Meet Sunshineblonde

By Sunshineblonde

I was asked months ago to be part of the Rhi-Post and I was so excited about it. I had planned on whipping out a quick piece to contribute to the first edition. However, for the first time in my life, I had writers block! For anyone who knows me knows that I always
have something to say and have a hard time staying quiet! It was so strange to feel like I had nothing to say. I think about it now and wonder if it was stress induced writers block caused by my job? I will never know for sure. I first thought about writing a column
dealing with things in the medical field, since that is what I do. I have extensive medical knowledge and thought about doing some sort of Q & A. I decided to scrap that idea.
BORING!

One thing I would like to do is give you a brief run down on my life. My story starts as a child raised in a Pentecostal home with loving parents, who I thought were way too strict. For crying aloud….I could not even own a radio! Friends tell me that I really did
live like the kids in the movie Footloose! My dad’s mother was a preacher. I married young unfortunately. I lived a rough life as a married woman. I was emotionally and physically abused. I think that was the worst part of my life. It was worse than living
with an alcoholic right after I divorced. Yeah, I made bad man choices. I own up to it. Hell, I had two major tragedies happen to me at age 17, so I guess I can understand what happened. Let’s see…I was raped at age 17 by my boyfriend/future husbands best friend.
The worst thing though at age 17 was finding out I was born without a uterus and would never have children naturally. What the hell! A real self-esteem buster.

Enough of the drama! One thing that is very important to me in life is music. No matter what I have gone through in life, it has been my lifesaver. Nothing beats the feeling you
get when you hear a loved song. You close your eyes…..tilt your head back and just soak in the feelings the words and the music fill your head with. I feel lucky in the fact that I like so many genres of music. Some people do not give everything a chance and I feel
sorry for them. Open up your mind and hearts people! Get to know new music and new people. I do not know what my next entry will be for the Rhi-Post. I think I will take it as it comes. Maybe I will talk about how I recently decided that I am a Pansexual. I was
tired of everyone else trying to label me, so I found my own label instead. For those of you who do not know, a pansexual is considered “gender blind” and loves a person for the person they are and not their gender. I guess that is it until next time!

Here are a few songs I like. Enjoy!
Austra – “Lose It”:  http://youtu.be/k1b3fCr8Co0
Matt & Kim Album Sidewalks- Silver Tiles: http://youtu.be/sMgO235XsEw
Sick of Sarah “Overexposure”: http://youtu.be/Z1RZOMu2nhk
Hunter Valentine – Revenge **UNCUT, Explicit Version: http://youtu.be/QA_sqJwza9U

Sunshineblonde

Twitter: @Sunshineblonde8
Gmail: Sunshineblonde8173@gmail.com

Rebel Without A Pause

 by Butch Rosser, DJBrotherDarkness
s1s5: Girl Talk, About The Passion

“The best ideas are common property.”
–Seneca

“I can’t tell you what it really is
I can only tell you what it feels like.”
–Marshall Mathers

I’m halfway to slumped over in a chair, and I literally have no idea what’s possessing me after what I’ve seen and done tonight to keep me upright and conscious to spit this out in the dark of the night other than the fact I’m a vampire. All I know is what it feels like:

like some celestial bully took my ribcage and shook it upside down for lunch money, a process that started some 7 hours ago and shows no signs of abating
like John Cena slammed a chair full-speed between my shoulderblades when my back was turned in front of 15,000 strong at a Monday Night Raw
like my eyes don’t have an X and Y axis but’re rather marbles being fiddled by a nervous suspect in a precinct
like my jaw will never hinge again
like every single part of my legs from the Calvin Kleins down is hanging on by mere strings and no longer full tendons
like a goat headbutted me in my right ankle

There’s so much to remember. So much.

I remember staggering out of that little sweatbox having completely sweated through my Word Life tee, using the rail as a support and then when that was gone, just staggering through the little oddly boxed lobby. I can only assume I looked like a non-functional alcoholic. Confetti (from either the 2nd or 3rd drop, like I can even remember) was falling off of my head, and I was reaching up to my forehead to knock off the couple pieces that’d adhered there because of the sweat. I saw a friend of mine and we both smiled gratefully at each other before dodging hugging, and even the shaking of hands to grasp each other’s wrists with the circumferences of our wrists. She’s an awesome human being and I think under other circumstances we could’ve caught up with a fine conversation. She walked away into the night. My mouth felt like I’d been chasing cotton balls with spiderwebs. I let her keep going.

