20 April 2007

Something 4 The Weekend # 34


See if I can remember this correctly...

Autumn 1984, I'm a freshman living in the dorms at the University Of Wisconsin...Sellery Hall...Tower A...7th Floor...Hazeltine House...

Our house motto was "Let's get drunk and wreck shit!", and our mascot was Opus The Penguin, from the Bloom County comic strip, holding a martini glass in one hand and toking on a huge spliff with the other...We even had official t-shirts of the whole sordid affair - a stoned Opus on the front, our rallying cry on the back...

I shit you not, and we woulda been no better than a frat if it weren't for the fact that Hazeltine House was co-ed, and half the girls on our floor were just as depraved as half of us boys...

The drinking age was 18 in Wisconsin back then...I was getting drunk at least 3-4 times a week, and I wasn't alone...And before I begin recounting my trite (or possibly heroic) tale of collegiate drinking, I should also mention that there was a weed dealer up on the ninth floor selling Q's for $15, while over on the fourth floor of Sellery B, there was a dude who sold $3 hits of acid and $10 handfuls of shrooms, though I mostly went over there to smoke weed outta a five foot purple bong known far and wide throughout the six towers of the SE dorms as The Purple People Eater...

But the drinking...Oh my, the drinking...

Thursday night specials in damn near every bar in the city, cuz who actually went to class on Fridays if they were dumb enough to schedule Friday classes to begin with? To be honest, I don't think we actually wrecked shit on our Thursday night pub crawls.

Of course (of course!) Friday night was Miami Vice Night, wherein a dozen or more of us would squeeze into somebody's dorm room with bottles of rum and tequila and whatever else was handy, and get loaded with a groovy little dance party for the hour or two leading up to Miami Vice at 9pm...Now I don't remember if we all liked/loved Miami Vice sincerely or ironically, but I do remember that our main drinking game for this show was called "Tubbs", and every time Tubbs' name was mentioned, everybody had to drink from their old-fashioned glasses, which were called "tubs" in our part of the country, and so you get the joke...After the show, we'd get back to the music and dancing and making out, and some of us would hit the bars to see a band, taking the edge off with a barely illegal puff'n'pass on the walk down to State Street...

Saturday was all about football, which meant the pub crawl down Regent Street to Camp Randall, starting at about 9 in the morning, stupid-cheap bloody marys and screwdrivers all the way along that long, blurry mile...By gametime, many of us were so far gone as to be puking and crying in the stands, and if you survived all the way to the "5th Quarter", well, there were polkas and whatnot, courtesy of the world-reknown Badger marching band...win or lose, and the Badgers usually lost...Then sleep from about 4 to 10, grab a pizza for SNL in the den and then maybe hit the Nitty Gritty for a quick bloody mary or two before bartime...

Sunday was Packers day, of course...A half-barrel in the den, where 30 or 40 of us watched the Packers' lose exactly half their games that season, and there was more puking and crying...
Sooooooooo much half-digested sausage and cheese...

And there ya go - four straight days of drunkenness, more or less...

And since I'm so far into this story now, I might as well reminisce about the rest of a typical week in the autumn of 1984, which was alot of lecture halls and working assorted jobs at the Gordon Commons cafeteria. My favorite job was the Tuesday and Thursday lunch shift, during which I was worked the salad bar solo...During a super quick two-hour shift with no co-worker competition, I'd custom-build salads for an endless stream of co-eds, 300 or more of 'em, and you shouldn't be surprised when I tell you this was the single greatest year of my life for the most obvious reason...I shit you not when I tell you that my little black book from that era is locked away safely, buried behind and under boxes of books in the big closet down in the basement...

But despite all the girls I met while working my Special Salad Magick, that year really came down to two girls in particular - Beth and Vicki.

Beth lived on my floor, and she enjoyed slow, sensual encounters on the floor of her room while a disco ball (actual size!) spun from the ceiling and classical music moaned from the stereo...Being a German farmgirl of some refinement, she had a taste for Brahms and Handel, though she got a bit rougher with the Wagner and Mozart, and had a particular passion for the Das Boot score by Klaus Doldinger, which possibly bordered on a fetish...

Speaking of fetishes, it's Victoria!

