Thursday, October 23, 2008

Au plaisir d'un gentlhomme

Sounds like a Bond title, doesn't it?

But I'm thinking "Property of a Lady", one of the sources for the film Octopussy.

Anyway, I've be positioned into... No.

Set up to... Grrr.

Put up to... Jeez, isn't there any way into this that isn't vaguely slutty sounding? Apparently not.

So, I've been asked to either a) put up a Sinister post here that I wrote not long ago so a non-Sinisterine can read it or b) relate a story of how I was compared to a certain race of little, blue cartoon... I'm not sure what a Smurf is really, but whatever it is a Smurf is, and how the name stuck.

I'm choosing a), since as sole prop. of this site, I have forbidden all reference to me/Smurf comparison.

"My First Time"!

Sounds racy, doesn't it? Of course, unlike other Sinisterines (looks in askance
at Ken Chu and pines -- pines! -- at the memory of Markelby) I'm
not actually tarty. I just like to pretend I am, sometimes. And I've no idea
why, but in my head just now, I sounded just like Tevye the Milkman
saying that. Anyway.

I want a go at telling my "First time I heard Belle and Sebastian" story!

It's a bit of a long story, so you'll have to indulge me. And it's long
because it's part of a much longer story about a boy (one of /those/ kinds
of boys) and I have to tell at least a little of it for the B&S story to
make much sense.

The boy's name was Daniel. I met him my first year of college, back in the
mid 90s. When I think of him now, I think of him all in corduroys and
Argyle sweaters, but I think most of that is sort of layered on, memories
filtered back through TV and movies. Or maybe this time of year just lends
itself to thinking of people in browns and greys.

He was a year older than me, and I since I was still so fresh out of high
school, I still thought that was a very big deal: in addition to being
very pretty -- all dark curls over bright green eyes and snowy skin -- he
was that much more older and sophisticated. Or so I thought.

I'll spare you all the tedious details of how I actually met him (shoved into
him by the proprietress of a charity shop on Franklin Street that liked to
bill itself as a "vintage" store) and how we got to know one another, and
skip to the part where he decided to go to a Study Abroad semester in London
the next Spring. He was away all that semester, and when it ended he
decided to stay in London through the summer, too, loafing, in my
opinion, in a sort of louche hipster grandeur.

I, on the other hand, spent the summer dressed as an Elizabethan soldier
for tourists at the seaside and tried not to pass out from heat exhaustion

We met up again, of course, that Fall. We were lying together on my twin
n bed in my dorm room, comparing stories about our summers and listening
to the musical treasures he had brought back with him. We were talking about
t something trivial when he remembered something. "Oh man," he said,
"You have to listen to this. You'll love it."

He dug around in his bag and fished out another cassette. It was a copy of
a record he'd heard. He took out the tape we were listening to and put another
one in the little boombox we were listening to, and then cued up the
song he wanted to play. It started, and he looked at me, his eyes shining
with expectation. (Or was it Expectations?)

I listened.

I thought it was crap. I said so. He sort of visibly sank and looked
disappointed. "I'm no big fan of techno," I said. "but that isn't even very
/good/ techno."

To this day, I have no idea why, out of all the songs on Tigermilk, he
picked "Electronic Renaissance", or why he didn't give me some prep for
it, like "Wait, listen to the lyrics!" or "The next song is better!"

I felt really awful, because he had been so excited to share this. I mean,
I know: I've felt exactly that sort of evangelistic glee, too, before
and since, and for the exact same music. But I didn't get it that night.
Not at all. And I really liked him, too, but I was too dumb then to
even try to give it another listen, just for him.

In the end it was all right. He had brought back a ton of music, and we
listened to most of it that night. We ordered awful pizza and stayed up late,
annoying my roommate, laughing and trying to correct the faults in each
ch other's musical tastes, till we found other ways to occupy ourselves.

And clearly I managed to hear some other Belle and Sebastian not much later
and liked it. A lot. But that's another story.

So there you go. I'd've done this for no other reason than ce certain gentilhomme inspired me to break out my old Go-Betweens albums. I had almost forgotten "Love Goes On!" is one of my favourite songs. (Am... Em... Bm... C... G... Em... D... C...)

If all goes to the good, I may not post again this week.


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