Entries in Music (11)
Even though The Candyman is called The Candyman here in bliggity blog land, he goes by a more common nickname amongst many-a-lady, my mother included, of Shuggah. Cuz he's sweet like that.
This song popped into my head this morning as I was making brunch for me and The Candyman. It perfectly describes why The Candyman is also known as Shuggah.
And seriously? Who doesn't love The Archies?
Probably the best 8 minutes of music televiosn, EVER! This is 8 years old and I still love it. Why? When all the ladies sing Chakka Khan's "Sweet Thing." LOVE. THAT. SONG.
I think there are commericals in this. I can't control that. They are only 20 seconds though. Sorry.
When Prince went on tour in 2004, I was living in Chicago. My brother was coming in to see me because I had scored rather good seats for the Prince concert and I wanted him to go with me. See in high school, there wasn't an inch of inside-locker-space that was plastered with Prince's face. Most of my bedroom was covered with him too, save for my Cure poster, my Fine Young Cannibals poster and The Smiths poster, natch. I also had my Harvey Edwards ballet framed print (I considered this very fancy, indeed) that I still own. It's hanging in my studio. I guess I'm still a 15 year old at heart.
Anyway, my brother was a FULL ON Dead Head in high school. Hair as long as mine is now; gorgeous, naturally curly locks that mimiced the costly spiral perms that were all the rage at the time. There was a lot of tie-dye happening. Anyway, ALL he listened to were The Dead. Different damn versions of the same fucking song over and over and over. God, I wanted to blast my brains out. Of course, he scoffed mightily at my musical selections. Prince was a faggot. Faggots only listened to Prince. And I'd be all, "Well then I guess I'm a fag then, because Prince freakin' ROCKS!" I'd storm off in my lace-up granny style boots, black fishnets and the gold lamé dress circa 1960 that I picked up at the consignment store. I'd stomp right into my room, slam in the cassette, hit play and CRANK that mini boom box, bitch. Parents be damned, we were going to listen to some MOTHER FUCKING PRINCE UP IN HERE.
A few years prior, my brother had come to Chicago with some chick he was seeing. She let the beans spill that my brother actually secretly LOVED Prince, but that he was too embarrassed to listen to him because of all his Dead Head buddiesor whatever. Stupid teenage shit. So the cat was out of the bag that Austin loved Prince and I thought it fitting we should go together.
The buzz-kill was that the DAY BEFORE the concert, the drummer's daughter passed away and the show was postponed for a future date. Alas, we did not get to go see Prince together. However, we did go to the Crosstown Classic instead: White Sox vs. The Cubs (GO CUBBIES!) at Wrigley Field (also the best baseball field EVER) and got bleacher seats that we paid WAY too much money for. We drank lemonade sluggers, cheered the Cubbies on to victory and went to see a live blues band. The trip was not a waste.
When Prince finally made it back to town, I took a girl I worked with, who incidently now lives here in Charlotte. And we're still friends. We got to our seats, all giddy. As soon as the lights went down and Prince stepped out on that stage? It's like I went zooming backwards in time and slammed right into my 15 year-old self. I think the same exact thing happened to my friend because we turned from the stage, looked at each other, clutched hands in some sort of weird solidarity and screamed at the top of our lungs. We screamed like the teenagers we felt like inside.
And it rocked.
No, not me. Puh-lease. I clearly passed that ages ago. But do you know who's turning 30 on Monday? MTV, that's who. THIRTY!
Wait. Thirty? You have got to be kidding me. I mean I feel like it wasn't all that long ago when I sat with my across-the-street neighbor Jeff and his younger sister Jenny, all of us cross-legged on his mom's king size water bed in anticipation of the first MTV video.
For those of you not in the know, MTV first aired on August 1st, 1981 at midnight. Midnight in NYC was 4pm in Kailua, Hawaii. Cable was new and there was no such thing as time delay.
I was always over at Jeff's house. His mom worked all the time and was never home. It was me, Jeff and Jenny and sometimes their older brother John. Jeff and John cooked dinner for themselves, which I thought was fascinating. Jeff taught me how to make banana bread from the bananas we picked out of his back yard. Jeff tutored me to the highest final exam grade in our Alegra class - even higher than him. Even higher than the smart kids who took special classes at the high school. Booya.
Jeff was the second boy I ever smooched, on a dare from his sister Jenny. The first boy was a creepy friend of my brother's. I was invited by his friends to play a game of Spin the Bottle at a party at our house (my mother, tucked discreetly and quietly back in her room). I thought I was with the Cool Older Kids. It turns out to be kinda weird playing Spin the Bottle with your brother there. Simply awkward. I got a nano-second smooch from the boy who was NOT Zane Syden, who was totally the boy I would have been happy to kiss. He was hot. But I smooched the creep and ran. I high-tailed it outta there, buddy.
But the kiss from Jeff was just more funny than anything else. It was a dare, in front of his sister Jenny, in the evening dark of my front yard. I have some strange memories of that moment: the hum of the TV playing inside my house. The tickle on my bare arm of the hibiscus plant leaf, a neat row of them growing up the length of our porch. I remember holding my breath, the smell of Jeff's warm, slightly oily skin and the flush on my face when we parted faces and laughed at ourselves. How brave we were and how silly his sister was for even thinking of daring us.
