I wish I was able to tell you the more glamorous story of how I met Blur and Chloe Sevigny, but I need to dig up the hard evidence before I can elaborate. In the meantime, I shall tell you this story instead:
I am indeed old enough to remember the dawn of mankind, when the internet was accessible in every home via landline. The cost was exorbitant because flat rates were non-existent and your choice of providers included AOL and CompuServ.
CompuServ and black coffee was probably the best diet I had ever had. I would spend at least 8 hours a day in chat rooms asking people, “Do you like Blur?” I quickly went from 150-ish pounds to 118 pounds. Now, you are probably thinking, “How did asking people if they liked Blur get you anywhere?” Well, it did, and, once again, I will tell the more glamorous story of how that question led to meeting Blur and Chloe Sevigny at a later time.
A clever handle attracted chat roommates to IM you. I happened to be “Lucretia ‘Lulu’ Borgia” (thanks to Momus) at the time, so I was IM’d by someone called “Duckman”. Duckman’s real name was David, but he went by the nickname of Woody. He was a graduate of UCLA journalism school, an ex-pat living in France, who was, you guessed it, a journalist. He was 12 years my senior, so there was a definite generation gap. We bitched a lot about our distaste with society, you know, the usual stuff that 30-something-year-old men discuss with 19-year-old girls*. When it came to discussing music, I asked my usual, “Do you like Blur?” and he responded with, “Never heard of them.” So, somehow I convinced him to give them a listen. I also convinced him to listen to Suede. At this point I think we were actually e-mailing each other, since I had to limit my online use as it was carrying weight on my father’s credit card.
Duckman absolutely loathed Blur and called Suede a David Bowie rip-off. He told me that I should listen to stuff like Les Rita Mitsouko and Half Man Half Biscuit. He even sent me a mix tape of their stuff.
LRM reminded me of a cross between Siouxsie Sioux, Nina Hagen and the Sugarcubes. HMHB was very catchy and quite hilarious, but they were almost like some Nabokov novels, you know, where you have to know the language (or several languages) in order to get the joke, so there were a lot of Britishisms that I just couldn’t get. Thankfully, these days, there are websites that interpret their lyrics. Suffice to say, I was intrigued, and I wanted more.
Yet this was the late 90’s, where only rich people owned laser discs and cell phones. I was typing into what I believed was an Apple IIc+ computer. The internet meant I had access to transcontinental communication via chat rooms. It meant I could find myself a British boyfriend. It meant I could find fellow fans of Blur, as I was living in a land where I was the only person who was into the glory that was Britpop. I take it for granted now, but technology was exciting back then. It was exclusive to a certain few, so gaining access felt like a privilege rather than the “just an everyday thing” that it is now. There was no Google, no IMDB, no YouTube, no Amazon.com.
I was at a loss. None of the local record stores carried LRM or HMHB and special orders were few, but pricey. All I had was that mix tape.
Years pass. Duckman and Lulu keep emailing each other. They would talk about David Lynch and Anthony Burgess and hate on Alanis Morissette (he would call her either “Alanis Morris-the-Cat” or “Anus Mori-sanctimonious”). They would also fight. He would say stuff like “Quit trying so hard to be cool. I’m bored”. And, she would just, well, cry.
Then, Lulu finds herself working at a local independent record store owned by some ex-bigwig concert promoter. She finds LRM and HMHB, a disc apiece is available through special order and somewhat cheap because she gets a 20% discount! Then, at the age of 21, Lulu gets her first boyfriend, an ex-coworker, and that is the end of the story of Duckman and Lulu Borgia.
Erm, I don’t really know why I decided to end this story about my early internet days in the third person. And, I don’t know why it took an entire novel just to share these YouTube LRM and HMHB treasures, but I don’t call myself Queen of the Waffle for nothing! On with the show!
P.S. I hope you enjoy Russell Mael’s harem pants and Ron Mael looking more and more like Ian McKellen in Richard III…
*I broke out my abacus, did the math, and this actually happened during the Age of Reason (Bangs) and have since corrected my age from 18 to 19.-C.11/12/11