Saturday, February 23, 2013

How Soon is Now?

Jose Maldonado spinning and "reeling round the fountain"

There's a Club and You'd Like to Go
Sunday night I had this strange desire to go out. Perhaps I was inspired in the knowledge that Morrissey is in Los Angeles recovering from his ulcer and Barrett's Esophagus  Now, I have been married for nearly ten years and I can honestly say that during these ten years I have never really wished to go to a club. I love going to see bands, you probably know this (one particular singer as well), but I'm a late bloomer. I didn't even get married until the age of thirty-eight. Up until that time I went out every single weekend. So as far as clubs, it just doesn't usually appeal to me. However, I heard about a Smiths/Morrissey night at The Echo in Hollywood and I thought it might be a fun place for me to go. I mean, Jose Maldonado, who is the singer of The Smiths tribute band, Sweet and Tender Hooligans was the DJ. He also hosts the Indie103 radio show, Breakfast with The Smiths. Who better?

 I wanted dance to "Sing Your Life," which I kept playing over and over again in my mini van as I dropped kids off to school and swim practice. Even better, when at the club, I would be with other Morrissey fans rather than sarcastic kids rolling their eyes when I attach my iphone to the car speakers. "Morrissey? Again?"

The seed of attending began to sprout in my brain and I recalled an evening in which Roland and I tried to go to a bar where Jose was spinning records one night months ago and it was in downtown Los Angeles. I know, I probably watch too many crime shows and documentaries so Roland was not at all surprised at my observations about that part of town. It was seemingly desolate except for the club, and I noted that there were many convenient dumpsters in hidden alleyways. "Convenient" for dumping bodies.

I tweeted this fact to Jose and he suggested having security escort me from the parking lot if I was too fearful. You see, Roland has even less interest in clubs than I do and before I could even suggest it, he fell asleep.Therefore, I was devoid of a male escort. I wasn't sure if it was a great idea to go after all. I planned to leave at 10, giving me plenty of time to get to Hollywood from the OC.

You Can Meet Somebody Who . . .
There is the imaginary barrier dividing the the OC from Los Angeles which I call (and many others) the Orange Curtain. We (Orange County people) have realistic and unrealistic fears of "the big city." For example, once not too long ago I was sucked into a conversation with a man wearing a Spiderman costume showing me random pictures of dogs he encountered and  mumbled "Kill, kill, kill" under his breath. Its a little unsettling to most of us suburban dwellers.

I have also seen Jesus just outside the Comedy Club on Sunset and believe me, Jesus would not hang out in the OC!

So You Go
Since my husband was asleep and two of the kids, I figured no one would especially notice my departure, except Jovanny, who was very excited for me. So I put on some make up so it would look like I went to some trouble to get ready, but most clubs are dark caverns anyway, so I figured if I didn't look like a supermodel, no one would notice.

Having been brought up Catholic, and therefore born with a guilty conscience, I wrote a  note to Roland and stuck it to the bathroom mirror letting him know where I was when he woke up (if he were confused).
My note of guilty conscience
The ride to Los Angeles was joyous as it was empty and devoid of anyone except for me so I blared "Sing Your Life" and "My Love Life." I could have driven clear to San Francisco.

I discovered when I arrived that The Echo was not the scary, desolate place I had confused with the bar in downtown LA, so no security person was required as an escort.

And You Stand on Your Own
After I paid the $10 to get in, I ordered a drink and then wandered around. It was pretty large and  as I walked in Jose was playing "How Soon is Now," a little later he played "Sing Your Life" which had me on the dance floor. I got some photos of Jose and some of the patrons. I tried to find people who had tried to look like Morrissey and I found some but the pictures didn't come out so well since it was so dark and the flash is too strong. It tends to blind people.
Dancing to The Smiths

Lounging Smiths/Morrissey Fans
I felt kind of shy so I didn't particularly speak to anyone. I also knew that I'd be leaving soon. If I had a group of friends there, I might stay longer but I did not have the energy to meet people for the first time. 

But there were quite a few people on the dance floor and the music was of course, great since it was music I love. Jose interspersed Morrissey and Smiths songs with other great 80s (and perhaps some 90s) music-like Iggy Pop's "Lust for Life." Jose doesn't just spin records, he also dances which is fun to watch as it reminds me of spinning records in my own living room when no one was home as a teenager. Honestly, I don't get out much so if every DJ dances around, then I suppose I should not be surprised.

I wanted my picture with a Morrissey cut out but the people in charge would not let me take a picture with my own camera. So they offered to take a picture of me with the 2 dimensional Morrissey but I have no idea how the picture came out or where it may appear some day.
More spinning

And You Leave on Your Own
After getting enough pictures, I left. It takes about 35 minutes on the freeway to get home with no traffic.

I know it sounds anti-climatic and boring if you are a night owl to be home by 12:30, but I had a good time and I would definitely go again, but I would bring a friend or else be in a more outgoing mood. Sometimes I worry that being out going could be confused with flirting and that might be embarrassing for someone.

And You Go Home
When I arrived the house was dark and Roland was still asleep in his clothes with his contacts in as I had left him-obviously he had never even wakened!

