Some of my favorite requests I've gotten: Jolene by Dolly Parton.
Killing Me Softly.
And when I told Sean Price to pick a song that would make him feel infinite, we laughed as he said, "Yeah, but no really, Wallflower Perks’ aside-- I do wanna hear Heroes."
We cruised on my scoot up Clark St. Saturday night traffic. We could steal time, just for one day. We can be heroes, forever and ever. What’d you say?
I'm listening to Somebody Up There Likes Me right now and l o v i n g this artist's art. I have been so lucky to have David Bowie’s music in my life, and am like anyone with rock and roll in their bellies am so saddened by his death.
So now, one of my favorite things to do-- with one of my favorite soundtracks to do it:
Lizzie my bosom buddy and bearer of the bad news (her Facebook status broke the news of his passing) and I would sometimes start the day by dancing to Modern Love. Start the Day DANCING. Right after I peed. Blare the Bowie. Because that song makes you feel as if anything is possible. And that it's okay to stay in some days and get things done. And that you can run down the street like Frances Ha. And it’s not really work, it’s just the power to charm. And what is love, anyway? And I'm still standing in the wind, but I never wave bye bye. But I try. I love this song. Dare I say that it is my favourite?
David Bowie inspired me to change the name on my headshots. I had been going back and forth about it for a while, and couldn't make my mind up.
"You like to be called Devo." Lizzie told me as she sat at her computer ready to change the text for me. "Tell people what you'd like to be called."
I was g-chatting with Jen that night, and she too said I should go for it.
"I don't know. I feel weird and scared about it. Is that stupid?"
"Some people have a professional name, and a personal name. You could keep Devo for yourself?" She offered.
I opened my pandora just then, and the first song to come on was Rebel Rebel.
"What would David Bowie do?" I asked her.
"It's a sign,” she told me. “Be a rebel."
So what, that I’ve only used about three of those headshots, and my face is a mess, but hey babe, my hair’s alright. Hey babe, let’s go out tonight. Sometimes it feels good to be a Rebel, Rebel.
I watched Labyrinth a couple of years ago at my boyfriend's apartment. I can't remember where he was, but I remember I was alone, and how bright it was when I decided to get up and dance to Magic Dance. That apartment had amazing early morning sun, and exposed brick, and gorgeous hardwood floors. And I felt gorgeous when I was in it, sliding around in my socks and one of his long-sleeved t-shirts.
He had these giant speakers that he took such good care of, and I was scared to touch them. Especially when he wasn't home. But that day I had to Dance! Magic Dance! And I had to hear it LOUD.
So I went over to his music area, gently pushed the power button, plugged in his iPod, and turned the music up to a soul and booty-shakin decibel.
"You should invest in some nice speakers," he once told me. “They change the way you feel about the music.”
My instinct was to tell him to shove it. Not everyone can afford giant woofs that surely rattle neighbor molars.
But he was right. I am currently listening to a Bose box that gets the job done well enough, but his speakers engulfed me that day, in waves of acoustic bliss. I had no choice but to DANCE that MAGIC.
And now here I sit, crying hard as babe could cry. Remembering how free I felt in that moment, and how happy I was to have a boyfriend that appreciates good music enough to have Bowie on his iPod and speakers that make you feel transcendent, and how gorgeous I must have surely looked dancing in my panties in that sweet, soft morning light. Or at least I hope I did to his neighbor across the alley who kept pigeons and also kept his windows open.
Apparently Jim Henson thought about casting Sting in Labyrinth, but his children convinced him that Bowie would have more staying power over the years. Sting? C’mon. No one could have looked better than Ziggy in those tights.
While we were dating, I went with that same boyfriend to go see This Must Be the Band, a Talking Heads cover band. After they played there was a David Bowie tribute afterwards. We were amazed, it was like Bowie was there. I remember he sprung for tickets that night (I always remember when someone treats me, because it makes things more of a treat, doesn’t it?) and I sprung for the PBRs and Lizzie was there too and I think maybe Sourberg? Who can remember?
But we danced and laughed and I scream-requested Modern Love at least 50 times. Which no one felt like playing, apparently. But the night was still magic.
Because we were just a bunch of Young Americans-- which is on every playlist I make, and of course a favorite to make out to.
I went on a run in the snow today and I saw Joey the Naughty Neighbor Boy by the Addison Red Line stop. I've now seen Joey the Naughty Neighbor Boy out in the world far more than I've seen any of the other Naughty Neighbor Boys. Jesse and the other Joe are both always smoking cigs on the front porch, so when I see them it's to bum a ciggie or to hand them leftovers. And I’ve never seen Danny out on the street, even though he is the first one I think of when I hear them making a ruckus.
The week after I moved into my current apartment, I heard and named them the Naughty Neighbor boys. It was after 2 am, and from two buildings over I could clearly hear white people party noise. They were playing some loud rock and roll type of music. (I’d love to say it was Bowie, but it wasn’t and I can not tell a lie today. But it was a good enough jam to get me out of my bed and go take a little dance break.)
