Let’s Dance


I’m always down for dancing.

Except.

When I’m not.

David Bowie has passed.

I am listening to his last album, Black Star, as I type.

And.

Thinking about the crush I had on him in high school.

Along with.

Yes.

Wait for it.

Sting.

And.

Mikhail Baryshinikov.

Oh.

And let me not forget Michael Hutchence from INXS.

Good lord.

There was something about David Bowie, though.

My first album of his is not the one most folks would have chosen.

Never Let Me Down.

From his Glass Spider tour.

I have absolutely no recollection why I bought that one, but it makes sense, time wise for me.

That must have been when I had my Columbia Record House membership.

Ha!

Remember those?

I remember how exciting it was to get that package of tapes in the mail.

I mean, talk about waiting for something with baited breath.

I don’t remember all the albums I got, but David Bowie’s Never Let Me Down was in there, also INXS; Sting’s Dream of The Blue Turtles: REM’s Out of Time; Madonna’s Like A Prayer; and I am completely unabashed to admit this one, hahahaha, Simply Red.

Oh.

Good gravy.

There were others, I am sure.

Now that I have had a moment to reflect on it, I bet I got the David Bowie after watching The Breakfast Club:

And these children that you spit on, as they try to change their world, are immune to your consultations.  They’re quite aware of what they’re going through.

Granted, that quote is from Changes, but if I recall, you couldn’t always get the album you wanted from Columbia Record House, they didn’t have the entire discography of the artist.

It was sort of, you get what we got, and that might be why I had the Simply Red Album.

Or.

Gah.

Complete honesty.

I think I saw a video on VH1 that was on somebody’s cable when I was baby sitting and I was attracted to the lead singer?

Oh.

I had my moments.

I still do.

I don’t think I was the only girl in the world with a crush on Mick Hucknall when it comes down to it, but I may be the only woman currently willing to admit it.

I also had a minor crush on Thomas Dolby.

I was lucky in some ways, now that I think of it, I got exposed to interesting music and then I also dated guys that were into music and I got a lot of exposure to bands and groups that I probably wouldn’t have.

I am thinking of one boyfriend in particular.

Although he did not expose me to any music in general, he was the person I thought of when I heard that David Bowie had died.

His name was John.

John Morgan.

I have looked for this guy a few times, owe him an amends as it were, and probably a hug.

Never found him anywhere.

But.

He was a love.

Someone that in hindsight I loved so much more than I realized and also some one whom I was not capable of being with.

I just had too much shit happening in my life.

My sister, homeless, pregnant, her felon (ex)husband, my niece, my crazy dad, my crazy mom.

And crazy me.

I had met John on State Street in front of the arcade Challenges.

It was right next to the coffee shop Espresso Royale.

I have many fond memories of sitting in that coffee shop drinking vanilla lattes and smoking cigarettes.

Gah.

I had my tastes.

Thank God they have changed.

I don’t know how I struck up the conversation with John.

I don’t remember.

I do remember his eyes were blue, he was a little on the heavy side, but not fat, just solid, big, he smoked, but he tended to roll his own cigarettes and yes, indulge in a pipe.

Affectation anyone?

But I found it adorable.

And he smoked cherry tobacco.

He was a virgin when we met.

Not for long.

Oh.

The stories.

There’s a lot of them.

But.

He was a dear, kind, sweet soul, who went above and beyond, helping me out in some tight places and also loaning my sister and her ex money.

If you know a John Morgan from Cambridge, let him know I’d like to pay him that money back.

I hated asking for it.

It was to bail out my sister’s ex.

They ended up jumping bail and leaving John sitting with the bag.

I didn’t do much better.

I broke up with him and then left and hit the road with his room mate and traveled down to Florida.

Where things got even weirder.

And all this when I was 19.

Sometimes I wonder that I made it out alive.

