Saturday, May 03, 2008

I Drink Tea At Three

There are times when it's hard to get dressed, and times when it's not. One of the times when it's not hard to get dressed is right after you've seen the Stones movie, Shine A Light. This is especially true if you have a record player in your bedroom, and a copy of, among other things, Tattoo You. If you happen to also have a copy of Exile On Main Street, then you will probably find several dozen things in your closet that you want to wear, but why the hell would you want to leave the house?

Chris Letcher bought me my first copy of Exile On Main Street. It was a birthday present, and I remember he handed it over to me very ceremoniously, in the kitchen, twitching the way he did, playing with the piercing in his tongue and adjusting his belt. He was working at that record store in Santa Fe then, the one that I was always a little bit scared to go into, Candyman. Must have been, what, my 22nd birthday? I think that's right. When I lived with three men named Chris, the year we saw Jon Spencer Blues Explosion somewhere in Santa Fe, and a lot of other stuff happened that I can't talk about on a blog my father reads. Later that school year Kurt Cobain killed himself and we talked a lot about Frances Bean. Letch was in love with someone who couldn't make up her mind about whether she loved him back and Jesse was so young that it was impossible to really imagine him having sex. That would all change later.

Towards the end of our time there, Sean moved in and he and I spent the evening parts of the summer driving around in his station wagon, trying to get lost on purpose. I spent most of the earlier parts of the day up at the college, working on donor databases or at the college art gallery, hanging out with the painter who had a show that it seemed to take us weeks to hang. Big black and silver canvases, something to do with a zen version of purgatory. I thought they were beautiful and wanted one, the one with the big shape that looked like it might be the dream of a tree. Hard to tell. He told me he thought I would be a strong yogi, but he was wrong.

The Stones song that reminds me of moving to New York at the end of that summer is Monkey Man. They played that at Green Door, along with Iggy Pop and other things I've probably talked about here. I wore my vinyl pants from Daryl K and you and I danced on stage, Allison, and there was that guy we called Baby Elvis, and when Halloween came around things got too crowded and we had to push the NYU boys dressed up as fishermen off us, off the stage and go downstairs and drink with Johnny and Coco instead. Coco looked me in the eyes one night and said "You have a problem with commitment, don't you?" and he was right.

The first time I moved to New York, it was Let It Bleed, every song, on the jukebox where I bartended, reminding me nightly how perfect an album it was. That was when Ron Walker used to tell me I had a Roman profile, and chide me for wearing colors too drab for how bright I was inside. At my day job, I was writing long letters to the Chris I moved to Santa Fe with, and he wrote back using just as many words, written with fountain pen and sealed up and mailed in the envelopes that the strings from his bass came in. I loved him, and he loved me back.

Hang on, I gotta go turn the record over.


My point is just this, about the Stones. There is more of this, there are more of these stories. Like Candice freshman year, wearing my riding boots with her black mini-skirt and blonde bob, dancing to Sympathy for the Devil in the cafeteria, all the lights out except for the few that were covered in colored gels, shining down from the balcony. Or a whole van of us singing Beast of Burden while we drove through Utah, just before the skinny dipping incident. Later there was the guy in Portland, on stage at Berbati's Pan, right Kristin? I swear he wore a cape. Tattoo You started as far back as 5th grade, with that kid named Joel who wore glasses and said that his favorite color was purple. We stood on chairs in the music portable and then jumped off of them when the first notes of Start Me Up came on. It's hard to believe this might be true, but I swear Joel wore black jeans and converse. I might be imagining that, but surely he must have later, in any case.

It goes on. Every time you think you're done, there's one more story. Like how Keith in the movie tonight reminded me of this, let's say, boyfriend I used to have, who would take the lit cigarette he had crammed under the strings on the neck of his guitar and flick it at the head of his drummer any time he would get going too fast. He liked a nice slow tempo, and was the same guy who smoked in the shower most mornings. Keith wasn't flicking his cigarettes at anyone in Shine a Light, but you have to admit the way he spit one across the stage so that it exploded in a shower of ash - that was spectacular in its way. Especially in Imax.

Tonight in the middle of the movie, Jessica, who has the youngest skin you or I have ever seen on anyone over the age of six, leaned over to me and said "I just love the way they've aged. I wanna age like that. There's so much character in the lines of their faces." I had been thinking something like that, something about how much I love the fact that Mick still runs down the stage like he has got someone to chase, somewhere to be, or how he makes his body like this human tambourine, shaking every last part of himself. I was thinking, also, Mick Jagger does not (sorry dad) give a Fuck. In the most passionate, self-fulfilling, unapologetic way, he just does not give a fuck how old he is. At the end of the movie, Jessica said "That was yummy." Yes. The way things that leave you both hungry for more and happy for what you've already had always are.

And that's the story of how Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood, and my personal favorite, Charlie Watts, cured me. Whatever was ailing me, it's cured. Cause it's been good here so far, and I'm nowhere near close to done yet.


K said...

How many Stones songs can you squeeze between the first and second bells for Seminar?

and yes - The Miss U's at Berbatis...and all the Honkey Tonk Women. I will never forget my nights out with the fake Mick Jagger.

Anonymous said...

All these years and I didn't know you were a Charlie Watts Girl.

Even after 15 years of friendship, you still blow me away. Possibly daily.

Now enough of this...we have a town in Oregon to infiltrate... Lets go!


Allison said...

There is a reason why the password for our cable account was 'Mick'.

It was the only name I was sure we'd both remember and have a laugh at.