She was merely the third female friend I’d lost in the chaos up to that point over the course of a couple of hours, and that was nothing compared to outside.

Outside.

I think I might remember this above everything else. Maybe forever.

People looked flat-out stunned. Desperate searches for friends were on. A couple of enterprising bakers were just a skoch downstream selling wares, profitting off chaos, the American Dream’s cousin the Captialist Nightmare. People had lost their clothes, their shoes, some their shirts. A young man in a ripped shirt was pissing between parked cars. Someone was on the pavement face-up, a disoriented smile on their face. Those who could coalesced into vehicles and fled the scene.

As for me? I ran into two other friends. I think I said something in English to them. I’m not sure. I staggered into the night for Powerade, the hookup I can’t quite shake of beverages; something I deride and insult openly in public when opportunity presents itself but a time or two (or three or four or…) a year I find myself sucking it down like Keith Richards finding a barbituate in St. Tropez in 1971. Tonight was one of those times. I felt it. I saw it in the barely more than waking dead that were clogging the roads, parking spaces, and greedily devouring bear claws. I needed that Powerade something fierce. Despite having a healthy dinner that covered all of the major four food groups (meat, cheese, fries, milkshake) I felt like I’d fired the biggest round of my sexual life all over Scarlett Johansson’s chest four times in succession. And it suddenly occured to me as I staggered out of 7/11 for my first walk of the evening (the one where I wouldn’t be stunned into silence over the thrill of it all for 45 minutes straight with the only soundtrack being cars passing and my own footfall) that what remaining brain cells that were still firing had all only one thought:

Yeah.

That Girl Talk show was rigoddamnmotherfuckingdonkuawesome.

I talked a bit about personal musical heroes in my last missive. I will be doing so again here, but with a bigger one in this instance.

I am to Girl Talk what Bell Biv Devoe is to New Edition. I am the Kourtney and Khloe to his Kim, the suicide attempts to his Rebecca Black video. Without him, my life as I know it would be exactly not that.

Let me elucidate.

A little over four years ago I was drifting aimlessly through life just having been divested of my corporate employment in which for some reason it was important that I looked like an extra from Shining Time Station while I gave out information and fetched the door. Not the Playboy Mansion of jobs, I admit, but it put money in my wallet and for the first time in a while gave me a reason to have a wallet. I don’t remember who hipped me to it, exactly: I think my friend Michael had seen something on Pitchfork about it. He asked me if I’d heard Girl Talk. I said I had no idea who they were. He told me they was a he. For a second, I briefly thought he was running the Who/the Band/Yes game at me. He then confessed what for him was a rarity: he’d been listening to this Girl Talk in succession for days in a row at the expense of the rest of his catalogue. Michael (or whomever) never did this. I asked him “Well, what sort of style is this Girl Talk?”

There was silence. I thought my modem had died out on me. This was also in the dark days pre-Wikipedia.

Michael said to me after this pause “It sounds like everything ever.”

Since I am a vampire, and the farthest thing from tied down at this writing, that may’ve been the most important thing anybody’s ever said to me. Not the most beautiful, not the funniest, but the most important. Those five words set off a Chinese fire drill in my head. Questions sprung to mind so fast you would’ve thought I was the Riddler’s dry-cleaner in the late sixties. The $64,000 apex of which was: how the fuck could music sound like everything ever? Music belonged to PLACES, categories, boxes one could check off if they were so quiz—

–that’s when it hit me. I had what were the vague stirrings of what music that sounded like everything ever sounded like. ONCE.

I’d walked out of work with my Walkman (I told this happened a long time ago) set to my favorite local rock station. I was picking out a CD when it happened. I still remember the exact block downtown it happened on, especially since it’s under three minutes away from my current place of employment. I was listening to Eric B. & Rakim.

How the hell was this local rock station playing Eric B. & Rakim? How the hell was anybody playing Eric B. & Rakim on a Saturday night? Had I died in my sleep and I was walking in heave–that’s when it happened. I heard Jack White singing.

Eric B. & Rakim were still going on in the background.

Pieces of my brain were being picked up by homeless people in a four-block radius for the rest of the month. It was My Doorbell. It was Paid In Full,

Simply put, it was Party Ben’s Pump Up The Doorbell.

