you are ready and willing to actually take a chance and make that choice, whenever it is, when you are offered the option. My best advice? Once and awhile, just pick the one you would have to be crazy to choose, whatever it may be. Just fling yourself headlong into the cosmic storm and let it spit you out where it may. And hope the universe will somehow provide and take care of you.
And Do it fearlessly or not at all.
You may disagree. And perhaps you should, and you might be turn out to be right.
Decide for yourself.
After you hear my story.