"Vicki" lived in a house off-campus, and I didn't meet her at the salad bar either. Vicki also worked at the Gordon Commons, and we shared a Wednesday night dishwashing shift that usually led back to her place and plenty of all the usual kinks...Vicki was a Goth Punk chick, I would say, which was actually a fairly unique thing in 1984..."Victoria" was the Goth side of her...Victoria dressed all in black, with straight black hair, dark eyes and milky skin...Her bedroom was littered with more than 100 candles of all shapes and sizes, and yes, one of her kinks involved hot wax...Victoria's favorite band was Bauhaus, but we shared a deep love for Pink Floyd and the requisite drugs to go with 'em..."Vicki" was the Punk side of her...A libertine who liked leather and steel and had a taste for anarchy and political rebellion. The first thing she ever gave me was a cassette loaded with Stiff Little Fingers songs..."Suspect Device" still kinda makes me stiffen a bit...The bottom line was that Vicki/Victoria was stone cold freak...I'll leave the rest to your imagination and browsing habits, and just say that this was the last year before AIDS entered everybody's consciousness, and for me, it was a very edutaining year...

Anyways, now that sex and drugs and alcohol are outta the way, let's move on to rock'n'roll, which is what this post is really all about, right?

I saw alot of bands back then, including The Replacements...

Which means we're right back to heroic drinking, and the reason I've been rambling about freshman dormlife circa autumn 1984...

The Replacements were bigger and better drunks than me or any of my friends could ever hope to be, and their live shows were sloppy affairs that often ended as outright disasters...Plenty of times the best they could manage were a long series of half-finished covers that played like an hour-long medley of Classic Hits Radio...It was pretty in it's own rock'n'roll way, which I guess just means it was kinda ugly...A forgotten critic of the time likened their live shows to "insect sex rituals", and I'm still not sure what that means, but I have to agree...The Replacements as a live act were the embodiment of guitarist Bob Stinson, I would say - the heaviest drinker of the quartet, the id of the band who preferred the loudfastrules of punk, raw energy with little taste or style...

The Replacements on record, though, were an entirely different thing, and of course singer/songwriter Paul Westerberg was 95% of the reason, simply because he was one of the best two or three rock/pop songwriters of his generation. He was still a lousy drunk in the autumn of1984, but by then he had all but perfected his punk rock chops, and was moving on to conquer classic rock, pop, and even outright balladry. 1984's Let It Be, and 1985's Tim, are undoubtedly two of the best rock albums of that era, that decade, and even of all time...Tim, in particular, is 100% power and beauty from beginning to end, the album on which Westerberg layed all his cards on the table, and wouldn't ya know it, the guy was a full-blown romantic all along...He was a poet, a bard, an honest-to-goodness troubador...Sad, tragic, hopeful while retaining just enough cynicism from his younger days...I won't say Paul Westerberg was a hero of mine, but he was definitely the kind of musician and songwriter I aspired to be. Sadly, I'm a Bob Stinson.

So, considering all this talk of drinking and debauchery, you might think I would stream "Here Comes A Regular" for you this week, but no, that song took on more significance for me a few years later, when I was living in a flat above a diner in downtown Grafton and hanging out at The Hutch, one of those smalltown dive bars with a Pabst sign hanging out front that is full of, ayup, regulars. A bit sad, a bit careless.

No, this week's song is "Answering Machine", from 1984's Let It Be album...

The Replacements: "Answering Machine": 128k mp3

You see, in April of 1985, Victoria and I "broke up" quite suddenly and without warning, even though we weren't exactly "going steady". The sex was great, our general chemistry was great, but one week she didn't show up for our Wednesday night dishwashing shift at the Commons. I found out quickly that she had requested shift changes, and when I went over to her house that night after work, she was either not home, or pretending not to be home. A mutual friend of ours assured me that Victoria was alive and well, but didn't want to see me anymore. I left several messages on her answering machine over the next few days, and finally met up with her at work, where she "didn't want to make a scene" and told me quite succinctly that she didn't want a serious relationship, and even if she did, I wasn't the one...Apparently, I was getting too serious and she was a Gemini who just wanted to fuck in strange and unusual ways.

I dated another Gemini a few years later, and that relationship ended exactly the same way, for exactly the same reasons. In a strange twist of fate, this Gemini, Sweetpea, ended up with my official Hazeltine House t-shirt. Geminis!

"Answering Machine" is a heartbreaking song, but it's Westerberg's performance, his singing, that makes it pure anguish and utter devastation, and elevates it all, the song and recording, to true and absolute greatness. Twenty years later, and this song still makes me well up with tears every time, and every once in awhile, it will make me outright cry like the perpetual teen that I am.

Wouldn't ya know it, underneath all my cynicism and my big ol' Bob Stinson heart, I'm actually a full-blown romantic!

My own sad tragedy, perhaps, is that I'll still never be a Paul Westerberg. Oh sure, I might be able to equal a song like "Dope Smokin' Moron", but "Answering Machine" and two dozen others? Not a chance.

These days, I'm the one who doesn't answer the phone. Paul Westerberg is doing the soundtracks to animated Sony films. Go figure.
Anyways, this week's edition of Something 4 The Weekend goes out to one of my anonymous Hot Poop readers. You know who you are...