I started out my door and began dancing up to them. It was time I met these party animals.
A thirty-something neighbor woman beat me to the punch when she came flying out of her apartment to scold them.
“C’mon guys, give it a rest,” she yelled up at them.
“Sorry.” Danny laughed. “We will try to keep it down.”
“You know some of us have to work tomorrow,” she shouted up at the balcony like a pissed-off Romeo. “Don’t make me be the bad guy.”
“You know, some of us have to work tomorrow too.” Danny smiled a slow lazy smile as he smoked his cigarette.
“Alright, don't be a little shit.” The neighbor lady must have heard how old she sounded just then, and must have also remembered being twenty, and she must have turned and faced the strange… And these children that you spit on, as they try to change their worlds, are immune to your consultations. They’re quite aware of what they’re going through… “Please, guys. I dealt with this crap from you all last Summer,” she sighed and slumped her shoulders.
Danny laughed quietly to himself as he put his cigarette out.
“We weren’t here last Summer,” he said.
“Just keep it down, alright?” She gave up and went inside and the Naughty Neighbor Boys went back to being young and invincible.
“Hey guys,” I shouted from the sidewalk. “Could you do me a favor?”
They leaned their heads over, ready to take on another neighbor.
“Do me a favor, and stop being such little shits? And also go ahead and shut the fuck up?”
“Uhhhh.” Danny looked at me with not much of an apology on his face.
“Just kidding.” I said. “ I’m cool as a cucumber—do any of you boys happen to have an extra cigarette?”
And my love affair with the Naughty Neighbor Boys began.
“So are you guys like off-campus Seniors?” I asked.
“We’re off-campus… But we’re not Seniors” one of them said as they passed me a stimulant.
“Juniors?” I asked.
Damn. I was kicking it with some arty, gorgeous, musician-type minors.
I’ve been over to their place after running errands, after working a 12 hour shift bearing pizza slices galore, and after several nights-out. It’s nice to get home from a shitty night, and shoot the shit with some fresh-faced sweethearts.
These are dudes that I would have been friends with in College. They listen to cool music. They always have parties. And the girls that they invite to come over and hang out are cool. You can tell a lot about a dude by the chicks he hangs out with.
I’ve only felt like a crazy old woman once there, and that was because I am one. But Joe and Joe and Jesse and Danny always make me feel welcome home.
And so today on my run I saw Joe. And he was bundled up because it was 11 degrees. And I stopped to hug him because I was reminded of the last time I saw him right by the Addison Red Line stop. I was wearing my blue cowboy boots that day, and I was about to go to a Cubs game for Kurt’s bday, and I was sweating. Hard.
“JoeJoe!” I sweating hard today too, and my glasses steamed up when I stopped.
“Hi!” He pulled out his headphones and I did the same and took off my sunglasses.
“You’re crying.” My eyes adjusted to the light. “Is it because of Bowie?” I hugged him again.
I thought for a second it could have been the extreme cold making his eyes water, but I knew. I didn’t have to ask.
“Of course,” he said.
Tears hung heavy on his eyelashes and slid down his face. I wish I would have asked him what song he was currently enjoying, but I had already made him miss one train going by, and he had to get to class.
He looked so sad and so sweet and his cheekbones held his tears so gently, and he really did get at least 4 points hotter when he cut his hair last Fall just like I told him that night somebody brought over a bong, and as I ran away from him, I thought for the first time in my life… “If I was ten years younger…” Ten years younger.
Don’t tell them to grow up and out of it. Turn and face the strange. Time may change me. But I can’t trace time.
Thank you, David Bowie. Thanks for being there that time on stage when LaForce and I were astronauts and we both knew the exact right moment to break into Space Oddity.
Thanks for inspiring the Flight of the Conchords— does the cold of deep space make your nipples go pointy, Bowie? Do you use your pointy nipples as telescopic antennae?
Thanks for being there for me while I was making out with whatever dipshit that would surely get mad when I didn’t have sex with them right away. I listened to your songs before, after, and during every romantic encounter and relationship I’ve ever had.
Thanks for that episode of Extras you did, mercilessly making fun of Ricky Gervais.
Thanks for every morning dance.
Thanks for the inspiration to write today.
And thanks for inspiring so many gorgeous Naughty Neighbor types. I’ve never been attracted to a crying man before today, and I was glad to think about it. Just as I’m sure, every man woman and fluid thing in between was glad to question their attraction to you.
You taught me to be a Rebel and a Young American in Modern Love.
I asked the last 20 people in my text messages “Favorite Bowie song?” There were of course some bits, and even some no responses—which if that is the last text I ever send you, fine by me. Ya jerk. But of everyone that responded there wasn’t a single repeat. He was an original and an inspiration. Rest in Space, Ziggy Stardust.
Listening to all of your music today has made me feel infinite.