This you may find very difficult to believe. You will shake your head while moaning "No, no, no, no..." in shock. You will rethink your choice of religion. You will start to think that maybe Grandma was right about you after all.
Here it is:
I have not always been cool.
There. I said it. I feel better already. Kind of like how I feel after telling someone they have green stuff stuck in their teeth.
In fact, I was once so monumentally uncool that I willingly attended a Huey Lewis and the News concert in Duluth, Minnesota.
1984, maybe early 1985.
I was 13 or 14, and I was a bit of a tomboy. I had started experimenting with my appearance a little, and decided to frost my hair. "Frosting" (for those of you lucky enough to be blissfully ignorant of this heinous beauty application) was a brutal process where you put on this plastic bonnet thingy and pulled out chunks of hair through holes in the bonnet with what appeared to be a crochet hook. You would then have a trusted friend slather on the bleaching solution and 20 minutes later you would have "natural" looking "highlights" that looked like this:
My complete and total lack of reasoning skills and taste also held true in my musical choices. Though this was a short period in my life (not much more than a year later I would discover Lou Reed, The Dead Kennedys, Crass, British pop & punk and so on), it does me no good to try and hide it. Other people were there. Other people witnessed this nightmare. There are pictures.
I love love loved Huey Lewis with every fiber of my being. I thought he was cute. I loved the catchy songs. Hey! Did you know it's hip to be square? Cool! I listened to them in bed when I was supposed to be sleeping with one of those under the pillow speakers attached to my tape player.
When we (me, my older sister and my BFF Tallgirl) found out they were coming TO OUR TOWN SORT OF we freaked out a little.
We decided we had to go, even if we had to spend every last cent earned babysitting that kid that liked to smell his own farts.
Dammit! This was our one big chance to prove how WE were the best fans ol' Huey ever had. We'll show him that yes, we do "Believe in Love!" Yes we do!
I guess my parents were familiar with HLaTN and the relative goody-goodyness of their music, because we were allowed to go. Our parents agreed to drop us off before and pick us up after (a few blocks away lest anyone think we weren't old enough to drive).
We found out that a local radio station was having a "banner" contest. Holy shit- this was our chance to shine! Basically, if you made a banner and hung it from the first tier balcony- it would be judged by the asshat dj's and the winners got to go backstage.
We toiled for hours at my Grandma's house a few days beforehand. What to write, what to write...
We finally decided on "We love Huey, but no News is BAD news." (I died a little inside just typing that). We painted our catchy slogan on a white flat bedsheet in big, colorful letters. We were determined to win.
When the day came, we were so excited that we wanted to get to the arena extra early. Since that meant a few hours less of having to listen to three girls squeal and go "OH MY GOD" over and over, my Mom gratefully dumped us off in the afternoon. We were something like 4 hours early.
Here I am sitting in the entrance to the Duluth Arena that day. You will note that the entry is pretty much empty.
Yup. Just us. So early that the doors were still locked.
You will also note my awesome outfit. A white t-shirt (my sister's) with pastel polka dots, pale pink pleated shorts, pink and white enameled earrings, and (you can't see them) cheap knockoff Keds with pink ankle socks. Oh Lordy, how I loved to match. I'm sure I was probably wearing pink blush, pink eyeshadow and pink shiny lipstick too. Again- gross.
The Hooters were the opening band. For years in my early adulthood I would tell people that, yes- I did go to this particular concert, but really only because I wanted to see the Hooters. Somehow that was marginally less embarrassing to me than admitting the real reason I was there.
We didn't win the banner contest, as you could have well guessed. Our disappointment hung on us much like the aroma of the Sand and Sable perfume that Tallgirl wore. For years I saved a piece of that sheet with a few letters still intact. At some point I realized that it was evidence of something shameful and horrifying, and that it needed to be destroyed. I believe I burned it.
I'm not sure what we thought would happen if we had won. I'm sure I had glorious dreams of Huey sweeping me off of my feet and hauling me to a state that would allow a 13-14 year-old girl to marry an already 30-something pop star with a penis rumored to be the size of a mid-sized ferret. I would tour with the band, make them cookies, suddenly be glamorous...
So there you go. One of the most embarrassing shows I ever attended. Don't worry- I'll tell you about the other ones sometime too.
How about you? Any concerts hiding deep in the back corner of your psyche? Let it out! Think of it as taking a big, steaming, mental crap.
Happy Friday, my little steamed corny turdlets. Happy Friday.