Hotcha! Hank

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69 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous currently resides in Maine...the ties that bind back to the land of stolen Old Mil, tuna potatoe chip cassorole for dinner, queso-sera-sera...whatever will be..shall cheese. Quelle fromage. Radar....Love

May 04, 2007 9:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being a na(t)ive CheeseHead psudo-intellectual transplanted out to the "far upper reaches of the right coast" (Portland ME)...I have a question...What are your thoughts on freewill vs. predestination. A rather weighty question. I await your centered opine. All that FBL (fancy book learnin') at GHS seems not to resonate 25+ yrs after.

Golden Yearning...Radar..Love

May 04, 2007 10:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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November 04, 2007 7:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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November 04, 2007 9:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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November 04, 2007 10:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good job!

November 05, 2007 12:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please write anything else!

November 05, 2007 12:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Magnific!

November 05, 2007 1:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice Article.

November 05, 2007 1:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello all!

November 05, 2007 2:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please write anything else!

November 05, 2007 2:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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November 05, 2007 3:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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November 05, 2007 4:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks to author.

November 05, 2007 4:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks to author.

November 05, 2007 5:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello all!

November 05, 2007 5:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello all!

November 05, 2007 6:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When there's a will, I want to be in it.

November 05, 2007 7:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

640K ought to be enough for anybody. - Bill Gates 81

November 05, 2007 7:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please write anything else!

November 05, 2007 8:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are missing!

November 05, 2007 8:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

C++ should have been called B

November 05, 2007 9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lottery: A tax on people who are bad at math.

November 05, 2007 9:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If ignorance is bliss, you must be orgasmic.

November 05, 2007 10:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oops. My brain just hit a bad sector.

November 05, 2007 10:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Give me ambiguity or give me something else.

November 05, 2007 11:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't suffer from insanity. I enjoy every minute of it.

November 05, 2007 11:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks to author.

November 05, 2007 12:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't suffer from insanity. I enjoy every minute of it.

November 05, 2007 1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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November 05, 2007 1:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Energizer Bunny Arrested! Charged with battery.

November 05, 2007 2:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't suffer from insanity. I enjoy every minute of it.

November 05, 2007 2:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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November 05, 2007 3:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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November 05, 2007 3:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beam me aboard, Scotty..... Sure. Will a 2x10 do?

November 05, 2007 4:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lottery: A tax on people who are bad at math.

November 05, 2007 4:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

actually, that's brilliant. Thank you. I'm going to pass that on to a couple of people.

November 05, 2007 5:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Build a watch in 179 easy steps - by C. Forsberg.

November 05, 2007 6:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good job!

November 05, 2007 6:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is a free gift ? Aren't all gifts free?

November 05, 2007 7:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Friends help you move. Real friends help you move bodies.

November 05, 2007 7:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

640K ought to be enough for anybody. - Bill Gates 81

November 05, 2007 8:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A flashlight is a case for holding dead batteries.

November 05, 2007 8:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clap on! , Clap off! clap@#&$NO CARRIER

November 05, 2007 9:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All generalizations are false, including this one.

November 05, 2007 10:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are missing!

November 05, 2007 10:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is a free gift ? Aren't all gifts free?

November 05, 2007 11:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Magnific!

November 05, 2007 11:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good job!

November 06, 2007 12:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ever notice how fast Windows runs? Neither did I.

November 06, 2007 1:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please write anything else!

November 06, 2007 1:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Friends help you move. Real friends help you move bodies

November 06, 2007 2:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is a free gift ? Aren't all gifts free?

November 06, 2007 3:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Save the whales, collect the whole set

November 06, 2007 4:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is a free gift ? Aren't all gifts free?

November 06, 2007 4:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oops. My brain just hit a bad sector.

November 06, 2007 5:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Suicidal twin kills sister by mistake!

November 06, 2007 6:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is a free gift ? Aren't all gifts free?

November 06, 2007 7:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All generalizations are false, including this one.

November 06, 2007 8:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please write anything else!

November 06, 2007 8:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is a free gift ? Aren't all gifts free?

November 06, 2007 9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice Article.

November 06, 2007 9:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A lot of people mistake a short memory for a clear conscience.

November 06, 2007 10:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beam me aboard, Scotty..... Sure. Will a 2x10 do?

November 06, 2007 11:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks to author.

November 06, 2007 11:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

640K ought to be enough for anybody. - Bill Gates 81

November 06, 2007 12:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is a free gift ? Aren't all gifts free?

November 06, 2007 1:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is a free gift ? Aren't all gifts free?

November 06, 2007 2:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Build a watch in 179 easy steps - by C. Forsberg.

November 06, 2007 2:54 PM  

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