“Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead.”
I think I have seen almost all Isabelle Huppert’s movies. There are only a few left I’ve not been able to see. This is because there are still a few which have not yet been translated to English for US/Canada/UK DVD release. I saw one I’ve been wanting to see this weekend. REIN NE VA PLUS (or as we call it in the US/Canada/UK call it THE SWINDLE) — from the odd mind of Clause Chabrol.
The problem is that I started watching it after a very long day at about midnight. The following is what I saw: Isabelle had black hair. It was on the short side. And, she was laughing, smiling and flirting!?!!? It made no sense. Then I realized she was scamming the guy. The film follows the adventures of a couple of grifters who roam about Paris in a camper van scamming men out of money.
I fell asleep. When I woke up Isabelle had long black hair and was in more of the mode to which I most like her. But, black hair? She had just washed it so it was wet. I was kind of sleepy, but she told her older boss/lover/husband/fellow grifter — that she was going to take a break, sleep around and work on her own for a while. She told him she wanted her “Russian” passport. He told her that this would not do as the passport stated that “Selema” has strawberry blond hair. She whip’d her long, wet, black hair about and sniffed that this was not a problem and pulled what must have been a wet wig off her head to reveal a fully radiant full body of long hair! …why would her character wash the wig while wearing it and how did her hair fall so radiantly after being held in under a wet wig?!?!!? It could not have been CGI!?!? …this is an older low fi French film. ?
Sadly, I fell asleep again. When I woke up, Isabelle’s hair was still blond but quite stylishly short.
She was looking down into a bathtub. In it was this guy she must have been sleeping with while on her little grift vaca. Some thug had taken a pencil and shoved it into the guy’s eye and managed to pierce thru his skull. Poor Isabelle was crying.
Much to my relief it was revealed to us that she was not crying because someone had just ice’d her lover. No. She was crying because she was worried that the thug was about to ice her in the same way — and, no amount of wig would spare her this misery. Luckily, her old husband was somehow there. He was pissed off. Much to my relief he was pissed at her not because she had been screwing some other low time (and much better looking/younger fellow) but because he was also worried that he was about to be ice’d.
They were not ice’d.
…but, then I fell asleep again. When I woke up Isabelle had long red hair and appeared to be about to kill the old husband who had, apparently, up and left her stranded in their crappy camper van. He had taken the money and bought some big estate. He was in a wheel chair and told Isabelle that the fright of it all had made him go lame. She told him to cut the shit. Much to my relief he sighed, got up and barked at her to tell him how much she wanted to get out of his life. She laughed and told him that no money would save him.
I sort of woke up a bit more thinking that I was about to see Isabelle kill the old geezer — but, much to my shock, she walked over and planted a big deep kiss on him! Full on French Kissin’ in France! Oy! …and then this cheezy French pop song came on and “un film de Chabrol” came on the screen.
Confused and totally wig-worried, I fell back into sleep unsure of the state of things. …I will have to watch this film again when I am more awake. I just loaned Ing my copy of Isabelle’s English speaking role in the Hal Hartely movie where she plays a nun who collects porn and gets caught up in some dangerous living with Hartley’s normal cast of characters. Isabelle can play a great kinky nun! I think I like it best if she will stay away from wigs, tho.
Some day, I shall visit France. And, when I do — I plan to follow her around for a day. This would be fun! I don’t think she’d mind. I certainly hope she will not speak to me! I don’t speak French and it would be most intimidating. I just want to watch her walk around the shops and be glam. I think she might be perfect!
…and, like all of us cool people, I’m sure she knows a bit of crazy.
Lily had worked hard to get here. To escape poverty, to secure an education and to find a place of import in a corporate world dominated by stupid white men. She had made it. She was a size 4, great hair, a condo in the Marina district and a corner office.
But Lily felt she was missing one thing. It was the one thing that her mother never failed to mention to her every Monday evening when they spoke. …A man.
It wasn’t that Lily didn’t want to be in love and have a family, but somewhere between 24 and 42 she forgot to seriously consider it.