But all that happened after those first videos that aired on 8.1.81. We had just met, really. Our family moved onto their street that very summer. School hadn't started yet. We were still young enough to play outside all day. We weren't quite old enough to start getting into a little trouble, like stealing kisses on a dare. Or sneaking out into the street after our parents had long been sleeping, just to stand under the street light and whisper and try not to laugh too loudly. Sometimes his siblings were there, sometimes my brother came out too and the five of us would sit on Jeff's lava stone wall and just talk. Talk away the night- of what? I have zero recollection. No, that's not true. I remember talking about that all new girl band The Go-Go's....they all played their own instruments! COOL! And how super-cute Simon LeBon was, but like, totally not as cute as the boy Brooks who I had a totally rad crush of for like, all of eighth grade. Fer sure, like y'know?
The first video ever played on MTV was, as most people know, "Video Killed the Radio Star" by the Buggles. What most people can't seem to recall is the second. I always do. It was "You Better Run" by Pat Benatar. I remember sitting there with Jeff and Jenny watching this second video in awe. Pat Benatar was a woman and she was strong! Not a hippy like Janis Joplin or a country singer like Loretta Lynn or a folks singer like Linda Ronstadt. Pat Benatar was a Rock Star. My rock star. A rock star for the girls who wanted to be just as strong and fierce and as unabashedly wear red lipstick. Yeah, I wanted to be just like her. Still do.
I miss the innocence of that time in my life. Sometimes a little too much, methinks. But when I do, I just listen to a few songs from back then and that feeling fades. I listen to songs like "Saved by Zero" by The Fixx. "Time After Time" by Cyndi Lauper. "Sexy and 17" by The Stray Cats. "Girls on Film" by Duran Duran. "Love is a Battlefield" by Pat Benatar. "Open Arms" by Journey. I love those songs.
Today the TV is playing all kinds of crazy retro, 30 year old MTV clips on VH1 Classic. Martha Quinn was so cute. The music and the videos remind me of so much. It brings a smile to my face. It made me look up my friend Jeff on Facebook, just to see what he was up to. We've remained friends, though distant ones, after I left Hawaii in 1984. I kept up with him as I tended to do: an always-moving Marine Brat made me an excellent pen pal. Now Jeff is a tall, tan and chiseled athlete. He's successful and attractive and has been together with his partner Jeff, for longer than I can remember. Jeff and Jeff. It's kinda too cute.
This vintage TV has me in a remeniscent sort of fuzz today. I won't tell The Candyman though because he has no patience for my little girl tales, no patience for youthful longing. It's okay though, because it's the music that I need in times like this, nothing more. So in honor of these 30 years since that king sized water bed at Jeff's house, I give you the coolest chick I knew in 1981. Happy Birthday, MTV.
The Candyman is a Southerner, born (on this day 37 years ago) and bred. He’s lived outside of The South before, but never for long and not happily either. My roots are Southern, though I’ve lived all over the damn place. Both of my parents are from South Carolina. I was born in North Carolina. Family vacations were spent in Myrtle Beach. The Candyman spent summers on his uncle’s shrimping boat in Wilmington. I’ve wondered more than once if our paths ever crossed when we were younger. Did I ever go into the beach shop where he worked when he lived in Myrtle Beach? Did we ever stand in the same concession line at The Pavilion? Doubtful, but I like to think we did.
Today is my Southern Man’s birthday. I love birthdays. And Christmas. I get really excited about them and have to nudge The Candyman into that excitement at times. His family isn’t really big on all the gift giving. This is contrary to every belief I have about presents. Presents are a necessity. Big or small, inexpensive or fancy – it matters not. The gift of giving is big on my list of favorite things.
I’ll tell you what though, figuring out what to get for The Candyman is no easy task. He doesn’t like clothes with fancy labels or anything, so it’s not like he craves those. I can’t buy him ties or belts or anything other than socks, boxers and t-shirts because he can be rather picky. He doesn’t wear or like jewelry. He doesn’t read for leisure because he reads constantly for his job. He likes food. He likes music. I’ve already given him an iPod, dinners out….it’s tough to find new stuff that he doesn’t need. No one wants freakin’ socks for their birthday.
So this morning I gave The Candyman his present. A banjo.
What? Doesn’t every guy want a banjo?
It’s a used Oscar Schmidt, but it’s in pretty good shape. The Candyman plays by ear, which amazes me as I am one who has to play note by note off of sheet music that sits right in front of my face. This morning, The Candyman and I sat in bed as he immediately just started picking away, saying, “I’m not sure how to do this” all the while playing a tune. I’m all, “Sounds like you know just fine!”
The Candyman loves bluegrass, so I figured it was time he had a banjo. I mean, he’s already got a dobro. Why not just add to the collection of Things The Candyman Can Play? We’re starting to run out of room now though.
Maybe we should have a couple of kids so we can start our own bluegrass band? Or maybe not. At any rate, please help me wish The Candyman the happiest of birthdays.
Love you, babe!