Monday, August 12, 2013

fulfilled a promise made of tin

I walked down to the land of yuppiesque entertainment after work on Friday night, wandered through the mall in search of a new shoulder bag since the straps on mine were falling off, met up with the good people, heard east side stories, and tales that indicate that Cleveland still sucks as a tourist destination unless you know someone. There was some earnest singer-songwriter action going on, a lot of Bright Young Things, and the occasional black-clad fellow concert-goer.

The show started late, which is weird for such a well-oiled machine that is the House of Blues, and you know an opener isn't doing it for you when you turn to each other and go wow this is a long set, aren't they done yet. It wasn't so much that they were bad, and I dig noisy wooshy rock and or roll, but there was a lack of soundcraft that wore the jams thin after about half an hour and there were still songs to go and the crowd began to pack in.

The Cult's never really been big with my generation, and before one of my friends suggested going, I had only a cursory background in their back catalog. It took some time for Astbury to get warmed up, his phrasing was a little off on some of the songs, but he seemed to be in a good mood. The rest of the band looked like they were having a good time, especially Billy Duffy who was on the whole night. After the first set, I was able to move up front a bit and away from the woo-girls and their type A boyfriends trying to barrel their way to the front row, and dudes with sunglasses and gelled hair and napoleon complexes, and the girls with their damn iPhones. Not the greatest fanbase, but a chivalrous tall dude let me go in front of him so that was considerate.

Came back and slept, and drove up to the lake to play softball and camp, and got a speeding ticket after getting lost that made me cry because country driving with no signs freaks me the hell out. I'm glad my teammates still love me and eventually I got out of the dark funk somewhere around dinnertime when my comrades stuffed the sports bar digital jukebox with Maiden, Van Halen, Sabbath, and Husker Du and I got to hear customer service hell stories and laugh a lot. Somehow the melancholia dissipates and I decide to stay the night, accepting the offer of a borrowed tent.

I wasn't in the mood for drinking games or volleyball but me and a couple of other people ended up going out at sunset in search of the beach to hang out by the water. We didn't get there, but we ended up at some picnic tables overlooking the march where water lilies shimmered in the murk and herons flew around us as the sun set. The sound was incredible, that hum of nature where we could feel far away from the world for a few moments. When the bugs made their presence known we kept walking through the almost-complete darkness until we reached the water and the rocks and sat out there gazing at the stars that were so numerous and infinite and I felt so blissed out as if everything that happened earlier had melted away.

We came back to the campsite, sat around a fire we'd made with a downed apple tree that smelled incredibly fragrant, we kept stoking the fire, throwing in twigs and beer boxes, basking in the warm glow and indulging our inner pyro geeks. I tried to sleep but the talk was too loud so me and the other sober guy sat by the fire and talked until the coals got low and we got tired.

We woke up earlier than everyone and drove back, stopping at a diner full of vacationers for food and coffee, wandering through the flea market full of nautical tchotchkes, easy listening records, and a strange assortment of DRI and Throbbing Gristle cassettes mixed in. He found a Mott the Hoople record for a dollar, I detoured for fragrant peaches, and we took the longish way home back along the lake and through the Metroparks listening to the Smashing Pumpkins, hanging out at his place, with its Chinese sculptures and bicycles and garden where the pool used to be, talking about punk rock and childhoods and life. I used to wonder if I'd lose this part of my life as I got older, but I'm thankful it hasn't yet slipped away.

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