Lisa v Elvis
I just don’t want to stick my finger in my eye
So I email my friend Farmer Ted (FT) to tell him I have been freebasing Elvis Costello’s latest, When I Was Cruel. I have been listening closely and as I listen my dormant tuber of faith sprouts. My back snaps. I am scared and I am relieved.
Dear Readers, I do Believe in the new bands - the new sounds, it is just that I am now older than the kids in the new bands I love. The ones who awoke my soul in the first place continue to make soul shakers but it is rare they’re shaking me like I got no spine.
I am forever a fan. Yet, I have been growing bitter and hopeless. I am left to fear the inevitable. Is Rock and Roll my sweet bird of youth? Do I need to move on? What do I do when all I want is to grow vital?
So here came Elvis Costello again, skating backwards into my life saying “Hey kid –everything will be alright. Here’s a record with the mezcla that you long for- the fall and catch beats, foreign sounds, a stomper, a swinger, sorted stories, shameless cries, a disapproving stare… a record with all the effects, a record made without a pitch corrector.” And he is a man of 47 years, 48 now, a vital man, a man older than me.
So yeah, I fell pretty hard for this record.
And my friend FT emails me back, “I went into the video store and my hair was sweaty and pushed back from riding my bike- and as I walk past two skatepunks in the games section- I heard one say `There goes Elvis Costello.’” (yes, Farmer Ted does wear thick black rimmed glasses). My blood was heavy with jealousy.
I want to be Elvis Costello, or at least mistaken for him. The only person I’d ever been mistaken for was Lisa Loeb (yes, I too don The Glasses). I was walking west on 11th Street in NYC, maybe 7 years ago. As usual, this part of the street was pretty empty. There was a guy walking past me, checking me out, and as he passed he said, “Hey Lisa Loeb.” A confusing experience on all levels.
Now, hearing FT’s tale and recalling my own mistaken identity – I’m pissed. How come I get Lisa Loeb and he gets Elvis?! Is it just that the world lacks a woman in glasses who understands and transcends 3 chords + phat beats+ an unrelenting verbal and vocal vocabulary? Do record companies just not make passes at girls in glasses? Why am I perceived as Lisa when I feel like Elvis?
As I am writing this I start to feel guilty. How much do I really know about Lisa Loeb? Am I being unfair? Maybe she just hasn’t done anything for me yet?
So I skip to her website. I am more like her than I want to be. She is a nerd. She is way into Hello Kitty. She is very normal. And it appears as though she may even be sincere. She was discovered by movie stars. She is a working singer/songwriter. She is getting it on with Dweezl Zappa. She is every girls dream….
Alas, as I download her songs, there are no sparks. No feelings of confusion and wonder, fear and trust, no body movin’/ no body groovin’. I did not fall in love.
And as I am in bed, as my family sleeps, I make my silent plea. To the girls out there, write songs in blood, sing as if only death will stop you, don’t forget these are songs of liberation, I need to be able to dance to them, and please don’t take your glasses off.
This is for all of your writings, songs, pictures or however else you feel like expressing yourself. Have at it!
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