Living, squatting really, in a house on Monroe Street with my dad, who was gainfully in his cups and dating the daughter of the woman who owned the house (who was younger than me, ew dad) who was an alcoholic, self-admitted, who slopped around in house slippers and would drink her beer in a sippy cup with a straw.

Patty!

Oh my God.

I can’t believe I remember these names.

And the daughter’s name was Faith.

Of course it was.

And her brother Noah, an alcoholic, psychotic who would constantly bum cigarettes from you.  He was like a honing device, anyone, anywhere, in that house, from the second floor to the basement who might, might, have had a cigarette, he was there, slouched up right next to them.

“Can I bum a smoke, man?”

He was always damp, with a shank of dark hair that would fall into his eyes, and his eyes were dark, pale skin, five o’clock stubble at all times.

Yes.

Of course I slept with him.

I was drunk.

And it was one time.

And.

That never happened again.

I digress.

John bailed my ex brother in law out of jail and I broke up with him when I demanded more from him than he could give.

I had this unreasonable idea, too much reading the Princess Bride, too much, or too little, I suppose, patterning of relationships on my mom and missing dad, of what love looked like.

It did not look like this sweet kid who gave me socks for my birthday.

“Socks?!”  I was appalled when I opened the package.

“You gave me socks,” I almost hollered.

“You don’t have any,” he said baffled, the pleased with himself look fading off his face rather fast.

“I just thought, you must have cold feet all the time,” he added, now chagrined and blushing furiously.

“My feet are not cold.” I said and stuffed the socks down in my bag.

(My birthday, mind you, is in December and I was living in Wisconsin, and it’s not exactly warm there, my feet were probably always cold.)

I remember the color of the socks, I remember the feel of them, they were expensive and heavy and wool and had multi-colored stripes.

I threw them away.

(Aside, that just made me tear up, poor girl, being offered love, not knowing how to take it, spitting on it, not knowing what this was, this kind of sweet regard and tender taking care of.  I had never had it.  How was I to realize what was being offered?)

I break my own heart.

Then break his.

Then leave for months and not tell anyone where I am going.

Then.

Oh.

It just keeps getting better.

I end up homeless outside of Miami, Florida with some crazy low level hill billy mafia crack head who was nine years older than me and was named.

Oh.

God.

Billy Ray.

I do not make this shit up.

Long and short of it.

Which it was.

Horribly long and thank God, awfully short too.

Billy freaked out on me, threatened to kill me, and basically I hitch hiked to a Greyhound station with a paycheck from a gas station/convenience store I had worked at for a week in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.

This blog is getting long.

But goodness, there is so much rich material here.

David Bowie.

Get back to David Bowie.

Right.

I made it back to Madison, I was crashing on the couch at my mom’s house, my sister had just had a baby, it was not good, my mom’s room mate was not happy, it was a bad idea to try and stay with my dad at Patty’s, but I did for a couple of nights, and then my sister tells me about the plan.

Stripping.

Let me just say this.

I did it.

One time.

It did not go well.

I did it to a medley of David Bowie songs.

Blue Jean.

China Girl.

And.

Let’s Dance.

By the time I was at Let’s Dance the top was coming off.

The floor was black and sticky on the stage, the lights were hot, John was there for moral support.

We got back together for a weekend.

His face in the club, a halo of blond hair, his spectacles pushed up the bridge of his nose, his blue eyes wide watching me.

It is one thing to dance for your boyfriend, ex-boyfriend, in the warm afternoon light of a flat on E. Johnson Street with David Bowie crooning in the back ground.

It is quite another to do it at Visions Night Club on East Washington Street.

I remember him mouthing “smile” at me.

I remember not being able to take any of the money being held out to me.

I remember a lot more.

But.

Like I said.

The blog.

She gets long.

All the things I used to do that I don’t do any more.

All the music, the soundtrack to that wrecked part of my life.

David Bowie.

Thanks for the memories.

And.

All the glorious music.

It made my life.

Somehow.

Less.

Tragic.

And always.

Always.

More.

Beautiful.

 

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