Category Archives: Books, Movies, Music

Whaddaya mean, “You people?”

Tropic Thunder 3, by Deadly x Design on Flickr

We’re home now, just got back from NJsux, 11 PM out on the porch. Gorgeous full moon.

Nitram: The sky is so bright! Looka those clouds.

Me: Yeah. The moon looks so cool! It looked really cool in New Jersey, though, when it first came up.

Nitram: Yeah.

Me: It was HA-YOOJ.

Nitram: Yeah.

Me: It looked like cheese.

Nitram (laughing): …Cheese. You’re like cheese.

Me: I’m like Vietnam. (When it’s a hot and humid New England summer night, he always says, “It’s like Vietnam out here!”)

Nitram: *laughing*

Me: People say weird shit.

Nitram: What people, yooooou people?

Me (channeling RDJ in Tropic Thunder): Whaddaya mean, “You people?”

Nitram: *laughing*

Me: That was pretty good, huh?

Nitram: Yes, yes it was. You, you — you people, you.

Me (channeling Brandon T. Jackson): What do you mean, “You people?!”

Nitram: I gotta go in!

Me: Can’t take it?

Nitram: No, it’s chilly out here, I need more clothes.

Me: Whaddaya mean, “More clothes?”

Nitram (hiding behind kitchen door): You crack yourself up, don’t you?

Me: I kill me!

Man, it’s good to be home.

You All Look Alike

Me: Here, listen to this.
*music plays*
Me: Do you get anything out of it?
Nitram: Is it some kind of Grateful Dead thing…?
Me (trying to not gag): Ack! NO.
Nitram: What…?
Me: Okay, if you could read the lyrics and listen, would that help?
Nitram: Do I have to?
Me: Yes.
Him (long-suffering): Okay…
Me (brings lyrics up on screen while playing music): ‘k, lissen.
*music plays*

You All Look Alike
The Byrds

Starlight crossed my eyes, she took me by surprise
Said You’d come to town last summer, brought me down
I said I’ve never seen the likes of you before
She pulled a gun and not in fun, I’m dyin’ on the floor

You all look alike, I’m sorry I don’t know
You all look alike, we never met before
No matter how I try to say I’ve never been down this way
Said I couldn’t be fair, ’cause you all look alike

Lyin’ there and dyin’ there I’m tryin’ to get my strength
It’s so hard to get on back when you’re lyin’ at full length
All the crowds and all the dogs from miles around just stare
They looked at me and shed a tear, I’m glad those people care

You all look alike, I’m sorry I don’t know
You all look alike, we never met before
No matter how I try to say I’ve never been down this way
Said I couldn’t be fair, ’cause you all look alike

You all look alike, I’m sorry I don’t know
You all look alike, we never met before
No matter how I try to say I’ve never been down this way
Said I couldn’t be fair, ’cause you all look alike

Me: So, what did you get out of that?
Nitram: Get out of…?
Me: Arrgh. Do you get anything out of the lyrics? A story or something?
Nitram: Some guy kills a dog…?
Me: aieeeeee
Nitram: What…?
Me: He’s some guy who fucks over — and fucks — a lot of women, and one time he goes someplace he’s never been before — a very unfriendly town by the sound of it — and this woman mistakes him for a different guy who fucked her over, and she kills him. I get the sense that she’s kind of insane anyway. The irony is that he’s not that guy, but he is that guy in the sense that he’s everyman in respect to the situation, cos all those women are alike to him anyway. So she gets retribution, and he gets what he’s always deserved anyway. I just thought it was kind of cool all that was packed into a simple little song, especially the irony.
Nitram: (looks at me like I’m barking): No, I totally didn’t get that.

I grew up watching lots of science fiction, Westerns, and martial arts movies because that’s what my grandfather watched, and I always watched TV with him. So when I was a kid I thought this song was about a Western, because of the shooting and the classic town-unfriendly-to-strangers theme, but I was too young/clueless to figure out the “plot.” When I was a teen and really into the SF I thought maybe it was about this poor guy stumbling upon a town of creepy aliens and they had to kill him to keep him from revealing them. It wasn’t until I was in my 30s and heard it again after a long time that I finally figured out what it was really about.

