Saturday, June 12, 2010

Most Of The Best Stuff Ever Written Was Done So Under Influence of Hangover Anyway, Right?

But don't expect anything spectacular...I'm curled up under a comforter pecking away at this on my phone while wishing for nothing more than a supply of biscuits from Popeye's and maybe some coffee--all so I can feel human again.

My best friend and I always have a cool experience when we go out and do things with just the two of us.  If nothing wacky is happening, we'll make something up.  Some of you may remember the Great Porta-Potty timed event from that thing we went to in Eagan a couple of summers ago? No? I'll see if I can find the link...

Last night we went to see Justin Currie play, and the fact that my friend couldn't make it out of her house without being lectured not to accept drinks from strangers really set the tone.  We also made the mistake of telling her girlfriend that we were taking a cab to the show, which set the woman into another kind of frenzy altogether--I think she might have blathered something about taxi-cab doorhandles being soaked with Anthrax or HIV or some other nonsense, and may have indicated that cab drivers "all" want to kill/rape/rob you.  Or something like that.  Clearly I tuned most of that out, and...she probably didn't actually "say" so much as she "implied" that any trip downtown would surely result in our very gruesome deaths.  It's just hard to pay attention when you don't care what someone is saying, hence the entirely-made-up and definitely  over-stated versions of her concerns.

See, this is what happens when you lock yourself in front of alarmist television all day...the world is not out to get you, OK? Most of us are too busy to think of ways to mess with anyone else. Who the hell has that kind of time?

(We had two quite wonderful and kindly gentlemen who were operating very clean and stink-free cabs by the way--I know you were curious.  Also, nobody died.)

Anyway...on to the very scary musical venue.

Some technical issues made it a tough start, but honestly, if he had pretended none of that was happening, probably nobody in the audience would have noticed. It didn't sound bad to us, but clearly distracting, so, stop and fix. No worries.

I had never seen Justin play live before last night, but once, many years ago when Del Amitri was still playing together, someone asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I said that I would like Justin Currie to sit on the edge of my bed with his guitar and play me every song he thought worth playing.

And...this was not an "Ooo he's so dreamy" sort of thing, because I've never really felt that way about him and really only thought of my bedroom as a means for me to be comfortable while this (hopefully days long) personal concert event took place.  (By the gets a little sickening being a female fan of anybody and when you say you like someone, everybody automatically assume you want to sleep with them....give me a fucking break...)

While this was not the bedroom concert of my Perfect Justin Currie Experience dream, seeing him play is every bit as satisfying as I thought it would be.  He sounds absolutely beautiful, period--and I don't really care how vehemently he denies it.

One of my favorite parts of the night was being there with someone who had never heard most of what he was playing and watching my friend in delighted discovery--she said "wow" a lot.  Meanwhile, I knew almost every word to the entire, sometimes improvised, set list.  I said "wow" a few times, too.

With almost every song, she would lean over and ask me, "do you own this one?" and I would say "yes" and she would say that she would definitely be owning it, too. I almost didn't have the heart to tell her that my collection was acquired over the course of many years, and included many albums, many incarnations on mix tapes, many attempts to get others to listen to it, too, and most certainly a level of astonishment that only seemed to be awakened by the exact noise of his singing.

In other words: It's a huge, extremely personal, investment.

But a worthy one, to be sure.

While I would never discourage anyone else any purchasing of music, I fully admit to having a superiority complex about those artists in whom I have invested a lot of time.  JC is not someone I've met or plan to, but, we're the oldest and best kind of friends, and this relationship, which consists entirely of him making music and me loving it, has never wavered, even after all this time. Not too many people have that.

I have a stories to go with those songs--like the time I bought my very first new car, and how significant a milestone it was in my vision of personal success. At the same time, what should land in my hand but a copy of Change Everything. I was working in radio at the time...lots of musical things just turned up like that, but none of them held any significance to me at all, because I was too busy driving around in my new car, listening to Be My Downfall over and over (and over and over) again.  I would drive until the tank was empty, fill it up and drive again.

Or, as I reminded my friend last night, the situation in which we both heard our very first Del Amitri song was when she and I were college room-mates and did a show together at the college radio station just at the time Sticks and Stones Girl appeared.  How far we all have come since then.

Or there was the time I was working at a Top 40 Station and my boss gave me a copy of Tell Her This, which he instructed me to play in one of those on-air competition things where you play two songs and the kids call in and vote for one.  Owing to my admittedly sketchy score-keeping (completely rigged), that delightful little tune beat every other comer for a week before I finally let it retire. I don't remember the song that finally beat it--what does that tell you?

I do remember making a cassette copy of that song at the radio station and, once again, driving around with it--hours and hours in my car.  I still do that to this day.  Since his new album, The Great War, came out this Spring, I have been taking the long way home from work, a lot.

Easily the best thing about finally seeing Justin play after 25 years of investment is that very little beyond both of us being in the same place at the same time and him agreeing to play songs, mattered all that much. For me, there were no worries. There was not a song that he could have played that would have bothered me, and no judgement to be passed over any wrong note or guitar distortion.  We've been "friends" far too long for me to give a shit about any of that.

I am glad--very glad--that Justin is not done making music, even though I know this stretches the bedroom concert fantasy to a much longer event with each new thing he writes.  Perhaps I'll have it catered.  Until then, since I'm already tucked in, time to sleep off the shorter, real-life version and look forward to the next.

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