Saturday, May 30, 2009

Serpent Headed Gorgons From The Past



Alright, I know I talk about 80s music to a degree which would make you think I don't listen to music that is less than 20 years old. Which is untrue (anyone who has had the pleasure of hearing me go on about the Franz Ferdinand concert will attest to this). I know. And I could just blame the fact that I went grocery shopping today, because Stanley's seems to only play 80s music, but then I would have to write about 99 Luft Ballons and/or OMD as that was what was playing when I bought pineapple and carrots today. Also, Stanley's was the first store I hit today, so the experience of the brand new Whole Foods should have wiped my mind clean of anything I experienced previously (there's a wine bar in the middle of the new Whole Foods. And a macrobiotic section. And quail eggs for sale). So anyway, I was watching videos on YouTube and stumbled across this one and was reminded of how I saw Blancmange in concert freshman year with Cece and how Cece convinced her mom to let her go to a concert, unchaperoned, in the city by telling her that Blancmange was a French band, so really it was practically necessary for her to see them in concert, for the sake of her foreign language skills and broadening her horizons. By my Freshman year of high school, my mom allowed me to see shows at Metro, unchaperoned, which makes absolutely no sense as she wouldn't let me go to Medusa's at that time.

Alright, I clearly have drunk too much wine tonight because I have no idea where I wanted to go with this post. Mentioning Medusa's has completely derailed me because now I just want to tell all the odd Medusa's stories that I remember, except none of them are really about Medusa's.

For example, there was one Saturday afternoon, probably sophomore year, when Tara called me up in a panic because Cece wanted to go to Medusa's that night and Tara had led Cece to believe she went regularly and she was worried she wouldn't look the part (is it strange that Cece should appear twice in this post when she has never before made an appearance on this blog? If this blog were a television show, she would be listed as a guest star in the opening credits, but she still may only appear in this one episode). So I went over to her house (luckily we were in walking distance of one another. I probably would have learned to drive earlier if I hadn't grown up in Lincoln Park) with appropriate raiment (is it strange that even then I had enough black to clothe a small army?) and after teasing her hair and applying lots of black eyeliner, Tara was gothed out (though we didn't use the term goth back then. Back then, I would have said she was punked out, but who were we kidding? Tara was so not punk rock). She called me the following morning to say that boys she went to grammar school with didn't even recognize her.

I remember someone telling me how she kissed her best friend's boyfriend at Medusa's and her friend found out because she had been wearing lipstick which glowed under blacklight. I remember thinking that proper planning is necessary if one is to engage in adulterous behavior (although, of course, I did not think the word "adulterous" because I didn't use words like that when I was younger, and it probably would have been inaccurate if I had).

More than one person has told me a story about having sex at Medusa's. Obviously, I'm a prude because my internal reaction is always, "Where was there enough privacy to have sex? Was it in a bathroom stall? That sounds really uncomfortable and, yuck!" Of course, I never have said this out loud.

But those are stories about other people, what about me? Considering how desperately I wanted to go and how long (in teenage terms) it took my mom to agree to let me go, I have surprisingly few memories of the place. I remember what I wore (black leggings, black eyeliner, black shoes, an over-sized shirt). I remember who I went with on various occasions. I remember dancing. That is all. No drama (by which I mean zero drama. I am not trying to suggest that traditional Japanese theatre was taking place in the nightclub, but how cool would it have been if it had?).

There is probably an important lesson in there about things not living up to one's expectations, about how in getting what you want you realize that what you wanted wasn't what you thought it was. Except that isn't true. There have been many things I wanted which I have gotten which have met, if not exceeded, my expectations (finishing my thesis, being front row center for a number of concerts and getting kissed on the cheek by Roddy Frame are just a few things which come to mind). So maybe, as I am a mother now, I should assume the lesson I am supposed to be taking away from this is related to motherhood, something about trusting one's self and the job one has done raising one's children and giving them space because they will make the right choices. I mean, my mom was so worried about me going to Medusa's and then, when I did go, it was totally harmless as far as I was concerned. Stuff was going on all around me, but I was oblivious to it all because I was more interested in dancing.

Of course, it is always possible that my experiences at Medusa's were filled with tears and I have repressed those memories. If that is the case, I would recommend we leave things as they are (and here we find the limits of YouTube and the interwebs because I cannot find a video or even lyrics to Blancmange's song Why Don't They Leave Things Alone? which sucks because that is what would have tied this whole post together. I was already patting myself on the back, but I have been foiled. You will just have to trust me that this whole thing would have made a lot more sense if only some extant footage of Blancmange playing this song somewhere had been uploaded).

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