First, let me start by saying that I’ve been looking forward to this all week, a just me and the girls. Ok, yes, I say that all the time, at the end of any week, but current circumstance gives the “looking forward to” at the end of this any week and me saying it over and over again an added import as it’s yet another weekend reached to social distance for a full couple of days. No going into work (love ya pared down radio crew but I ain’t missin’ ya), no stoppin’ for gas (BB’s barely quarter tank doesn’t need to travel at the moment), no more Friday night curbside treats to myself from the Olive Garden (that Alfredo is a good two meals and the salad is so big it could even be one in itself with the garlic bread sticks and croutons enough to fill it out … that’s enough for a weekend), no grocery shopping necessary right now (a without such going on week #whatever – got girls & Steve essentials enough still).
I realize this distancing is already in my wheelhouse, well before the world blew up and got bent, sitting sideways now, has been wheelhouse shit for me for years, even when I wasn’t single, well, that might explain some things … but now it seems a bit more justified.
A friend sent me this meme …
… yeh, that about covers it. (And no, funny one, he doesn’t look like me. He’s much prettier). No, this is what I looked forward to, just replacing the PBR’s with Busch Lights. Ya might need a bigger side table for the empties though Clint, if you and I are gonna hang.
About when this current nightmare first began a very best of college pals invited me to join a facebook group, I’ll have to look back to remember what it’s theme was, but there was, in my brief glimpse, the topic of Edgar Allen Poe which led me to break out my copy of Tales of Mystery and Imagination (Edgar Allen Poe) and a re-discovering of the Alan Parsons Project. I’ve been here ever since for goin’ on these almost two sequestered months now, even going so far as to order some Alan Parsons releases that I either didn’t have, didn’t know about or needed to replace, ones I know I surely owned at some point. Maybe before that fire of 1989 that took so much. It had me spend money, frivolously, (anything other than girls or Steve food is frivolous) something I never do ’cause I just can’t, to the Alan Parsons tune of a hundred bucks. 7 albums. Damn, that’s something I REALLY never do. But …
When I was a kid my mother used to work, part-time, for a catering company on the weekends. She came home from one of her gigs on one of these weekends back then with a gleam, an excitement, a “just can’t wait to show Stephen” glow that I could see as she walked in the door.
She had an album, a poster, possibly a cassette, if I remember correctly and even an 8-track (yeh, I know, an 8 track huh?) of some band she had just worked a listening release party for at a studio in New York City. Boy, I was hooked on her story after hearing band, studio, New York City. Seems this listening party was for some guy named Alan Parsons and his release of “I Robot”, an album from he and his Project. She told me when it came time after the mucketty muck’s cocktail hour, to get to the listening part of the party, that she and her co-workers assumed they were done and were ready to head out. But Alan insisted that all in attendance stay and listen, the “staff” included. Alan called for the lights to be turned down in this studio where the party was held and asked all to just sit and listen in the now dimmed light. All the way through he asked, the full album. Ahhhh the envy Ma.
I’ve recreated that on occasion.
Man she was proud and too cool I’m sure she thought. “My Stephen is gonna love this”. It’s not something that I didn’t already know by the way Ma, you’ve always been too cool, but you were right. Your coolness factor rose quite a few notches with the story, moreso with whatever more details I could gather until you just yelled “bloody hell” at me to stop asking.
Funny, but one of my Mom’s biggest takes from this, other than so impressing this 13 year old with her hanging out in a recording studio with rock stars, was that there was an intricate ice sculpture party centerpiece of the album cover’s robot that, expensive as it surely was, was left when eventual boredom set in among those mucketies to just melt on a NYC sidewalk in front of this studio after the gig was played and done. She couldn’t wrap her head around the such disposable excess. Understood Ma.
But I’ve been in the Alan Parson’s camp ever since, melting money notwithstanding, all the way to the show, so many years later, in Middletown, NY, that she and Nick (my brother) and I caught, and a not her asking if we could go being a question, but a declaration, a flat out “we’re going, I bought the tickets, change plans if you have them”. What a night. Mom punched me in the arm a few times for singing along too loudly (maybe with even another “bloody hell” under her breath)
So now I listen to albums remembered so fondly, “The Turn Of A Friendly Card” and “Eve”, “Pyramid”, “Stereotomy” or those one hundred of dollars albums reminded or new to me, “The Secret” from last year being one of them. I didn’t even know that there was something recent as I haven’t checked in in too long.
I might still have an ear though, even after not being a PD or music director for quite some time (just a production guy now who couldn’t care to tell ya a Billie Eilish from a Billy Joel) but it took only a couple of listens through to pick out one tune in particular, “As Lights Fall” only to discover this weekend that there was a video shot for it. So maybe I can still find a single.
Man, is there anything better than realizing that you’re not just remembering time past, simply replaying and maybe getting a bit melancholy but knowing that it’s still here, your past still alive, still workin’ it and hopin’ now for more.
So I woke my old tuner and my old 5 disc changer from a too long sleep, figured the out of phase sound that had had me turn them off a while ago, crystal now, put in some old and some of this new and I just sat, just sat drowning out the crazy (with a little extra volume, sorry Celie) of these anxiety ridden days and this fucked up new normal.
Save me Alan Parsons. Get me through another weekend, another couple of weekends, maybe more weekends than I’ll be able to count. Get me through this awful patch.
I’ll tell Ma you said Hi by the way.