Now, on one of those perfect and crisp San Francisco Sunday afternoons, the three of us all found ourselves in the same little area. Me and B sat on a bench just outside the De Young Museum contemplating all sorts of things. The wind ran through our hair. It was a great day.
We couldn’t help but notice her.
She stood alone. A smart and light jacket covered what appeared to be a sexy halter top. And she wore sleek black flared pants with high heels. She wore a simple chocker-style necklace with a red heart — which matched the string which held her hair up in a stylish yet simple swoop. She looked fierce.
A 70’s vintage sort of black shoulder back hung off her left shoulder. As beautiful as she was — there was an air of tension running in the air around her. Lily was nervous.
As B and I discussed the meaning of life, future plans and enjoyed the day — Lily stood a few feet away pushing out energy that seemed to be a mix of excitement and horror. Intense.
It was hard not to watch her.
“I’m sorry, but could you tell me the time?”
“He’s late.” …and, with that Lily walked farther away as if it might help “him” hurry.
A few minutes later I noticed a short, pudgy and book-ish looking sort of guy walking toward her. He was holding a pretty lily wrapped in clear foil.
Lily was facing north. This little fellow was walking toward her from the south.
B and I stopped talking and just watched the sad horror of a blind date/meeting from Hell unfold. …from the safe distance of our bench.
You could see the excitement fill the pretty features of her delicate face as a smile formed. Quickly composing herself she turned around as she said the one word which would doom the rest of her Sunday: “Yes!”
We could no longer see Lily’s face. Only the face of the little guy with heavy glasses and a bald head which barely reached her chest.
“Wow! You’re more beautiful than you picture! I got this for you!” …He extended the offering of the flower. There was an awkward hesitation, but our little ugly guy was not one to let a little bit of awkward slow him down.
He had fought hard all of his life, too. And, he had been looking for love ever since he saw Debra Winger ride that bull in URBAN COWBOY. > He pushed the flower forward and then did something that caused even us to gasp.
…He put his stubby little arms around Lily’s tiny waste, hugged her and gave her a gentle kiss on the check. And, to make it all the more odd for Lily, he took her hand as she seemed to ‘discover’ that her left hand was now holding the lily.
“I’ve been so looking forward to meeting you! After all those emails! At last! And, this show is going to be great! Let’s go! Hey! Do you like seafood? I know a great little restaurant! After we’ve had a chance to enjoy the art, we can have a great meal and just chat!”
As if in a drug induced state, Lily followed Him up the walk to the museum.
I was torn. Part of me wanted to just follow them around and see what would happen. Would she stick it out or run? Another part of me wanted to think of a way to stop the madness and get Lily back to the safety of her condo or to some nice bench there in the museum park. However, B and I were like two helpless Discovery Channel videographers. We could do nothing.
We simply watched as Lily was lead into the museum wishing she were back in her office studying the pie charts that paid her mortgage.
“When the lights go out in the cinema, the dream begins…” Rainer Werner Fassbinder
I suppose Fassbinder is my favorite film artist. His work is endlessly interesting, provoking and much of it retains a meaning that few films from other eras retain. Crazy with ambition and creation — he made more important films in his all-too-short-life than any other of whom I can think!
And, I do so love that quote. The darkness of a cinema is my favorite place to be.
The first movie to fully pull me in and show me a way to lose myself in the magic on that screen was Ken Russell’s fantastical and strange interpretation of The Who’s TOMMY. This movie was all I talked about from the time I was 8 until I was about 10. The original (and highly valued!) movie poster hangs proudly in my home. I can watch it over and over again. …And, I do. And, I do so enjoy a bit of mad Ken Russell.
But, it would be in my 30’s that I would find Fassbinder. THE MARRIAGE OF MARIA BRAUN and his adaptation of Genet’s QUERELLE are his most known works. But, I think his best is VERONIKA VOSS.