It was the first mashup I’d ever heard. It was crack-level addictive, and the fact he’d mixed two of my favorite songs (currently, at that time, and ever (forever ever, forever ever)) sure upped the dosage. I staggered into my favorite bar at the time with my flabber in a state of gasted to the nth. I tried tuning in again. I never heard that program again, and wouldn’t hear that mashup again for almost two years. But it laid dormant, like a splinter in my mind, driving me mad. It was that splinter Michael had accidentally grazed when he’d said what he said.

Journalism majors don’t get to be journalism majors by letting sleeping dogs lie, at least the good ones don’t.

I asked him to send it to me.

I knew it was called Night Ripper. It should’ve been renamed what it was: a 16-song long red pill. It was the familiar wrapped and undercut with the unfamiliar. What the White Stripes & Rakim (as I had thought of it as the time) had merely flirted with me for four minutes, this album would grab me, throw me into the bushes, and ride me like a dime story pony for the better part of an hour, leaving me a gasping, disoriented, but ultimately happy mess.

If only Powerade had been around.

Once the shock went away, I listened to it, and relistened to it. It was like being a Simpsons addict, something I knew all too well: you had the main level jokes, but if you paid attention in the background and had a history of things that happened in the show, it was like finding easter eggs. Hell, this happened so long ago I’m not sure those DVD treats were even called that at that point. But that was it. That was what took hold. It turned it from a splinter to Jack Torrance feng shuing a door at the Overlook, so far as my hard drive and future were concerned. I ran online and started looking up Eric B & Rakim and the White Stripes. And when I found that, there was a whole list of other links that were approved by the maker of this particular mashup of other DJs and a whole San Francisco scene.

I was suddenly occupied. Of course I was.

I knew kung fu.

That winter I held a holiday party at my apartment, which mostly consisted of two things: me chugging Grey Goose from the bottle and me burning copies of Night Ripper for my friends as secondary Christmas presents. I got hooked on their reactions quickly. For many of them, they were being birthed into it the same way that I was. They didn’t have the extreme reaction to the music that I did — of course not, they were a bunch of civilians and civilians in training — but that tilted head up look of disorientation and confusion was like watching a dog think it’s people. The volume went up as the drinks flowed and the night went longer. People thought they might’ve heard something they didn’t before. Rememebered songs their brain had buried four tons of crap on top of. And I did hear well into January people were bumping this in their own Walkmans and cars. They didn’t have the extent of the reaction that I did, but they got the splinter of it.

And what’s happened since? Girl Talk put out two more albums although to his credit, all it took was Night Ripper putting the fair use argument in the music industry to this extreme and his own craftsmanship to blow up like the World Trade. And me? Those people in San Francisco gave me way too much of their time and their faith, and now I’m going to be starting the first official all-mashup night in San Diego after two shows I performed at in the Bay Area mothership got over a combined 3,000 in attendance. I’m a mashup addict.

It began with Night Ripper, and the latest iteration is all the Adele “Rolling In The Deep” ones I downloaded when I first got up this morning, four or five of them.

But that was this morning.

This evening?

After a 103 fever and a couple of my own gigs kept me from seeing him, I saw Girl Talk live for the first time. I can only think about how appropriate it was seeing the familiar wrapped in the unfamiliar all over again: he got progressively more nude as the night went on, but managed to stay in a pair of gym shorts at show’s end. The show ended, but not after one encore, but a second one fueled by a ONE MORE SET! chant that rocked my ears as well as anything else he’d done all night. Balloons of myriad sizes and confetti fell from the sky like a Flaming Lips show, but they were also girls on shoulders (no guns in holsters, thankfully), and guys on shoulders, and both genders taking the opportunity to crowdsurf at various intervals. No longer allowed to pull front row folks on stage a gaggle of young locals came out with him, right away, and proceeded to dance their ass off and fire lengthy toilet paper rolls into the crowd.

And the LED screen embossed with the massive G and T flickered on and off throughout the night, transfixing eyeballs as they seared them with a rainbow of effects from the notorious two-word logo to a taco to simply dazzling color schemes. The moments of temporary darkness, where the crowd seemed to be exhaling as one, the rare intervals where one could get a moment of surcease from DANCE FUCKER DANCE that personified what ended up being a set longer than any of his CDs at something resembling the 90-minute mark, were like small miracles. And then, blinded and enthralled by the light, it was back to pogoing, grinding, bumping, two-stepping, and all of that. All types of people were on top of each other sweating and going blind and it didn’t matter an iota.

