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8:05 a.m. - 2005-12-07
Kathleen's Three Songs
I've been tagged by GoingLoopy to submit a guest entry and like Clarity she has given her guests entryists a topic to follow. Guess she's scared what we'd say…smart woman!

Oops, how about if I introduce myself. I'm Kathleen.

Name your three favorite songs and describe a defining moment or memory associated with each of them.

1) Atmosphere by Joy Division.

Oh so many years ago, I worked at Burger King to put myself through college and to supply the money for whatever it was I wanted to buy. I worked there for 6 years (God forbid) and met many many people, obviously. The person I remember most was Joe. We used to get scheduled to open the store together (this was before they served breakfast) and there was an old record player on which Joe would play whatever music he fancied. He had this thing for dark stuff. I remember he played Pink Floyd a lot and at the time I pretty much hated Pink Floyd, so I would beg for him to bring in something different. He introduced to me to T-Rex who I liked and Joy Division which took a few listens. For the record, Joy Division is now my favorite band.

We had a stormy relationship – we never dated, although I wouldn't have objected to dating him – and sometimes his attitude at work (it was pretty bad) would get to me. We were known for yelling at each other, "I hate you, Full Name." Some people actually thought we really did hate each other, but it was just our way of dealing with the stress of working at Burger King (which is a hideous hideous job).

One Friday back in 1985 (I think it was 1985, but it might have been 1986), I was driving along in my fabulous bright yellow Pinto (I seriously loved that car) and was about to pass the old BK. Something made me turn in – I think my reasoning was to check to see if there was anybody I knew working and say Hey. I apparently was not in a hurry.

I forget what happened next, i.e., who told me, but I remember standing by that ugly dark brown faux wood-patterned formica counter top and crying as Ruth, my old manager, left the office to comfort me. Joe had been killed in a car accident the night before. He had started a punk band with another BK employee (who was a complete freak) and they were supposed to have had a show that Thursday night. Middle of the day/maybe late afternoon, Joe had been driving east on Plymouth Road in Detroit which was under construction and had traffic shunted over and was down to one lane in each direction. He somehow ended up in the wrong lane and got hit head-on by a bus.

Ruth gave me the funeral information and that night I made my way to the funeral home. As I walked into the salon, I heard Joe's former girlfriend saying tearfully, "Does Kat know? Has anybody told Kat?" Then she saw me and started crying some more, as we hugged.

That Sunday night, Halloran (DJ on the local punk/new wave station) played Boys Don't Cry by The Cure for Joe. For the longest time, I couldn't listen to Boys Don't Cry without crying. One night at the bar, the DJ played that and followed it up with a Joy Division song. I actually walked off the dance floor during a Joy Division song because I was crying too hard to dance.

And just for the record, I don't hate Joe and never did.

2) Madam Butterfly by Malcolm McLaren

This song has no deep meaning or sad memory for me. This one is all about DANCING! When I first started going to my bar (I never ever called it a dance club) oh so many years ago (1991) I asked the DJ (Dan) to play this song for me, which he did and pretty quickly too. I didn't have to wait hours for it. I didn't go that regularly when I first started going there, but every time I would go, I wouldn't even have to ask. Within 30 minutes (usually less), he would play it. And I almost always had the dance floor to myself. It was great! One time though he played it a little later (I'm not a let's get to the bar by midnight person, I'm a get there as early as possible person) and there were a few more people out there on the dance floor getting in my fucking way. ;-) Two were this exceptionally wienie couple who were SLOW DANCING to it! I was beside myself. I mean, really, who the fuck slow dances in a punk bar???? The only other person I remember was this tall man with very short hair, a not so small nose and the largest feet I've ever seen, but he was wearing a very cool white pirate type shirt, black skin-tight pants and these boots which did not do anything to hide the size of his feet. Anyway, I concentrated on him since he was a cool dancer and knew that you don't slow dance to Madam Butterfly!!!

We ended up becoming friends and when I moved to SF, I moved in with him until I found a job and got my own place. He was my best friend in SF and sadly, I rarely talk to him anymore. He's married now and has at least two boys and who knew he'd ever settle down. I guess Madam Butterfly reminds me of dancing and Julius.

3) I Don't Know Why by Helmut Lotti.

The album on which this song appears came out in 1996, but I don't think I discovered it until 1997. I never really thought much about this song, i.e., the lyrics, until November of that year. I don't speak to my father and usually refer to him as FF (Former Father). This is pertinent because I had adopted myself a father in 1996 from my ESPN Auto Racing Chat friends. Griz was supposed to do all the Dad things – give me away when (if) I got married, be supportive, etc. I called him Dad and he called me Kitten (something VERY FEW people can get away with). Our first year in the Chat (1995), Griz got cancer, but beat it. In late 1996, it revisited him. And this time it beat him. His wife called me two Saturdays before Thanksgiving in 1997 to say that the doctors had given Griz a couple of days left to live. The following Saturday she called to tell me that he had left us.

This song deals with loss and pain and asks Why did you have to go? And that's how I felt. It seemed so unfair that he was taken away so early. Whenever I hear this song I think of Griz and all my family and friends who have died.

Dang, you're all going to think that I'm a depressing and depressed person, but I'm really not. I guess I just like songs that deal with the sadder parts of life.

 

 

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