Like I’ve said before, in my family, for holidays, for anything, we danced. I find myself now barely being able to dance, let alone move. We have the ipod on with one of my playlists. I am maudlin. I think it’s safe to drink wine. My cheeks are rosy, my body is trying to move and I am thinking and remembering – songs from my playlist
Tainted Love – Soft Cell
I knew about AIDS long before the general public. It was 1980 and Bobby O’Hara dumped me, again. For what he told me was another woman. I was working at the ubiquitous Izod, hating my job and my life. Gary G. was gay and sat next to me. He had been dumped too. He would sit next to me in the afternoons and sing Tainted Love. Little did I know how apt it was. Gary told me about AIDS and gave me condoms. He told me about this disease. Ah, the cart was before the horse. Bobby didn’t leave me for a woman but for a man. Poor closeted boy. Midway through 1985, Bobby had died of AIDS. I was safe though I didn’t know that for years. Tainted. Great way to get rid of unwanted attention and sometimes unfortunately wanted “My boyfriend died of AIDS”
Thunder Road – Bruce Springsteen
This song kept me going at least once. It’s one of my anthems. I grew up in Levittown. One summer I played it over and over. “It’s a town full of losers and I am pulling out of here to win” I always wanted to leave and never did. I used to see that road stretching out in front of me like a promise. Well, I guess I finally did leave.
Good Thing – Fine Young Cannibals
Kevin always changes his voice mail to music to reflect what was/is going on in his life. So things fell apart between us and Good Thing started showing up on his tape. I was his good thing. Lord, that man could dance. He had this incredible body. Life is all connected ’cause I took him to a party at Gary’s, didn’t tell him Gary was gay. The man spent the party in a corner with guys saying “ooh, who brought Nick Nolte?” Both of us can barely walk. He would never ever come for Thanksgiving even when we were together. I was his good thing and he has always been mine.
We just disagree – Dave Mason
“There’s only you and me and we just disagree”. My college love. I used to play this for him. I believe I bought the Boz Scaggs single, “It’s Over”. What a mean bitch I was. We are still friends.
Brown sugar – Rolling Stones
Terry Toni and I used to dance to this at frat parties, smells of weed, alcohol, hormones We would jump up like cheerleaders at the end, “yeah, yeah, yeah” the three of us. I see Toni on FB and she looks the same. I am close but changed. Terry and I can’t dance anymore. Terry used to shimmy and shimmer.
Trucking – the Dead
When I first heard it, I didn’t know it was the Dead. It was a band at Hopkins called Ocean Rose. This song is inextricably connected in my brain with the smell of magnolia and beer. I have always maintained that beer spilled on the earth smells like flowers. I guess it dates back to that time. I remember the innocence and along with the scent of flowers, the scent of possibilities.
America – Simon and Garfunkel
“I am empty and aching and I don’t know why” We all listened to Simon and Garfunkel. Our junior high school music teacher went to high school with them. America is different. We used it as a processional for Social Action Youth at the temple. A few years ago, I heard it again. The words resonate. Cars on the New Jersey Turnpike and blasting Bruce Springsteen and the speed limit.
LA Woman – The Doors
I was newly thirty and so in love. Kevin and I went to LA. We landed and were driving at sunset. This was playing on the radio. The air was warm, soft and glowing. I thought that this was what it was all about. See previous Kevin comments. Well, we are still friends but LA left us behind.
I’ve got a rock and roll heart – Eric Clapton
Yes, I am bad. I was having an affair with a married man. He fancied that he looked like Sean Connery. He wanted me more than I wanted him. I was with Kevin, see above. Yes, Kevin found out, was hurt and called his boss. Roger wanted to leave his wife and was promising me the world. What broke us up? I believe in this song. I have a rock and roll heart and knew he didn’t.
Diamonds on the soles of her shoes – Paul Simon
Kevin used to tell the dog, well it’s Paul Simon, we must be at Tres’s again. But this song, this song I associate mainly with someone else. Kevin and I were not working out after years together. I was so unhappy. (See another blog for more on this) My dad gave me money so I could take a cab. I was wearing patent leather flip flops with a rhinestone center. This song for me is drunk and happy. He was Irish. I brought him home for Thanksgiving. My mother said he was a transient. He left me. My father never said anything about the money.
Breakfast in Bed – Chrissy Hynde but originally Jamaican – Lorna Bennett Lorna Bennett
Ah, this is the beginning of my night life. Kingston, Jamaica 16 years old and this played everywhere. I went to night clubs with my cousins, boy cousins and girl cousins. I danced. I remember Epiphany, all black light with cocktail waitresses with wings and the scent of my cousin’s English Leather. Certain lines influence your life, or at least mine. This song, along with Faces “Stay with Me” became my mantra – “Breakfast in bed, you don’t have to say you love me”. Trying to understand why I felt that way at 16 before things in my life even started. “In the morning, don’t say you love me or I’ll only kick you out the door”. Shape of things to come. My beginnings
We didn’t get through the whole list. It is the soundtrack of my life. I am grateful for the music and for the insights it brings sometimes. I miss dancing but my legs still move and my heart still sings.