It was so appropriate he started with his opening gambit from his latest All Day, Ludacris/Black Sabbath. Because out in the lobby, they were selling a shirt that said All Night with his logo splashed across the front. And that’s how far the crowd from youngsters to old men in khakis & plaid-covered Keds (no, seriously) seemed fueled up to go for, as he not only dipped into the familiar stuff from that and Ripper but Feed The Animals (the middle child release) so far as well, in addition to making some new additions and twists on familiar things with newer songs since their album release–quelle surprise that the Pittsburgh native would be bumping Black & Yellow hard almost full-length in his set, even if the Cars were behind it.

That was my favorite thing about Girl Talk, when I first found out about him: he was being Clark Kent. He was an engineer who’d ditch out early Friday, go fly somewhere, do a show or two, fly back in Sunday night and pray he’d survive Monday without falling over. Of course, those days are long gone. But it was comforting to see him work as if he had a day job to go back to when the lights went up and the staff would have to go about the business about getting down all the balloons that’d somehow floated straight up to the ceiling upon release. As usual, when I watch a DJ now I can’t completely take myself out of it: I take mental notes on what I like, what I would like once I modify it to my own tastes, and certain parts where I just step back and respect game and let them do it on their own.

I didn’t do that so much yesterday/earlier. I was too busy dancing, singing along, sweating, and paying homage to my own Yoda with about 500 single-serving friends and a handful of more than that to really get into it. I remember looking over at the bleachers that ran up to the speaker bank during the second encore, some 90 minutes in, almost 4 hours into the whole show at this point, and a girl was pouring water on her head while singing along to every word. At every other point at my life I probably would’ve found this horribly erotic: at that point I just wanted the water. I was sweating rivers. And so much more. But that’s the funny thing about adrenaline and fun live shows: they carry through so much that can hurt, that will be amiss later. They bring together different decades and people who normally wouldn’t talk to each other if they were looking each other in the face are the first to help with singing arm-in-arm or a quick pull off a soda.

I think I’m going to think about the scene outside after the show forever. I wonder what it felt like to be that girl in that moment, and how long I’m going to think about it, too. I tend to be kinda obsessive about music, ever since I heard everything ever. It’s why there’s no playlist for the evening, why I’ve been listening to Gregg Gillis’ live shows for the past–ha, I’ve been writing as long as I was dancing and partying my ass off.

You see, ever since this splinter was birthed, I always feel no matter how much I talk about it there’s always something I’ll miss, something my own limited worldview is going to obstruct accidentally that’d help you understand what goes on in my head especially when it comes the tunes that form the backbone of my life.

I’ll tell you what the problem is:

I can’t tell you what it really is.

All I can tell you is what it feels like.

And right now?

It hurts like a bastard.

And I wouldn’t trade it — or everything that it’s given me — for anything.

Heartagrams

 by Andrea Costanzo AKA The Junkenstien

The Break-Up and The Lovers Re-United

My love relationship with music, my lover and partner, during the best and worst years of my life,
was, recently, put to the test.

So many bands creating mediocrity where they once weaved simple patterns of pure emotion that
(like only music can do) spoke to my soul, without the need of any language, that wasn’t notes and vibes.

Now many times, the wizards turned into plastic sellers of tunes that give no emotions, and only fill my ears to be forgotten in an instant.

I remember the days where i waited for an album to come out, recording on a VHS tape the video
of a new single, sometimes even just a short bit of it. And how then i replayed the video until the
tape was on the verge of snappin’. But those moments filled me with joy.

I remember saving money to buy said long waited cd, and the sometimes being disappointed but
forcing myself into appreciating what i heard, cause it cost hard earned money.

Then with the digital era, things became more chaotic. You could get the great albums even before the release but still that made you jaded. And the music started getting mediocre., it was a fault in both directions. I got music too easily, but even buying it on itunes in a faster way, just made me notice how soulless it had got.

Radiohead, Dredg, Metallica, Pearl Jam, Megadeth, Soundgarden. They were playing music made to be sold at high price and instantly forgotten. No memorable anthems that i would sing at night while driving, me, the roads and a loud stereo.

My lover had become cold and boring.

