Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Power of the (un?)familiar, or how I dreamed of killing in the name of Frank Sinatra

Well, I made it to Scotland, landing in Glasgow and hanging out for a couple of days with my Sweets in town before heading on to my new hometown, Perth. Side note: y'all, I saw a bunch (20 or so) black folk in Glasgow!! I was even given a card-flyer about the dance hotspot for black folk so you know to expect something on that when I get a chance to attend. There is hope yet!

By anyway...Glasgow is an amazing town. It's extremely cosmopolitan and stylish--loads of great, eclectic, ethnic culinary spots, along with diverse and forms of arts, music, history, architecture. While I expect that in a great city, I also find Glasgow to be unique in its quiet, simmering sense of violence. Walking around, I see classy and alternatively dressed Glasgewians--coming and going with purpose and flair. But some of them make me a little nervous. There are people that look and sound like they just came out of a 19th c. factory--as if the Industrial Revolution only started 20 years before and they're living a hard, hard life. These people have an edge that I find intriguing and a little scary at the same time. Even the bus drivers dare you to cross the street and the wrong time and "test" your reaction time by actually speeding up--like they are trying to hit you! This happened to me 4 times!! And each time, the driver locks eyes with me as if to say "Bitch, you know you shouldn't have tried to cross. I will get you next time."

Even some of the businessmen, make me nervous. Walking down popular and touristy Sauciehall Street, Andy and I saw a man, dressed in business suit. I'm not talking some cheap poly-blend from Sears or JCPenny, people. The suit was an elegant and expensive cut. The weird thing was that the man was had a good, long scar from his left ear to the area above his upper lip. I hadn't seen a scar like that since I lived in Miami and watched a girl cut open another girl's cheek on the Metrobus for picking on her. (Interesting how easily cheek flesh falls open like the pages of an old book when sliced).

Anyhow, I asked Andy about knife fights and he answered that it's extremely common, but a more effective manner of damage is to take a bottle and run it into someone's face until it shatters!
"If more people had guns instead of knives, Glasgow could easily compete for the murder capital of Britain," Andy added.

All I could think of was to make sure I never make a mistake in this town. I kinda like my face as it is.

So, here's where the title of this post relates to my babbling. Friday night, Andy and I got free tickets to see this musician Paul Buchanan at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.

Photo of The BLUE NILE band. Paul Buchanan is the one hanging his head...I would hope, in shame.

Paul Buchanan was to perform for three nights to sold out crowds. Now, by no means am I up on every kind of music genre and their relative kings and queens. However, I never heard of this man and was curious to understand what kind of artist would sell out in Glasgow several nights running.

I asked, "So what's the big deal about this Buchanan guy?"
"Buchanan," Andy corrected.
Thoroughly confused, I just stared at him.
"His name is pronounced 'ba can none', not the way you (i.e., Americans) say it: 'bee u can in.'"

My response to typical tomAAto-tomAHto debates, is 'oh'.

To continue, I asked again, what's the deal?

Turns out this guy used to be with a group called Blue Nile (and performed with most of the Blue Nile band members that night) who only churned out 4 albums in 25 years!!

Let me say that again: 4 albums in 25 years!!
Furthermore, he's only toured once a decade making this tour, only his third time live.

The music was...ok. It reminded me of all those atmospheric songs played during a movie montage where the protagonist is driving around the country, trying to look introspective, seeing this and that. Those montages and the music it accompanies, thankfully, usually lasted maybe 30 seconds or a little more.
Well, imagine sitting in the car with that protagonist and actually having to stare at the back of his head for DAYS while he drills that damn AM Gold music into your blood-soaked ears.
That's what I felt.
At one point, I realized that my heart was beating extremely fast--not because the music grew loud and feverish--no, no. It was because the music has lulled me to the point that I stopped breathing and before I slipped into a coma, my heart began screaming for oxygen.

Interestingly enough, the crowd was wild for him. Here, I'm thinking this man could put anyone into an anesthesiatic state, but the crowd LOVED him. These were his fans--like crackheads, really.