Still, sometimes I will go into a cinema and get lost. I love that feeling. I got it last night. And, tho the film was very flawed and very dated — the images, music and ideas filled the screen and absorbed me into the flow for the full two hours. From 1969, Marxist film Italian filmmaker, Elio Petri’s A QUIET PLACE IN THE COUNTRY, is about as noisy of a movie as one could imagine. Essentially, the film follows a sort of story of an artist losing his mind. Or, is he? Tied up as both an erotic trip on artistic creation, relationships and the odd power of memory — the film is a big old mess. But, so gorgeously shot that one can forgive it. And, let’s face it. Who would not want to find a 1969 version of Franco Nero tied up and waiting for them in a ultra swinging mod pad?!?! And, Vanessa Redgrave was soooooo beautiful. And, they both wore incredible shoes!
I got lost.
And, for that I am ever so thankful.
After much soul searching — not to mention — shopping for hours upon hours in stores we found the perfect chair! I shall call her ‘Betty’ — not a puffy chair like I dream of and there is no where to hold my Diet Coke, but she is quite comfortable. And the ottoman didn’t really match — so we are using it for B’s smoking chair by the living room window! We found Betty all alone in the basement of one of those cool antique shops on Market! Yes, I guess B and I were sort of “antique-ing” — Anyway, without even much effort we discovered that the old dude running the shop was willing to cut his asking price in more than half! Yes, we got Betty for $200 and I love her!!!!
Next stop — Crate-N-Barrel so I can get one of those overly priced huge pillows to hug as I watch movies or contemplate the meaning of life!
B and I visited so many stores. It was actually kind of fun. We found a neat Flea Market in Redwood City or Palo Alto — I can’t be bothered to know where I was, but it was neat-O! And, I found the coolest mint doll for Ing! The doll is called “Rock Flower” but I think Ing’s doll is called “Heather” and she is not pictured here. But, she looks just like “Jennifer” only she is a brunette but wears the same glasses! —- She was born in 1970 and came with an out-of-sight outfit still sealed in its original Matel wrapping! The second outfit was called “Tall Tie-Dye!” and had pink shoes to match her pink shades! She was meant to be owned by Ing!
Then, we met up with Ing in the Mission and had an early dinner at one of those good but odd little hole in the wall places. B left us and Ing and I then took in the new Chabrol/Isabelle Huppert flick, COMEDY OF POWER. …Which was a bit disappointing but we still got to see Ms. Huppert looking fantastic and being bitchy to all these silly men in suits — that was almost worth the price of admission. …this second hair cut was worn for Act II of the film. It was more fitting for her character but not as glam cool as I like to see Ms. Huppert! Still, such smart designer pants suits to put all these evil men in their places!!! She did, as always, kick some major ass! …and no guns needed!
And, The Roxie Cinema is an experience in itself. The men’s room had been freshly tagged. It was graffiti of which I approved: “Racism! Bush! War! Lack of Female Unity! Poverty! Time For A Fucking Revolution!” …Yes, I quite agree! What does one wear to a revolution? I guess that management will have to paint over it or clean it up, but it sort of matches the general aesthetic of the cinema. Ing and I walked home in the cold rain and Ing was kind enough to escort me to Hot Cookie.
Then, B and I hung out. We sort of watched Linda Blair and Dick Burton badly act their way through the pretty, strange and surreal set design and moments of John Boorman”s mess of a movie, EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC.
…I love when Sir Burton walks to the camera and says, “Eeeeeeviiiiiiiil” as the Enno Morriconne score really kicks in and an odd fake locust leads us to a fake studio which is supposed to be Africa. I think we fell asleep while cute little Linda Blair was syncing her bio-rhythms to that of Satan. Heady B grade stuff done on a crazy 1970’s budget! Still, I think it a good idea for Linda Blair to live on the 50th floor with an open air patio without railings! …provides for easy plot devices involving demons, doves and sleepwalking! Yay!