So i discovered the side of her a few know. Bands that have no contract, that play music that is
underground, uncovered,m ignored. Bands that go to the roots of music, playing blues, soul, rock
and everything else because they have it inside their heart. Hard to find, a constant discovery.
Exploring sites devoted to those bands, downloading their stuff for a small donation, cause all they want is to be heard and not famous. Going to shows in tiny clubs where the ticket is affordable and you can even meet the musicians.

The love story thrives on this and its reborn. Music is still my lady and she’s always with me.
Doesn’t disappoint me anymore. You just gotta know where to find her hot spots.

Heartagrams: “ I did a bad, bad thing….”

by Andrea Costanzo aka @TheJunkenstein

Well, ignoring my recently saddened financial situation, lately I decided to act like an irresponsible 18 year old and buy a ticket for a big, costly concert. In this case, it’s the italian “One date only” (as it seems, a lot of recent shows are, in Italy) stop of The Big Four, namely Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax. So not only its a show, its a Metal Show.

I’ve treated myself to a bunch of musical happenings in the past, maybe more than what i can afford. Seen The Rolling Stones jam in an auditorium with botched sounds, Keith Richards stammering with maybe the last legal public cigarette of that age. Watched Bruce Springsteen replay his classic tunes for the millionth time while still acting like a jacked up teen in front of an audience that mixed youngsters with old crotchety dudes that still wanted to Rock before the night fell down, and their dayjob ate their soul.

Still, Metalheads know that a Metal Show, especially one where you’re seeing a band that helped you grow up sane and balanced, has the force of a shamanic ritual. Metallica fit the description pretty well. Still everyone has its own guardian set of guitar slingers. Contrary to the public clichée, most of metal audiences are lovely, nice hearted and safe individuals. Yes Moshpit can be harsh, if you’re dealing with elbowing amateurs, but in general they’ll be like a family of caring teddy bears to you, whether you’re a newbie or a timid girl, or a seasoned professional.

They are friendly and chatty. Sometimes you just need to have a shirt they like to start a conversation. They’ll offer you beers, hug you and treat you as a brother, no matter where you’re from. Their family is even warmer than a real one. I never felt alone at a Metal Show. It was more than music, it was a gathering of equals.

Lately, things have gotten harsher. The new generation is more aggressive, drunker and meaner. They don’t know how to react, they start fights, they get obnoxious. Although I’m pretty sure that the seasoned forty year old metal pro, with an old leather jacked with crusty hand made logos, a balding head of hair and a toddler with tiny Slayer pyjamas will put those whippersnappers in their place.

I’ll meet you there dad. Devil Horns.

Heartagrams

by Andrea Costanzo aka @TheJunkenstiein

In troubled times, when black waves of depression are hidden behing every corner, daily, one needs to keep his emotions alive. And my personal and addictive emotion inducing drug is music. Its the direct language of the heart and soul, translating the bursts of adrenaline, tears, passion and laughter that made the grey routine less desperate into a sound that can move with you and wrap you in its comforting blanket of vibes.

I’ve been clinging to strongly emotional music lately, trying to keep my heart beating, even if it hurts, so it wouldn’t dry up and stop feeling.

The delicate piano driven pop of Bridget and The Squares is a sweet starter. It feels like the city lullabies of Fiona Apple but coated with a bittersweet dose of gentle despair. The female vocals sing about loved ones hurting, broken hearts and the beauty of having people who surround you when you’re breaking into tiny pieces, to hold you together like glue. Its stuff that hits close to home for me, and it sounds even more powerful through the melodies of the band. Gentle but intense like a warm burning flame.

To keep the soul edgy, singer/songwriters always work, so theres place for the Shreve brothers Randall and Benjamin. Different style but they both represent well what i love about the magic power of one man expressing his bare soul through notes. Randall goes theatrical and operatic in his “The Entertainer”. He reminds me of the “torch singers” like Nina Simone in the past or Rufus Wainwright and Anthony and The Johnsons today. He bares his soul and creates little pieces of emotion that create choreographies in your head making you dance inside your heart, even if you can’t. And Benjamin, while approaching emotion differently, hits in a similar way, with guitar riffs and rock attitude. His songs are thick and sweaty but they have a pulsating core of love in them. They make you feel like a rockstar but with storms inside.