George & James

Today is George’s birthday. He’s my six-years-younger little brother. Gotta love him.

This is (one of the many reasons) why:

I’ve been waiting for about 20 years to see James. A few months ago Nitram heard about James tickets before I did, and soon as he told me I bought two for us. Then I tried to forget about it because every time I thought about it, I’d get severe butterflies. After all, knowing that you’re going to soon realize a dream 20 years in the making is no small thing.

Luckily, the concert fell on the week Nitram was on vacation, a Tuesday night. Monday morning, he wasn’t feeling too good at all (in the end — no pun intended — pretty much his whole vacation week was filled with rain and four days of stomach bug). Tuesday morning was no different. Tuesday afternoon: “Maybe you’d better call George, see if he can go with you…” Well, by then, I was prepared to take the train into the city by myself, and give the other ticket to some lucky person outside Webster Hall. But I called George anyway, emphasizing that he didn’t have to go, just that if he wanted to, I had an extra ticket… and that it was likely we wouldn’t get back home til about 2 AM (he has to get up for work at 6 AM).

Leave it to my little brother not to let his big sister go into the Big Bad City on her own (I’m just a country mouse). And he’s not even a James fan. All he really knows of James is what he hears when he’s here (I play them a lot).

We were about six people back, center left, and by not even halfway through the concert, we were only three back and center. Weird how the crowd just gradually shifts and you don’t realize it as it’s happening.

Tim Booth of James

The way James opened the show was surprising and wonderful to me: Larry and Tim appearing in a corner of the balcony, playing “Sit Down.” And the rest of the band sneaking onstage behind us, as everyone had turned to the back of the theater to watch Larry and Tim. Something made me turn back to the stage and there they were: Andy, Jim, Saul, Dave, Mark. The people in front of me seemed momentarily shocked: Why is this person facing the wrong way? But the rest of the band was onstage! That’s why! It was fantastic!

A highlight of the concert for me was that Andy was there. Made my day. Well, if he would have worn one of his gowns it would have made my year, but being that close to him, hearing the trumpet soar and glide and lilt… seeing the joy and love in his face — how could that not make my day?

James played on the second level of the Webster, and George told me later he was about ready to yank me out of there and leave because the floor was bowing so much. When the crowd would jump and dance, the floor was like a trampoline, and I could feel it moving under my feet. Even when we weren’t jumping, we were still going up and down, up and down, from the weight of the crowd around us. Reminded both me and George of the 1999 New Year’s Eve party at Neal‘s, my former downstairs neighbor in this old Victorian house we rented. The floor just about gave way and George and Nitram and Steve and a few others had to go into the basement and shore it up with beams and columns and whatever they could get their hands on.

The concert well met the 20 years of waiting. The end of the show was as unusual to me as the beginning, a surprise that “Sometimes” was the song that “Sit Down” used to be: the crowd-singing, crowd-involving, crowd/James/love-exchanging finale. All of us singing a cappella to the band, “Sometimes, when I look into your eyes, I can see your soul…” Do I even need to try to explain that? Even if you’re not a James fan, take those lyrics and imagine, and you’ll see.

A funny and small highlight of the show was at the end, before the encore: Larry was doing his photographing the crowd thing, grinning with delight while the rest of the band was taking bows and thanking back at us — then they left the stage, and Larry was still there with his camera, still grinning, loving the crowd. Suddenly he realized he was alone onstage, did a kind of double-take, his grin getting bigger and slightly sheepish too, and he said something like, “Ooh — where’d they all go?” and ran offstage looking silly in the most appealing way. So spontaneous and endearing.

So thanks to George, I didn’t have to go to the Big Bad City all alone to see James. That makes it all the more memorable.

Not the most impressive first blog post ever, but definitely the Best Brother Ever.

Photo Credits:
Basement self portrait, by George
Tim Booth of James, by George
Andy Diagram of James, by me