Friday, February 6, 2009

Love is a mix tape, by rob Sheffield

I am reading another memoir by someone my age, writing about angst with a big dash of pop culture.

I cried.

Right in the parent seating area of the Bootiful Princess's ballet class.

I sat and sniffled and cried, while reading about mixed tapes and their social significance.

My friend left this book behind as a little second hand birthday gift (my favorite kind) and of course I am loving it.

The writing is not knock out.

It is not great literature,

who cares?

it connects with me on an emotional level, the level I like, so what else really matters?

It is also timely, as next week is a rough time for me, it marks the 24th anniversary of the death of my first boyfriend.

I have had him on my mind a lot the last few days.

I have had that time on my mind.

Mix Tape,

what a very lovely and timely theme.

I can rewind in my head, and almost hear the Pretenders first record, for the first time- shocked by the content of the song Precious.

Now I just play it in my mind every time I feel like telling someone to F*&K OFF.

does it get better than that?

not really, not for a really long time, at least.

When I met Leo, in '82, I was in a transition between big hair Jr. High, rocker chick (with Led Zep posters and Fleetwood Mac records) to just cutting enough to create the slightest hint of a new wave bi-level, (which would lead to me bleaching the shit out of my hair over the summer between 9th and 10th grade, but that all came much later in the story.) and getting turned onto Patti Smith and The Clash.

He opened up the world of MOD, which sent me spinning, spending hours embroidering a multi arrow chaos sign onto the ass of my Levi 501's , and purchasing an army surplus raincoat, which I would never be brave enough to wear to my conservative high school, and sneaking out to watch a double feature of Rude Boy & Quadrophenia at Cinema 21.

We would meet up at Goodwill surplus on Saturday mornings, with other "punk" friends, from the downtown alternative school, and comb the bins for tough records from the 70's (funkadelic for instance) and vintage clothing.

You can purchase a lot of cool, for .75 a pound.

Later we drank coffee at the Galleria downtown and smoked a lot (me, not him) of Camel unfiltered cigs.

This was the time of all kinds of exciting political stuff, one could rock very hard against Reagan, for instance, by tagging graffiti all over downtown denouncing RAYGUN.

Then there was the whole Latin American thing going on, to stoke the fires of political activism.
Me? I was mostly trying to look cute, and make out with my cute politically aware boyfriend.

I remember going on a walk against cruise missals with Leo and his parents, and thinking, does my hair look ok?

I can see myself walking into Rock 'N Roll Fashions and using a week's lunch money to by a "LONDON CALLING" t-shirt- pulling it over the top of a hot pink Izod.

I can feel those slouchy suede roll down boots, and envision myself at the sewing machine, pegging the legs of a pair of Levi 501 jeans.

Years later, I am a much more thoughtful person, having spent time with a, well, thoughtful person. I like to think I live a meaningful life, full of meaningful and well thought out choices, and much of that consideration comes from knowing such an awesome person.

I have a very beaten up mix tape sitting at the bottom on my cedar chest, and I know each song by heart.
It starts with The girlfriend song then, HOSPITAL, by the Modern Lovers and ends with Please, please do not go, by the Violent Femmes.
It felt a little funky seeing those songs mentioned in that book, but hey, there are no original ideas, right?


It feels comforting to know that there are people all over with the same connection, and love for that feeling, and those songs and that connection.

Tell you man I'm stuck on this lovely girl
of course to me u'know she mean all the world

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