And, then I met up with Ing and Alan to see YEAR OF THE DOG! …Yes, it was a full on movie weekend!!! However, this was the film to see! Molly Shannon was awesome. Don’t believe the previews — this film is not a silly love story. It is about grief, aging and loneliness. …and the warmth and love given us by dogs — and all animals. Rare to see a movie that touches you without manipulation. This one did. Oh, and Laura Dern totally rocks!!! See it! …now, I think I’ll go spend some time with Betty before I have to go to bed!
kisses from GayTown,
Ever see a film that you loved but were unable to articulate why you loved it? No? That’s what I thought, but there are a few for me. Come on! Open up! I’m sure that there are a few for you, too! CELINE AND JULIE GO BOATING is one of the films I love but don’t really understand why. I just watched it for about the 15th time last night and decided I would try to articulate why I love it so. An experimental attempt about an experimental French film. Starring the late Juliet Berto as Celine and Dominique Labourier as Julie and brought to the screen by one of the original of the French Avant Garde Film Artistes, Jacques Rivette, in 1974 — this is one of the most unusual and fascinating films I have ever seen. I guess, because I have a hard time understanding why I love it so — I’ve avoided reading too much about it.
As I was watching the three hour film last night, I decided that I will pursue more knowledge about the movie. I decided this last night. However, I decided I will write about first. I hope someone reading this has seen the film and will offer their knowledge and understanding of it. And, certainly, let me know if he/she thinks I’m incorrect.
I am familiar with French film history and am familiar with with Jacques Rivette. This is the only film I’ve seen by him that I think is worth seeing. I have sought several out over the years and have been disappointed each time. But, every time I see this film it blows me away — and, it touches me. It gives me hope and it makes me smile — a lot. I guess my love of this film grows from my belief that a small action, an encounter, a quick choice to simply dare to jump off can lead to an amazing adventure and new chapter in life. These “little” choices or actions can push you to the very boundaries not yet imagined. Or, possibly, the idea of THE incredible power of fantasy and friendship. The idea that the possibilities of all these things are without limit — and, in the end, are so extraordinary that they become ordinary. For me, this movie goes out of its way to tell us that our ordinary lives are outstandingly extra-ordinary. And, there is a bit of Alice in all of us. That, in many ways, we are all just sitting bored with a book waiting for our rabbit to lead us to lead us to a wonderland.
In Rivette’s film — which is influenced by everything from Lewis Carroll to Henry Miller to Louis Feuillade’s classic silent serial LES VAMPYRES — is hard to encapsulate into an easy synopsis. Essentially, the film is a playful and comedic look at the strange and magical friendship of two women. However, there is more going than that. I first saw this film when I was in college. I remember discussing it with my French teacher. I could, then, read and write in French but I was never able to understand it in spoken form. He was patient. He knew of this film and explained to me that the English translation of the title failed to really capture the intended meaning. There is a very significant boat ride near the film’s final moments but as I remember my professor’s explanation — the title is actually referring to a colloquiel French phrase which means to spin a wild tale, story or yarn. So, there is a dual meaning to the title.
Once the two women discover each other — Julie, a bored and sad librarian, who seems to be trying to find control in life thru the use of magical spells. And, Celine, a gorgeous/glam waif of a woman out of control and always late for her only point in life — to sing and perform lame magic at a very strange cabaret. One day — as the film tells us thru the use of silent film frame stills, they begin. Julie chases the confused Celine down a hole into the realm fantasy and adventure. They become lost in their adventure. The lines between reality and fantasy blur. And, with the assistance of magic — Julie and Celine discover a dual reality. And, in this dual plane of existence a possible explanation of ‘self’ and ‘identity’ —- and lacking of both. Men are of little importance in their world. Depending upon one’s point of view the film might take place over the course of a year or the course of two or three days. It is never clear.
As their identities begin to blur, their adventure(s) take a rather dark turn. Each finds their way to a mysterious estate which may or may not have been next door to where the sad Julie grew up. Each goes in. We, as viewers catch small glimpses at what each might have done or seen in the house but we never know for sure because both Julie and Celine are unable to remember what has happened. It takes them both a little while to remember that each time they emerge from the house they are exhausted and have to spit out a pretty piece of candy. The pretty candies turn out to be magical. And, when they suck on them — they become an audience…to their own ‘story’ …their own ‘yarn’ …they’ve gone a-boating and taken us with them.
