Monday, June 02, 2008

Found Found Found

A little jump forward, then back...

Well, I have to admit, in 1991, when I saw Morrissey at The World, near Chicago, I was more into Boy George. The Martyr Mantras came out the year before, and to me it was a return to the sound that I came to love about him, and I could not take it out of my CD boom box for an entire year. I tracked down every single and remix I could find. Though KLF's The White Room did battle with ...Mantras for equal time.
So when my friend Chad asked me to see Morrissey with him that summer, I flinched a little. I thought I had broken up with Morrissey. I had seen The Smiths a few years back, at the Aragon Ballroom, but in The Queen Is Dead there lurked too many memories of my awkward and failed relationship with my boyfriend Jeff, and not to even mention the junkies and acid trips and unrequited loves that breathed a painful existence into Hatful of Hollow for me. So no, no Smiths for me any more, s.v.p.
Next came Strangeways and Viva Hate, two albums wrapped around my savior, destroyer, love of my life, and childhood best friend, Brad, where for two years in the late eighties, they were the soundtrack, to borrow a phrase (and mangle it), to the resignation of the ending our lives.
Morrissey has that wonderful way, for anyone the least bit introspective, of really getting to the core of something painful and human, an turning it into an art form that curls around you, and can influence who you are as a person, and create definition. I think all art, enduring or not, does that.
I could not divorce myself, in 1991, of the pain of my life in the late eighties I associated with Viva Hate, so Morrissey solo became off limits too, and he fell off my radar. But Chad's offer to see Morrissey got a whole lot sweeter, when he mentioned he could get us close to the stage, because of his boyfriend's connection: a doorman at The Plaza Hotel. Well, how could I say no to that!
I never did understand Chad and his boyfriend. I refused to understand, would be a better way to describe my feelings. Their thirty year age gap left me judgemental and doubtful of any real relationship, mainly because I wanted Chad for myself. He did manage to convince me, after many long talks, their relationship started how most relationships do: sexual attraction. The clincher, though, was when I saw Chad's collection of 'girlie' magazines. My I-finally-give-up-you-do-like-older-men sigh sent him into gales of laughter.
I wore my wonderful faux vintage 1940's Girbaud suit that I bought the year before at the downtown Manhattan Century 21, with a Sex Pistols t-shirt, and in the car on the way to the show, I made Chad promise a hundred times he wouldn't try to rush the stage and get arrested, leaving me to walk home from Tinley Park.
Now, of course, I wish would have kept my mouth shut.
He refused any money from me for the ticket, because the price for third row was pretty high, even by today's standards.


The giant Edith Sitwell back drop was an unexpected surprise, and the star of the show. As a child I spent way too much time making up stories about her, and the other dramatic pictures in Life magazine's best-of photo book. Her picture, giant, exposed, and frail, sleepily gazing down upon our adulation of our British pop idol, kind of made me fall in love with Morrissey all over again.
He looked wonderful and sexy, in his now famous gold lame v-neck, and writhed on stage in a way that told me he had moved way beyond his fey eighties ways. The most memorable songs for me that night were Our Frank, because of the storm of cigarettes that erupted over us, and ...Sunday, because of the passion he inspired in the audience. But the most memorable experience for me that night was asking what song is this! over and over to Chad, because I seemed to recognize so few songs of the man who, just a few short years ago, I thought I had known inside out.
I vowed then and there to catch up with Bona Drag (a pillow for my weary head) and Kill Uncle (a box of candy), but I ended up spending the rest of the summer with Salinger and Louder than Bombs.

I wanted to call this post Jesus Loves You, but I'm afraid my gay melodrama would be little sustenance to a Christian desperate enough to Google that phrase...


American Girl said...

My friend talked about seeing The Smiths at the Aragon and everyone started passing the fold up chairs up and back over there heads to make a dance floor. She was tripping and was freaked out by the chairs coming her way. Were you at that show?

I saw Morrissey in 91 at the Aragon and, I know this is blasphemous, but I was bored.

I have no idea what happened to my family's copy of the Best of Life Photos but I used to stare at those pictures like nobody's business. There was one with little kids in Halloween masks that was distorted. Very colorful and beautiful and totally creepy. Sarah

BC said...

yup, I was there, at the smiths. glad to hear you loved the book!

Bette said...

Morrissey broke my heart at a concert he held about 5-6-7 years ago at the Riviera when he sang 2 1/2 songs and then left the stage because he couldn't go on with it. But like a beat dog, I secretly still adore him.