Sunday, April 16, 2006

"It's time to face what you most fear, Right Guard will not help you here..."

So Friday evening I rang Rodney to thank him for the huge parcel of FunMail, and as usually happens when the two of us get to gabbing, the evening ran well into the night--over four hours of non-stop laughter! We reminisced about our time together in college, and caught each other up on what we'd heard our peers had been up to since we all graduated.

And we reminisced about all the shows we saw together: Dementia Precox, The Highwaymen, Guided by Voices, True Believers, The Rainmakers, Skinny Puppy at Bogarts when the band was arrested and a cop hit Rodney with a billy club as we tried to exit the building...

But the one that stands out in our minds as the best, craziest show we ever saw together was the first one we went to together: The Dead Kennedys at The Jockey Club.

Rodney didn't know a lot about the band, other than what he heard being blasted in my car whenever we were buzzing around Dayton, but he was game for anything that might prove a spectacle. The pair of us coerced fellow art student Tom into riding along with us to the show. Tom was new to the area, having spent the past several years living in California, and we reckoned that if the concert got out of hand he'd be able to "protect us," since he was a veteran of the Cali metal scene and had attended countless Venom, Motorhead, Metallica and Slayer shows unscathed.

It's always good to bounce remembrances around with an old friend, because time lessens the vividity of memory after twenty years. Together however, we talked about the show as if it had only happened last week:

The glass-strewn parking lot near the club
the frightening array of humanity surging into the derelict building
the Nazi punks in the corner, trying unsuccessfully to burn an American flag
Tom fretting that he was going to get a shitkicking for wearing a Motorhead t-shirt
Rodney lamenting the fact that he wasn't the biggest freak there ("I've lost my Glow!" he kept telling us)
Jello emerging from stage left wearing a bright orange three-piece suit and rubber surgeon gloves
Jello stripping down to next to nothing within five minutes--and he had shaved his chest hair into stripes, which we all thought was really cool
the astonishment that the rest of the band looked really normal (I thought Klaus Flouride was HOT!)
Fosters lager in oilcans being lobbed all over the place
part of the ceiling crumbling onto a very stoned chick slumped against a wall
me in my black Chucks and thrift store army green, the right side of my head shaved into a checkerboard of hot pink and orange
the grimy tiled floor
the standoff between some white supremist skinheads and the crowd because of black drummer DH Peligro
a very violent moshpit that even Tom wasn't keen on venturing into, after seeing several battered and bloodied punks staggering out with broken noses, their clothing in shreds
the rumble of the bassline kicking off "Holiday In Cambodia"
the sea of bodies swirling as East Bay Ray's guitar screeched out wicked surf-punk...

By the time we exited the building that hot May night, we looked as though we'd been swimming with our clothes on.

My god, how could we ever forget?

Friday, April 14, 2006

"Can't wait to hear the sound of your laughter, time and distance never matter..."

When we were in college together, Rodney and I used to cram each other’s campus mailboxes full of FunMail. FunMail could be anything we found that amused us, anything we made that amused us, or anything that we thought would amuse the other. As long as it was amusing and could be shoved into the small campus box, it was game.

It was not surprising for me to find things like glitter-filled pantyhose, handmade buttons, oddly shaped twigs, hand-drawn cartoons and poetry scribbled on torn bits of colored paper and safety-pinned together, nearly deflated balloons filled with paint, humorous stories written in his distinctive scrawl, a small box of hair, Barbie Doll arms, a bottle-cap lined in cork with a tiny picture of a kitten stamped inside, and even comic books with all the “talk bubbles” whited out and new, Rod-approved phrases penned in.

One year, unbeknownst to me, he signed us up for the Big Boy Birthday Club. I was delighted to receive a Big Boy Decoder Card, and for some time afterwards all of the notes we stuffed into each other’s campus boxes was written in Secret Big Boy Code.

After graduation he moved to San Francisco and became something of a starving artist. Not deterred by a lack of funds for postage, he set about signing me up for all sorts of free, wacky magazines and brochures. I always knew he was behind my getting things like “The Chickenboy Catalog for a Perfect World” and “Ruby Montana’s Pinto Pony” because my Secret Big Boy Name was on the label.

It’s unfortunate that I do not have access to my camera this week (as hubby has it with him) because I have just received the largest FunMail parcel ever! The bulging priority envelope was decorated with loads of hand-drawn characters, Barbie tape, action hero glitter stickers and wacky poetry. Inside were alternative newspapers, loads of vegetarian menus from around SanFran, art happenings, and several CDs wrapped in eye-blinding vivid paper, including one of his own band, Minnie Pearl Necklace.

He wrote across the parcel in small pen “This is to entice you to visit me, my dear….”

Maybe this will be the year I make it out there to see him. It’s been 15 years since we last hugged.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

"Bottle of wine, fruit of the vine, when you gonna let me get sober?"

The bacchanalia began next door with a variety of organic grapes and cheeses, accompanied by beaujolais and gewurztraminer. I had been the last to arrive and nearly missed out on the delicious Roquefort. We stood in a circle in the kitchen, wineglasses in hand, nibbling our way through the cheese board, listening to Mingus and laughing as their fluffy black labradore (the evil Mooch) scoured the floor for stray crumbs.

By the time we sat down for the soup course we'd already polished off a couple of bottles, which in turn mottled the stimulating conversation with glimmers of hilarity.

The menu: Mushroom Soup -- Cotes-du-Rhone and Australian Shiraz
Salad -- Reisling Spatlese
Eggplant and Potato Curry/Tarragon Chicken -- Chateneauf-de-Pape, gewurztraminer, whatever was left on the table
Little Cheesecakes -- late harvest zinfandel and muscadet
After dessert wine -- Preston Zinfandel

Hubby was sorely missed, but that didn't stop us from laughing mightily at his expense--memories of last year's Derby Day still fresh enough to provide a mountain of mirth. There were eight of us, and over the course of five hours we polished off 13 bottles of wine.

Surprisingly, I was not hung over this morning, although emails from the neighbors confirmed that they were quietly suffering, and The Purcells admitted that "things were fuzzy all morning."