Jose Maldonado is the host of Breakfast with The Smiths which airs Sunday mornings and Wednesday mornings on Indie 103. He also spins records occasionally in clubs like The Echo in the LA area. If you have the chance to see The Sweet and Tender Hooligans you should go, they are amazing and its always a good night out!!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

These Things Take Time

Me singing into a CLEAN toilet brush 1990, Dublin (most likely singing to The Smiths)
So, I went to Chicago last week. I took Thursday and Friday off, and went to stay with my friend Alicia-who I lived with in Ireland all those many years ago-and little did I know that the gig was postponed until I landed at Chicago O'Hare.

Yes, it was cold. My desert skin felt it. Perhaps it sensed my impending doom:

As you know, Morrissey had to postpone the Chicago gig set for Saturday and also had to cancel the Flint, Michigan gig he was due to perform at on Thursday evening because of  a bleeding ulcer and other ailements.
Alicia 1990 (probably singing to American Music Club or REM)

I didn't mind. I haven't seen Alicia in at least a year and even then it was a brief dinner with us here while she was interveiwing for jobs. I think she was actually relieved that there was no gig. She needed a night off from her hectic existence. She is completing a new book, teaching writing at a university, taking care of a four-year-old and a two-year old and maintaining a relationship with her partner. Whew!! Needless to say, she was glad to have someone else there to lend a helping hand.
Alicia now
I met Alicia over twenty years ago in a small office at the University of London, Senate House where we were oddly placed in the same place. I remember filing things my first day and her first question was, "What do you want to do?" (meaning with your life probably) and my answer was to be a writer. Her answer was the same and unlike me she actually became a writer. Alicia had her first novel made into a movie called "Towelhead," directed by Alan Ball, several years ago.

I won't say what became of me except you might gather what happened given that Alicia's writing novels and memoirs and here I am writing a measly blog that I hope somebody in the universe reads!

But nevermind, being with Alicia is strange because I just slip into our relationship which basically picks up where it ended a year ago and several years before that. I think this may be because we had such an intense experience when we moved to Ireland after we met in London.  It is not adivsable to live in Dublin, Ireland with virtually no money or decent job prospects in the early 90s. People thought we were crazy. If only I'd been given a penny for every time someone asked, "What are you doing looking for work here? My brothers and cousins left here to find work in America."  Yet, we were determined to make it work. It was a tragi-comedy if there ever was one.

It sounds kind of selfish to say it was fine for me not to attend the concert, but  poor old Moz was lying around in a hospital having tubes shoved down his throat and having all manner of tests done. There was nothing I could realistically do for him and I had to make the most of it.

Me and Anne (do you like my hat?)
I have another friend who lives in Rockford, just out of Chicago. Her name is Anne and she also teaches college-although she has been on medical leave for a while now. Anne is originally from Taiwan and we became pen pals when we were sixteen. Since that time, Anne has been married and had a son who is now fourteen and she has a new man in her life at this point. I was lucky enough to be able to have lunch with them.

All in all, my trip to Chicago was somewhat simplified by NOT seeing Morrissey. It would have been great, and I was a bit sorry, but it simply gave me time. Just time that I could never have if I had not dreamed of seeing Morrissey perform.

So, not long after I arrived back here in Cali, Morrissey issued a statement:

The reports of my death have been greatly understated. Once admitted to the William Beaumont Hospital at Royal Oak in Michigan, I received treatment for concussion, a bleeding ulcer, and Barrett's esophagus. The positive from all of this is that there are now no known ailments left for me to try.

I am fully determined to resume the tour on February 9 at the Chelsea Ballroom in Las Vegas. If there's an audience of any kind in attendance, I just might die with a smile on my face, after all. If I am not there, I shall probably never again be anywhere.
Equally, I am determined to play Flint (Michigan) if it kills me (which, on the face of it, it almost has.)
Thank you to everyone present at both Brooklyn (New York) and Melbourne (Australia) during recent weeks for two of the best nights of what might charitably be termed my "career". My debt to you will outlive time itself.
pause at my headstone,
31 January 2013.

With the mention of Morrissey playing in Las Vegas the old rusty wheels in the brain started spinning and suddenly Roland and I were planning a much deserved weekend getaway to Las Vegas. 

Yet, just yesterday afternoon, we learned that due to doctor's orders Morrissey cannot play Las Vegas this weekend. 

Okay, I'm disappointed. Truly. But Roland and I are still going to Las Vegas. It doesn't mean we can't get away and spend some quality time together. We will attend some other show and return to Las Vegas when Morrissey reschedules. Why not make the most of it?

I swear,  I am one of the most sarcastic people you'll ever meet. Pollyanna is not my name by a long shot. I rarely see the silver lining. But I feel like in some ways the journey to see Morrissey has allowed me to spend some much-needed time with important people in my life. Had I not planned on going to his concerts, I would not have created the opportunity to make these plans. 

Also, when I think about how Morrissey must feel, I think he must be just as disappointed. Very few people in existence know the stress of having to let down so many people-to have so many expecting something that you cannot deliver. It has to be frustrating for him. And stressful. But I think with his medical issue, the best thing is to give it TIME.

It seems inappropriate to thank Morrissey for getting sick so I won't but making plans and not being able to follow through has turned out to have created some great memories.