Friday, November 22, 2013

Lou Reed Dance Party

It's taken some time but I am finally ready to talk about Lou Reed. I've read just about every article that has been published since his death on October 27. The articles range from tributes to the ubiquitous "why Lou Reed matters" stories to his music wasn't that important anyway and his was a curmudgeon pieces that I have chosen to ignore. The one I like best is Laurie Anderson's wonderful love letter to him that ran in the most recent issue of Rolling Stone. We should all be so lucky to have someone write something so beautiful about us one day. I also love this video of her and fans at a tribute to Lou in New York last week:

When I was ten years old, I didn't know Lou Reed. It's possible that I had heard his songs; my aunt listened to that kind of music so I'm sure I "knew" who Lou Reed was but I was ten so I was way more interested in boy bands and Debbie Gibson. I was, as most fourth graders are, interested in being liked and what my friends thought was cool. I can tell you that fourth graders in Slidell, LA were not interested in listening to Berlin or Transformer. Fourth grade was not a winning year for me: that was the year I got glasses (and they were horrifying) and I believe I may have also gotten my first perm. I'm also certain I wore stirrup pants and over-sized sweaters in horrible patterns. Yep, I was awesome. I'd share a photo but well, I'm just not going to. I'd rather save those moments for my possible offspring to gaze upon in horror.

Anyway, boy-girl parties were also a big thing in the fourth grade. They were so novel and exciting. I don't remember which of my friends had the first one but I do remember it being a big deal. And of course, she had to invite everyone in the class because that was how things were done. I have no recollection of this first boy-girl party but I'm sure the girls sat on one side of the room and the boys on the other and we talked about each other. And probably ate pizza.

The other thing you have to remember about the late 1980s was that roller-skating was still a thing. I spent a good portion of my elementary and middle school years at the roller rink. I loved roller-skating and if I remember correctly, was pretty good at it. It was the closest thing this indoor kid was going to get to being into sports of any kind. There is something magical about roller-skating; maybe it was the music. Roller rinks, like bowling alleys, always have the best music. I often fantasize about the soundtrack of my life and I think that started with roller-skating.

The party I remember most vividly was a skating birthday party. I don't remember whose birthday party it was (it was not mine) but I know it was one of the girls and that the boy I liked was there. His name was Peter and he was super cute for a dorky fourth grade boy (all fourth grade boys are dorky - even the cool ones). I had no expectations that I would even talk to Peter at this party. We might have been school friends and talked frequently in class but this was a party. All bets were off at a fourth grade skate party. The other important fact to know about Peter is this: the Queen Bee of our class also liked Peter. She and I were what we'd now call "frenemies". I can't remember her name but I remember how fake nice she was to everyone and how much she liked Peter. I even remember her bragging about how she was positive that he would skate with her for every couple skate.

Bold words. He never asked her to couple skate but he did ask me. It was my first couple skate ever and it was to the song "Satellite of Love". At the time, I had no idea who sang that song or anything about it but I knew that it was perfect for couple skating and hand-holding. I didn't know anything about the song or the lyrics, I just liked it and liked skating with Peter. That was really all that mattered to me at the time. It wasn't until high school that I "discovered" Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground and glam rock and punk. It was then that I listened to "Satellite of Love" again and realized that it was the song from my first boy-girl skate party and couple skate. It's not even really a love song; it's about an unfaithful girlfriend but for me, it will always be about that one moment and that one boy. And it will always be perfect.

In my NaNoWriMo novel, Lou Reed is the reason that the character, Oliver, even exists. Both main characters give being a Lou Reed fan as the reason that they like the each other; people have gotten married over less. R.E.M's Michael Stipe described this best, "Lou Reed was massively important to “Island of Misfit Toys” kids. Every single child of the 21st century who is not square owes him a moment of reflection and thanks." Marnie and Oliver are those kids, thanking him with their devotion and loving the music.

I didn't expect to be this emotional over the death of a musician even one I love as much as Lou Reed. I've been listening to my favorite songs a lot since the end of October and discovering new ones with every article or tribute I read. I even had Oliver make a mix tape for Marnie called "Lou Reed Dance Party." It's part of his plan to go "Full Romantic Comedy" to get her back. The last song is Laurie Anderson's favorite.

Lou Reed Dance Party
  1. Wild Child
  2. Make Up
  3. Candy Says
  4. Oh! Sweet Nuthin'
  5. Perfect Day
  6. Sunday Morning
  7. New Age
  8. Who Loves the Sun
  9. Legendary Hearts
  10. Iced Honey
  11. Rock & Roll
  12. Satellite of Love
  13. I Love You
  14. Run Run Run
  15. Pale Blue Eyes
  16. Lady Day
  17. Femme Fatale
  18. White Light/White Heat
  19. Coney Island Baby
  20. Venus in Furs
  21. Stephanie Says
  22. Sweet Jane
  23. Nowhere At All
  24. Some Kinda Love
  25. How Do You Think It Feels
  26. Heroin
  27. I'm Sticking With You
  28. Power of the Heart

NaNoWriMo Update: As of 11.21.13, I hit 40, 518 words! I'm on track to finish before November 30. Will Marnie and Oliver end up together? Let's hope so. I mean, when you find your Lou Reed  soul mate, you have to do whatever you can to stay with them. 

Oliver is currently planning their second first date (they're getting a do-over; it makes sense in the larger world of the novel). His plan? To pull out all the stops by going Epic Romantic Comedy. I envision a little Say Anything, a little Sixteen Candles, a little Amelie, possibly some Love Actually, and maybe some sort of food related crawl (I've had a suggestion of a cupcake crawl - could work) - it could get out of control.

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