The story of the house and the evil spirits that possess it comes to us slowly. The pacing seems deliberate. The feel is improvisational, but this seems like a feeling to me vs a reality of Rivette’s film style. And, it is in their discovered/shared/vision/story that I think I might gain the fullest understanding of what I love about the film. The friends, thru the use of Julie’s witch-like magical powers and the candy find ways to invade their story/fiction/fantasy/dual reality and take control of it. …to save a child from certain death at the hands of evil. The question that is never answered for us is if this is some form of memory from which Celine is helping to save Julie or if they have simply fallen so far into fantasy that it is madness?
…never trust a spirit who appears to be in love with Barbet Schroeder! And, don’t ever look at a fish! …You might get amnesia!
All, I know is that the story doesn’t stop there. It never stops. Like all of our lives, there seems to be a full circle Rivette weaves for Celine and Julie. And, I firmly believe that the key to this magical and happy little big film is to never allow those chances to chase adventure or friendship or relationship by — chase after it and allow yourself to fall! I love that in concept. In reality, it is not so easy. But, one can always try. One can always dream.
…and, one can always go boating. If only I knew how to get on Celine and Julies’ boat!!! If only!
I want to show this movie to people, but I never do. I once did and he hated it. I guess you take a risk when sharing something which is special to you and might not be special to another. It can feel bad when it holds no impact for the other. But, I’m sure I’m not alone. I know this film is loved.
Now, if you live in the US and Canada — you can only see this film on VHS. If you live in the UK, The British Film Institute recently released it to DVD! And, it is certainly easily available in France. It was on DVD in the early 90’s but is no longer being pressed. I read that Criterion was looking into it, but that was several years ago.
And, now, I shall begin my research on what the world’s critics think!
I don’t really write about where I work. This is a part of life which, for me, is best not posted to my blog. However, I happen to work for a very cool organization and I really love my job! I think this might be the first time I’ve ever written that and really meant it!
A major part of the reason I love my job it is that it allows me to work with some extraordinary artists and all around cool people. Actually, I am now constantly surrounded by artists! One of the coolest is called Josie.
Even if she didn’t have a totally awesome sense of style (shoes and clothing to die for!) — she is very talented, funny, highly intelligent and carries a true sense of self. And, as we all know, a true sense of self is really quite key in this twisted world of ours. Interestingly, so few seem to have a true sense of that and Josie does.
I’m telling you about Josie because she is working on an art project of note and interest. Take a minute to check it out!
If you can crochet or knit — then, please check it out!!!
Be a part of the art!
Even if you will be no where near the area in which Burning Man happens — you can still be there in spirit with this project! Folks from all over the world are participating, but she still needs more contributions!
…and, help destroy to create. Or, re-create.
I wish I could crotchet. More than anything, I’d like to crotchet a shawl for Ing and B so that I can say to each of them at the appropriate time(s): “Don’t forget your shawl! It is cold outside!”
Well, a boy can dream. And, yes. I may be 40 — but if Paula Abdul can be forever the girl then I feel I should be allowed to be forever the boy!
Today was such a stunningly beautiful San Francisco day! And, Ing and I met up, walked to Golden Gate Park to master our new roller skates! Yes, we each have our key! I expected this to be a triumphant day. After all, I used to a major playa in the world of roller disco! …when I was 12. A dear friend was so kind as to recently remind me that this was over 27 years ago and that a lot can change in 27 years. Gotta love friends like that. …Especially when they turn out to be right. Ugh!
Yes, we sat down under a perfect tree. We laced up our new roller skates. Mine are black with blue wheels. Ing’s are white with pink wheels. Ing stood up and took to her skates like a goddess — Ing skated to a level of disco finesse not seen since Linda Blair strutted her stuff in the summer of 1979! In short, Ingrid rocked the streets of San Francisco! Fetching boys stopped all that they were doing to watch her work her wheels! Her slight, yet curvy frame filled the park with awe by her very disco grace!
Enchanted and inspired, I jumped up and shot out with my best Roller Disco King move — and promptly slammed into a street light. In the next five minutes I ran down two toddlers, a mean man with an ice cream cone and an old lady on a respirator. It was a roller disco tragedy!