And to close the day, wind down and get ready for the sexiness of the night, theres the velvety trip hop of Suz. A sexy diva from Italy that drops her warm melodies of the dark on sounds that recall the hottest moments of Tricky, Portishead and early Massive Attack. The bass massages your ear like a warm pair of gentle but expert hands. And her singing is wet kisses for your inner lover. Musical foreplay. We’re all lovers, baby.

Rebel Without A Pause- s1c3: You Can Lead A Club To Culture, AND You Can Make Them Think (A Costanza’s Goodbye)

by BrotherDarkness AKA Butch Rosser

Dear Planet Earth,
If you’re reading this, I hope somebody has had the decency to cut me down from the ceiling fan this note was placed under.  It should be noted per previous discourse that everyone get their crying out at the wake and that Christine has her choice of who to sleep with at the afterparty.
But after years and years of debating what was the point of it all, I just couldn’t see one after the following appeared in my timeline:
1) Train, “Hey Soul Sister”
2) Katy Perry feat. Snoop Dogg, “California Gurls”
It was just too hard living in a world that seemed not only to disagree with me, but take up ridiculous positions just to be in opposition to mine (see also: Beck, popularity of Glenn, Uggs, Glee, Avatar, no reruns of NewsRadio, etc.).  I mean, it was bad enough the Klan sent Waka Flocka Flame to destroy the fragmenting Black culture such as it was, but that 1-2 punch was like coming home from early to find your house beginning to catch fire only to find out the reason that it was catching fire was that your fiancee was too busy getting double-teamed by your father and grandfather for them to notice that flames were beginning to erupt.
When that came up as the most popular 1-2 punch for the year 2010, I knew my time on this earth was short.  I suppose at the end of the day it simply comes down to this: trying to slog through top 40 radio for me the past few years is like trying to swim in the Gulf Of Mexico — at this point, the difference between that and swallowing 47 pills or doing a chin check with a loaded .45 or taunting the police and making threatening motions towards them with a harpoon is just all aesthetic.
I suppose that I am the one to blame here, as like with one of the oldest axioms in my history a cynic is really a romantic that’s just gotten burned too many times.  My friend Daniel had an awesome term to describe a Grumpy Young Man — a Costanza.  And before, where the radio was one of my best friends and a gateway into a more in-depth and nuanced world it had just bogged down into indescipherable lexicon and posturing.  This isn’t to say that those things are bad, but as with an all fried-food diet if that’s all your body is taking in at some point it will revolt by doing something whimsical like exploding your heart or the blood deciding staying in place is better than running to your cererbral cortex.
I became a Costanza gradually, of course.  But the thing of it was, I didn’t want to become one, and I sure as shit couldn’t imagine a future where it was who I was as a human being.  (I also didn’t imagine a future with auto-tune, so I suppose in a way this is all Cher’s fault.)
In reading a series of reviews of classic #1 hits of the late seventies and into the eighties, I remembered vividly listening to the top 40 songs.  It went farther beyond a catchy chorus for me, and it definitely had something to do with my youth.  It made me think.  I started extrapolating wildly, as kids do.  But I think what seperated me from a lot of my contemporaries was that hearing these same songs as an adult didn’t give me a sheepish grin at the bar or a headshake over my former wayward ways; I not only felt even more enmeshed with the songs in question but looked back on young me surprised that for an absolute lack of context (relatively speaking, as per direct inverted proposition to life experience) that while I’d only been able to form sentences for a few short years then I still somehow found the “soul” of a song, or at least one possible soul.
It’s in this moment I’m thinking of one of my first radio friends, George, and hoping he’s not too disappointed in me for not hanging in there (what a horribly bad choice of words).  George was the first British guy I ever met, and even for a kid I could see he was dealing with Adult Problems.  The first words he ever said to me were questions–
Do you really want to hurt me?
Do you really want to make me cry?
It turned out George was also the first gay British man I’d ever met (in a really bitter irony, by the time I got done with the elementary school we’d first made acquaintance in he wouldn’t even be my favorite gay British George who sang about his problems on the radio all day), and his relationship–jeez!  No wonder people around me were divorcing left, right, and center.  While I merely worried about where the next cupcake was coming from this girlfriend or wife of his was clearly driving him to a breaking point in every depth of his being.
(Sidenote: I did realize after the fact he was a gay man but that was quite a few years away.  At the outset, there was no such thing as gay, not even as an insult–hell, I wasn’t even allowed to play with the “big kids” in the other six grades same as the rest of my class, so I drew my own context based around what was around me and what I’d seen on TV.)
