please stop tickling me

In which we laugh and laugh and laugh. And love. And drink.

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Location: Portland, Oregon

Otium cum Dignitatae

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Union of the Snake

The Baron calls me the other night as I'm shooting pool. He tells me that he and a small consortium of people are going to the Duran Duran show, and he has an extra ticket for me. Now, maybe he just forgot that I've never liked Duran Duran; I don't know, but it's been a long time since I've seen any live music at all, and more like ages since I've been to a big, dumb arena rock show. So I went.
The Baron and I became friends in the Eighties, and quickly immersed ourselves in that odd moment in cultural history that fell between the death of disco and the rise of rave culture (it described itself, hopefully, as 'progressive dance', which I found hilarious, even then). It was one of the last times I recall that there were truly new things happening in all the lively arts, not just the repackaging of earlier themes. Oftentide, the results were fucking awful, but at least they weren't just acts of homage. Me and The Baron wandered around Portland's then-thriving underage dance club scene, happy to be in the middle of something big and strange.
Somewhere in here, he became a software baron of some sort (couldn't cut it dealing drugs, I guess), had his own company for a while, lost it due to the incompetance of his partners, shortly before the dot com bubble burst, and now is a spear carrier in someone else's empire. He is my longest-running friend in Portland.
The Rose Garden was not what I'd call packed. Local media personality Daria O'Neill was there, shoved into this awful excuse for a V.I.P. area. Tall n' Frosty was down on the floor, and the beatific grin on his face made it worth going, just on its own. The show itself was just cheese glitz, with a weird patina of class reunion, and world-weary Where-The-Hell-Are-We rock stardom panoply. It was pretty clear to me that most of them weren't playing their instruments, and I couldn't hear the in-between song patter. No matter: these people would cheer anything. Matter of fact, at one point, I joined a cheer from the crowd with, "WE'LL CHEER FOR ANYTHING!", and yelled "Go home, ya' big fat junkie!" to Andy Taylor. But it was fun, all the same. It sort of felt good to hear the old songs, even though I always felt that they lacked anything in the way of an actual message, which is fine except when the band in question thinks that they're profound thinkers. The Baron paid thirty-five dollars for a t-shirt with that gawdawful Patrick Nagel graphic from the cover of "Rio"on it.
Afterwards, more pool, at The Fire Hazard. I spoke at length to a girl who was considering a career in the military. She comes from an armed forces family, but had previously thought the war to be a buncha shit. Then, the change came in her when videotapes of kidnapped westerners being beheaded started coming out. As always, the Difficult Argument presented itself to me:
"Well, if America was occupied by say-China, come to liberate us from our unelected president, and they had more money and more troops than we'll ever have, what would you do?"
"But beheading's not war!" she said.
Oh? I said, but bombing hospitals and residential neighborhoods is, and so is torture, and destroying infrastructure, making it so that the water can't be drunk and there is no medicine. If that happened here? You'd fight dirty, I reminded her.
But beheadings aren't nice, etc. Yeah, and it's killed a hundred people at most, while this stupid fucking war has killed thousands. I was reminded yet again what a bunch of whiners my countrymen are.
Strangely though, this wasn't an argument that she and I were having. I listened to her points, didn't interrupt, and she did the same for me. I had decided early on that I wasn't going to be the aging peacenik who was trying to talk her out of it, at all costs. I understand; jobs are scarce in 'Murka, and for that matter, she is literally the first person I've met during the course of this particular adventure who actually wants to join. I did remind her that she would not be defending America, she'd be defending the sacred right of our corporations to make money. She already knew that.
I'm always going to be in the middle of something big and weird, to draw a remarkably simplistic conclusion, and I'm always happy to be here. Doing The Show the other evening, the two biggest laughs came from jokes that I had inadvertantly dropped during rehearsal. At the end of the show, Famous looks at me and announces to the showbiz types who actually write his jokes that I should receive a writing credit. "Check's in the mail?" I said.
"Well, it's about time that you learned a little something about show business," he said.
"Yeah, I'm used to takin' it the hard way." I told him.



Blogger carrier said...

Jokes dropped inadvertantly? By you little bro? You are far too clever for inadvertant's. Is that a word? I hope you go as far as you want to go 'cause I'm your biggest fan. Well maybe tied-for-second biggest...

7:33 PM  
Blogger littlesongs said...

Duran Duran reminds me of three things.

1) Being a pubescent mess who gained insight from Magic 107 during the eerie early Reagan years.

2) The answer to a trivia question: Barbarella.

3) Serenading my old friend John's cat whenever he took a shit.

"His name is Leo and he dances on the sand..."

7:39 PM  
Blogger rich bachelor said...

Thanks, Carrier. Do you have Comcast cable, so you can watch The Famous Mysterious Actor's Show, Sunday evenings at (I believe) nine, on comcast channel 14? I don't. I've never seen the damn show.
And to you, li'l miss songs, I always had that line as, "His name is Leo, and he dances with his hand..."

8:06 PM  
Blogger tallywacker jesuseyes said...

your words made me a wee bit depressed (but of course that could just be last night's black beer). see, you discussed eighties music and our current war. it occurred to me that the world is too damned focused on extremely superficial shit. so damned focused that we are willing to kill or die for it. remember Welch's Basic Con. oh yeas, we is a lame lot.

10:20 AM  
Blogger Adam said...

i never kid

1:12 PM  
Blogger tallywacker jesuseyes said...

geez, looking over the comments between you and your brother I get a wee bit creeped out. It reminds me way too much of conversations between Seymour and Buddy (J. D. Salinger reference). I'm a big fan of the Glass family stories, and I just realized how much you sound like them.

wow, I'm uncomfortable now. I wish you would stop that.

6:48 PM  
Blogger Unity said...

I simply cannot understand how a person so interesting, with such indeterminable talent like yourself, could possibly find any enjoyment in the reading of my stupid, poorly-written words. However. I have decided that I very much like you, and that I would perhaps like to get to know you, above and beyond what I have already disovered from this thing of yours.

Until next time.

5:19 AM  

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