As Ing was signing a few autographs for tourists and discussing a possible endorsement deal with reps from Bebe, Inc. — she told me that not every one could achieve the level of roller disco perfection as she. She told me to be patient, brave and to keep my chin up — as she did a double jointed spiral turn into the air causing several of us to hum an old Earth Wind & Fire song.
At one point, as I attempted to avoid crashing into that dude in the wheelchair with the basket full of puppies I heard some mean guy with overly-pimped out hair humming Sesame Street! The jerk! I missed the disabled guy and his puppies but made a point of rolling over this guy’s toes.
Finally, I fell to the ground. I cursed the Heavens and wished a plague of locusts on The White House — and tore off my skates. No, my friends, I have not given up! I can’t! Ingrid needs me to master this! I am required to be able to hold her up and twirl after she does her big finale move! After all, it is up to us to save the local disco roller rink from the mob who intend to turn it into a Starbucks! And, only our winning the Big SF Roller Disco Prize of 1977, uh, I mean 2007 can prevent that from happening!
She can count on me.
I think I just need to get to an actual roller rink. I may even need to take a few lessons. Ing offered to teach me, but I can’t afford her rates. Even with that “best friend” discount she promised me. Listen, I totally understand: Disco Superstars do not stay superstars by being cheap!
Anyway, after Ingrid caused all the men in the park to swoon and the women to be totally jealous. She took off her skates and we walked about 30 miles (we both tend to get a little lost) — and, I had to actually pop a wiz in one of those scary ass Golden Gate Park public restrooms! I was standing there — doing my business (so to speak) — and had to hear the most impossible sounds coming from the stall next to where I was standing. It was horrible and the stench was almost unbearable. I only share these details to reveal a very important bit of knowledge with each of you!
Well, you see, as the my fellow public restroomer was going thru some sort of intestinal problem from Hell — he was also on a cell phone — one of those Nextel Walkie Talkie cell phones that usually look like Hummer vehicles — only smaller. Anyway, he was bitching at his friend because he was far too sick to make it to Geary Street in time for the “Sunday Pick-up” — so he was telling his pal that he needed to get his butt to Geary to pick up the pills so that they could make their money tonight! I was only in the restroom for about a minute. Ingrid and I waited patiently to see what San Francisco Drug Dealers look like these days. (I really wouldn’t know!) …and, after about five minutes, we discovered that they actually look like professional golfers. Go figure. I was also surprised to see that this guy could walk with such ease! Trust me! I was surprised he could stand upright after the case of shits he had just gone through much less walk.
Anyway, Ing dried my tears. Made me sign a pack in my own blood that I would learn to skate very soon and we had dinner at Orphan Andy’s where Ing ate some sort of curd’d cheese and I sarf’d down a chili omlette. It was delicious!
We love Orphan Andy’s!!!
Look what my pal, James, got in the UK! An import!
…I didn’t even know this had been released at all! I don’t think it ever made it to the American, Canadian, French or UK stores! Looks like they sent my second solo effort straight to Japan! Oh well, I hear I’m quite big there and am on ring tones and everything.
I wonder whatever happened to my first and third albums. I did work ever so hard on them!
Thank you, James. Kisses from GayTown,
…or my random notes from my lunch break… Well, The Boy With The Hair who works the counter is in a very bad mood today. His hoodie’s hood is pulled way over his head. We can’t even see his hair. He is grunting rather than speaking and he charges me seventy-five cents more than usual for my sandwich. Of course, my sandwich is ‘off the menu’ — he makes it special for me. He more or less slams the change in my palm.
As he crashes, bangs and tosses about the kitchen to prepare my simple sandwich I wonder why he is in such a foul mood. He ignores his co-worker. You know her. …The Girl With The Hair who also works the counter but seldom makes my sandwich. She is not as friendly as usual, but I think it has to do with the general vibe he has generated today. One can feel the tension from outside the door.
Interestingly enough, as I bite into this sandwich I am quite surprised to discover that it is really quite good! In fact, this may be the best sandwich I’ve had in quite a while! Go figure. A sandwich filled with anger and frustration should taste this good? And, please note, The Boy With The Hair makes a kick ass sandwich anyway. But, this sandwich blows the others out of the water!