WIthin 3 minutes of meeting me, a kid and complete stranger, George was just fed up to his eyebrows with the whole damn thing.  IF it was love that was wanted from him, then take it away!  I would’ve thought that was simple enough, but in the next breath he sternly intoned that everything wasn’t what it seemed.
Why would he do this to himself?, I would think, occassionally getting lost in my own head while snacking on Fun Dip.  He doesn’t like this person, he can’t possibly.  Either they want to hurt him and/or make him cry.  He was offering his love, which they seemed to be lukewarm on at best — whoever this skirt was that was putting him through the Double Dare of Love, she was no Clair Huxtable.  And yet everything wasn’t what it seemed.
George gave me a lot to think about in those four minutes.
And when I heard him again, it seemed weird.  He was still in the relationship with this woman, but not only did she come and go, she strung along (something I’d suspected but was good to hear come out of George’s own mouth).
So here’s what it’s like being a sandbox genius: not knowing that the leader of Culture Club is gay despite video evidence to the contrary, but at the same time has enough mental synapses firing to assume that in this relationship the karma chameleon is some sort of pet barometer that points to the entire relationship at large, since you are too young to have heard the word metaphor yet.
Loving WOULD be easy, warned George, except the scenario he had painted for himself in his head wasn’t reflecting what was actually happening.  You know, you bump it forward 25 years and scrap George and toss Regina in instead, find a couple of affable-looking brunettes, and you have arguably the best scene in (500) Days Of Summer.
Expectations.
Reality.
And every day is like survival.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is some inescapable shit about life.  It doesn’t recede into the background like wanting to be an astronaut or a Big Wheel or Growing Pains, it merely gets stronger and comes into life with more focus and clarity the older you get–it’s kind of the way the likes of Miss Bliss and Minkus fall prey to the Zack Morrisses and Corey Matthewses (Matthewsi?) over days and months.  At one moment you can be off the show like that.  Of course you can!  What is it — and for that matter — what is all art except an exploration of everyday interaction in human relationships?
And sometimes your lover IS your rival.
When I went back to look at top 40 radio’s biggest hits of my nascent youth when I was still a cherubic golden boy, I thought maybe I’d just blown George out of proportion.  He was the Outlier, the anamoly, and while his pop confection had stuck to my teeth about two decades longer than it did in the mouth of a normal human being, there was some sort of top secret Culture Club blind spot that I’d festered and the cavity had nobody to blame but its wayward owner.
Within 45 seconds, I could see that that wasn’t the case at all.
I am astounded the Human League didn’t win Nobel Prizes for the three of them in 1981, as they seemed to describe accurately every failing relationship in the history of mankind, which was most of them: people meet, fall in love together, sure, that much is true.  But then there’s a power inequity and the person with the upper hand looks around and in their next fell swoop moves for the exit, out the door, and it’s not even a moment of victory or ultimate joy if the alleged singing in the second verse was any indication.  I guess I never really got over the fact that the female aspect of the League didn’t have a rejoinder to my rejoinder of “If you love me so much, then why are you leaving?”  Even as an adult, sometimes that question was too much to bear in the situation where I had to be the girls!  But when women are right, they’re right: sometimes it’s just something that you must do.
HA!  Tell that to the roughly 585 kazillion people who’ve sung this ever since!  It’s like all this heartache and pain and self-doubt never even happened, because they can sing the chorus.  They built something for five years and now it’s all going down the shitter, and people are treating it like it’s freaking Piano Man or something!  They’re all singing along!
I guess I shouldn’t be amazed by people’s willingness to sing along to something that was really a gigantic cry of pain, though.  Sting was stalking his ex-wife, and despite the fact that I didn’t know the words stalk, ex-wife, or for that matter Sting the first hundred times I heard Every Breath You Take I nominated it for Creepiest Song I’ve Ever Heard In My Life.  And to be honest, it’d probably still be in the discussion.   He can’t sleep at night, he can only see her face, so he watches every move she wakes?  And they let this man TEACH!?  It sounded to me like the reverse of my parent’s marriage, which it was–but what was crazy was in the depth of this despair, the complete totality of this guy’s crazy mind being distilled into a 240-second essence, I knew he was going through a divorce.  If the opposite of light is dark, then the opposite of love and marriage is apparently Follow Somebody All The Time and Divorce, right?
