Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It's the End, the End of the 70s

It's the End, the End of the Century

"You can't take yourself so seriously," she said.

And I stared at her, thought of her rituals. The way she tapped the end of the cigarette. The way she flipped open the Zippo. The way the smoke curled around her like a wispy castanet.

I wanted to say something about the musical lines of her neck and the perfect tonic chord of her breasts. But instead I started ranting about media consolidation. And how radio had died but we didn't want to realize it, so it kept marching like a zombie, desperate for brains and unwilling to recognize it was no longer among the living.

And she smiled, took a long drag on the cigarette, then turned and exhaled it out the window. Where it floated upwards, past other tiny apartments like the one we were in.

"I don't remember radio," she said.

And I realized my memories of radio were third-hand. Not the Alan Freeds, not the Wolfmen Jack, but the ones influenced by them. The ones who'd slowly sell off their vinyl collection and get jobs in finance while the radio stations they once called home were swallowed up by conglomerates, programmed by consultants who'd never set foot in the market, and prerecorded to eliminate the need for even the most underpaid of disk jockeys.

I thought of listing the fourteen songs I knew with her name in the title. Or the 10 bands I'd seen that came from her home state. Or the 8 singer/songwriters her toes reminded me of (leaving out the fact that big toes never remind me of anyone).

But instead, I told her this: "I had a dream that John Lennon wasn't killed. And he wrote a song for the Ramones after they bonded about all having been held at gunpoint by Phil Spector. Lennon's song finally gave the Ramones the hit single they'd been dreaming of for all their lives. A real smash pop song."

And she stubbed out the cigarette, unzipped the knee-hi brown leather boots she'd been wearing and said "You think too much. Even in your dreams you think too much."


Jeff said...

Loved this story. Keep on keepin' on!

jb said...

Damn, this is brilliant. Well done. Thanks a lot.