As I enjoy my lunch a heavy set customer enters. He has no hair and wears a tie. The Boy With The Hair ignores him. The Girl With The Hair steps up and takes his order. He orders a sandwich off the menu. She is nice to this customer. The Boy With The Hair stands, arms crossed and scowls.
As I leave I say “Later!”
The Boy With The Hair says, “Sure thing, dude.”
I return to work, full and happy. Odd, that.
…Or yet another embarrassing moment from my life. This moment brings us back to sometime in the wee hours of a Saturday morning in 1982 after quietly sneaking back into the house after doing all manner of “bad” things with my old pals, “X” and Prissy (it was a nickname so I don’t need to disguise her) …I was a little out of it and it was well after 2am. I felt certain that my parents had not noticed that I had even slipped out a second time that night.
Before I tell you what actually happened I should give you a bit more of set up. You see, for years — after I had outgrown my crush on Alice Cooper and my lust for Andy Gibb — I developed a real crushed sort of love for Tom Petty. I still find him totally cool and hot. Can’t be helped. But, anyway, when Stevie Nicks recorded her first solo album in 1980 — she recorded a duet with Mr. Heartbreaker. Well! I mean, you’re talking about combining two of my fave talents and it was the first time I had remembered thinking that Mr. P was actually trying to be kind of sexy in a video. I mean he was cool, sexy and he knew it! And, Stevie with her twirls and witchy ways — it was just the ultimate. Sometimes my fantasies would stray from carnal knowledge of Mr. P to pretending to know how cool it would be to actually BE Tom Petty and to actually HAVE a band and to actually SING/FLIRT with someone as cool as Stevie Nicks!!! I think this sort of fantasy play seemed ‘safe’ to me because though I knew I was gay — I could not really face that until later toward the end of high school. Does that make sense? I had no interest in pretending to be with Stevie Nicks, but I could get into the idea of being cool enough to sing with her and flirt. I don’t know, all I know is that the following was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life! I turned on my bedroom light, put on my headphones, put the needle down on the the “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” track of the “Bella Donna” LP and — as if by magick or by the aid of some great pot — I WAS Tom Petty and I WAS IN the vid-clip for the song!
I could see Stevie looking at me seductively. I could feel as she twirled about and the scent of her perfume seemed to feel my nostrils. And, then my time came and I inched toward the mic and swaggered with that classic Petty cool — you know, overly straining as I sang — or, in this case, lip-synced. Yes, I was buckling with the weight of the word. And, just as I was reaching mid buckle and really getting into my solid stoned air guitar moment —- I felt something. I was aware of something behind me.
I opened my eyes. Stevie was gone. I was not a stone fox rock star with a guitar and cool boots. No, I was just skinny me in a jock strap and torn OP shirt. My foot hurt. I had stepped on the lighter I had borrowed after I feel out of that guy’s car a few houses down from mine. I was in my bedroom.
No. It couldn’t be. I could see the digital numbers on my clock radio. It was 3:24am. No. It couldn’t be. Could it?
I pulled my giant Radio Shack head phones off my head. I took a deep breath. I turned around.
And, my worst fear was confirmed. I was not alone. Standing in my room was my father. I was standing in front of my father with my head set around my neck, my arms/hands formed to hold an electric guitar, and to make it all the more awkward — I had a hard-on to beat the band.
My father stood there looking above my head. I stood there looking at him, then at my foot standing on Prissy’s lighter which was cutting into my bare foot and then back to my father who was still looking somewhere over my head.
My face was flushed. My father slowly looked me in the eyes.
“Ok, then. Um. the door was unlocked and I knocked, but you didn’t, um. Well, son. Um, OK. I’m going to go back to bed because, um. Well. Yeah. OK. Do you have water? Yeah. OK. You’ve got your water there. That’s good. Um, well. Uh.”
“Dad? I –”
“Huh? No. Um, I’m sure that, uh, yeah. Well. OK. ‘Nite, Matt.”
Baby you could never look me in the eye
Yeah you buckle with the weight
of the words
Stop draggin’ my…
Stop draggin’ my…
Stop draggin’ my heart around”