The kids in New Edition looked the most like me and were responsible for my first cassette purchase, but it only took about 10 minutes for their lives to get ruined the same way George’s was: they take a taste of the Candy Girl, all their friends tell them to Cool It Now, except they’re waylaid by the awesome feeling of that first taste and in their desperate attempts to recapture it they’re left complaining–alone–to Mr. Telephone Man.  It suddenly occurs to me that that sort of thing happened in the urban community in the eighties a lot and it explains crack exploding.  One minute you have a girl who’s your own personal peanut butter cup and the next the guy from AT&T can’t even get back to you to tell you he got your message?  I’d throw it all away for a piece of rock, too, boys.  Those girls are poison.
But there were all sorts of these tiny lessons to be learned and thought over, and it was tragically all the relationshippy ones that went through.  I mean, it was nice that this Olivia woman wanted me to get a certificate from the President for physical fitness and the Men at Work had formed some sort of Australian Board of Tourism singing group, but at the end of the day (around 9, maybe 8:30 if I was tuckered out) it wasn’t their words that I was worried over–all I saw was a world of maneaters with Bette Davis Eyes, a bunch of Billie Jeans after you just because some little kid had eyes like yours.  It was a real head scratcher to put next to how to remember to seperate out primary colors from secondary.
I felt bad for all involved, obviously.  But I was only a kid!  I couldn’t help them.  That said, they gave me something to think about.  And the something they gave me to think about became the axis around which not only my world revolved but seemingly the planet at large.  When Foreigner or Nu Shooz would talk about the joy they’d found, the Winwoodian Higher Love, I always wondered in the back of my head if it was going to end up worth it.  I ended up sharing Tina’s distaste of love, and it didn’t take Ike swinging at me for 15 years to get there.  I was still trying to figure out the hows and whys, but the big stuff I got down: you could end up like Sting, or even worse, in a relationship where you were always kinda-sorta halfway out the door–say this for the estrogen soaked second verse of Don’t You Want Me, but when they broke they BROKE.  How were you supposed to see your way through growing up under these clouds of stuff like blue and orange and purple when in your heart you kept seeing red, gold, and green?  Who could put those in their proper places of primary and secondary when your brainstem was getting worn down like that?
The radio was giving me life homework, and truth be told I was always a fan of thinking about things.  I was learning more, which could only be good.  The More You Know, y’know.  But over time that sort of sensation of being mentally challenged by the words I was allowing in my ears went from almost total in scope to almost obsolete.  I couldn’t even get out of the nineties without a hailstorm of ballistics cutting down the two men who had challenged me with their worldviews the most.  Holes opened up in the universe of popular music, and Chris and Kurt made way for Ja and Issac and Taylor and Zachary (my apologies to the latter three).   I supposed once that sort of thing began to happen, spiritually I was already set to pull a Hutchense; Katy & the boys were just kind enough to hold the chair for me.  In this brave new world, success has been so easy for them.
I understand that listening to Tears In Heaven, Blue Monday, Nothing Compares 2 U, or the Boys Of Summer (especially considering my relationship with that last track, which has passed its silver anniversary and yet is the only song I can find that changes feeling based on my own) doesn’t put one in the mindframe of recovering three seconds later to reflect on what purchases will improve their life, but once the radio got in the one set of hands they pretty much managed to anesthesize the way that we feel.  Which is totally their right as a corporation, and I suppose my wish for them to provide a playlist that reflects a majority of my sensibilities is akin to 1984 me wondering if the girl hurting George so bad was somebody famous or just somebody local to him.  I suppose this is just another story of another failed relationship, only top 40 has broken up with me in my mind.  It’s let me down, given me up, and I no longer have any faith in the sound, so the amount of good things that I’ve got is now none.
Makes sense to me.
I do not do this for the purposes of martyrdom; I do this simply because once a man opened up the world for me with a mere two questions, and I fell in love with the world as a result.  And that world and this world might as well be Earth-1 and Earth-2.  I can answer the questions, George: I didn’t, to you.
But the radio did to me.
And this is something I must do.
You want this world of Grey Anatomy background music, of faux-soul and misspelled girls, you all are more than welcome to it.
It suddenly occurs to me that all you precious people might tell me that this is a step too far.
And yet.
Butch