And so, I thought 'this is the power of the familiar', much like that strange relationship of dependency and often love, that occurs between the kidnapper and victim. Because the fans have had only 4 albums to play over and over and over for 25 years, anything that could come from this man--no matter how droll or prosaic--was manna from heaven.

Churning this over with Andy, he disagreed with me (as he usually does). He said it's the opposite. It's because Paul B. so rarely connects with the audience, that every little note and word is a surprised gift--an extra 10 presents at Christmas.

Well, whatever. I tried. I wanted to get it maybe I need 25 years to become familiar.

This is why the American music industry does let just any crap on the radio. Granted, we do have a lot of crap, homemade. But maybe music industry does feel a little bit protective of us.

(alright alright...a girl can dream)

So when I believe that I would go into menopause, sitting there for so damn long with such chloroform-soaked tunes seeping into my head, it ended but not without an encore. Oh yes, one must give the crackheads a reason to wait another 10 years for the possibility of a live concert.

And damn it if it didn't get worse.
For his closer, he sang "Strangers in the Night" to the absolute shock and revulsion of me and the deafening cheers of his crackheads. And when he started whining "shoo be do be do..." I wanted to jump down from the balcony, steal up the aisle towards the stage where I would leap up and stab him in the thorax with my knife that I never have on my person. I would let the blood spew from his throat as I yell, "This is for Frank Sinatra!!"

Now, I like a little Frankie in doses, and by no means am I anyone's henchman. But come on! If you were there; if you heard how he butchered that poor, defenseless song... Why? Dear lord, why would he do this?

Hell, if you heard what I heard, not only would you let me take that man out, you would have covered me.


At May 30, 2006, 9:17:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love your comments re: Buchanan. Especially you defending Sinatra's "Strangers in the Night." But what struck me most about your last post is how god awful cold it looks in Glasgow - and it's practically June!! It's 90 degrees in DC and I'm melting!!! Cold and dismal ... girl, I'm sending you a sunlamp or you'll never survive the winter.


At May 30, 2006, 11:25:00 PM, Blogger Jamie Brandon said...

Great stuff Peg! Keep it coming...I may know more about what's going on in your life in Scotland than I did when we were only 500 miles apart!

As far as the knife fights....seems like Miami and Glasgow might have more in common than you thought! As I am from Memphis (also at one time a murder capitol), I like a town with a gritty edge....

See you soon!


At May 30, 2006, 11:26:00 PM, Blogger Jamie Brandon said...

BTW: I put a link to your blog on mine...I hope that's o.k.

At Jun 1, 2006, 4:09:00 AM, Blogger girlblue said...

laughing out loud!

At Jun 1, 2006, 4:36:00 AM, Blogger Martin Perna said...

Hey Peggy. We miss you. On a road trip gone bad we drank some of the orange liqueur you left with us and thought of you fondly.



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At Dec 6, 2007, 9:12:00 PM, Blogger Slutty McWhore said...

OK, so I know that you wrote this post ages ago, but....couldn't resist commenting.

I also love Paul Buchanan. When I was 23 (seven long years ago. I just turned 30 today, actually) I used to live just up the street from him, and I was totally and utterly in love with him. He's just so goddamn sexy.

Also, Glasgow really isn't as bad as Andrew makes out. Sure, it's got an edge but I've never had any trouble there. In fact, I actually like that undercurrent of violence, as it keeps me on my toes. That's why I can't stand living in Austin - as far as I'm concerned, it's filled with a bunch of over-privileged, dull white people. I moved over to the Eastside just so I could get a bit of edge.

By the way, don't mention on my blog that I live in Austin. I'm trying to be semi-anonymous.

At Dec 31, 2008, 7:57:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was curious how a version of strangers in the night could possibly drive someone to homicide. Well I youtubed it and... I would so give you a not guilty verdict.

At Jul 26, 2009, 11:32:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the first entry I have read on your blog. I busted out laughing for a good minute or two. I could totally relate when you said "This is for Frank Sinatra!" I could picture it and hear that man's awful singing. I am stil chuckling inside. Thanks!


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