Here's my story, it's kinda long...
Search and play back through the years:
In November, 1991 I was in New York, staying at my favorite hotel... the
bartender was this guy Pete, who loved being a bartender... it was like the
bar was his party, he was the host, he'd introduce you to whoever was
sitting next to you, start the conversation, keep it going, visiting with
everyone at the bar while doing the drinks, filling in stories whenever the
conversation lagged, and one night, among the salesmen and commercial
travellers, Roddy was there... he was working on Dreamland... I was
chatting with the guy next to me, (Roddy sat next to him,) and
occassionally Roddy would make a remark, sort of under his breath, (being
shy, I guess) and the guy or Pete the bartender would laugh and repeat it,
it was always some clever remark, or joke, something literary, usually, we
all seemed to share a lot of the same literary references... it was
fun... then we closed down the bar and went out with Pete to a night owl
place, where we could talk a few more hours and play the jukebox, and sing
along... so we played and sang and talked till about dawn, ... if I had
been 15 years younger I would have been madly in love ... but life has had
some great lessons, and I was in the midst of a profound and sad period ...
in spring my sister had died, ... I had spent time in summer caring for a
friend who died at Labor Day (early September). The first weekend of the
month I had been in Chicago, visiting with a friend from college days who
was in the hospital (another terminal illness) ... We talked about that,
too. It was nice to find someone who seemed to understand those confused
phrases ... I felt like his sympathy/empathy was a great gift. He was such
a kind listener, as I must have been making little sense, except to someone
who knew the same experiences or similar. The weight of sorrow/grief is
hard to share ... my attempt at putting such experience into words was
lacking, I'm sure, I'm not very articulate... but mostly we spent the time
in conversation making jokes and laughing, rather than plumbing the depths
and sharing sorrows... the next day he bought a new guitar, and played for
hours, he said, all evening, I guess, just dropping in to the bar at
closing time, his eyes were shining, he was glowing with the pleasure as he
talked of having this new guitar ... it was Pete's birthday and we took him
out for a bottle of champagne to celebrate... Pete had a great story about
his previous birthday, when Bon Jovi was staying at the hotel ...
After I got home from my trip I picked up some Aztec Camera albums, and
became a big fan of Roddy's musicianship and poetic lyrics ... he has a
very special place in my heart, as well.
Sometimes you meet someone casually, and have that special rapport, a
stranger seems as comfortable as if he is an old friend, and you pour out
your heart without feeling embarrassed.
Fast forward to 1998:
I live on the west coast, still love to travel, but haven't been able to
afford many trips these days ... for the past few years I've been doing
freelance work, mostly fun jobs, but not far from the starving artist class
In summer 1998 I had planned a trip to visit friends in Scotland, but got a
job (8 weeks as assistant producer on a commercial) and had to cancel the
plans. I promised myself to go the next time something fun was tempting ...
And then in September Michael (our most excellent webmaster) announced to
the Aztec Camera mailing list that for The North Star album, Roddy was
doing a special little intimate gig in Stornoway, on the Isle of Lewis in
the Outer Hebrides, on October 8 ... October 9 is my birthday, what could
be a nicer party? I rearranged for my flight which had originally been
planned for July ... and Graham was planning on making it to the gig from
Edinburgh, we'd become acquainted through the email list. It seemed like
such a fun adventure, off I went. The first 31 hours of the trip a blur of
travel, flight to San Francisco, then to London, to Glasgow, train to
Inverness, overnight in a little hippie hostel, early morning get on the
bus to the ferry at Ullapool, then 3 hour ferry ride to Stornoway. I found
a lovely little B&B with a terrific chef... had fabulous vegetarian
dinner, did some star gazing (the meteor showers in Leo, as I recall) ...
Thursday I visited the standing stones, took some photos, played tourist
in the National Geo style landscape. Weather turned cold and wind came up,
Thursday night, Roddy Frame played a special show in Stornoway.
I walked in a bit late, after Stray, the first song, (a favorite how could
I have missed it?!) ... but just as I came in the door I heard Roddy say
"Is there a Lesly here from New York?" I didn't hesitate to shout, even
though it could have been someone else they were lookin' for ... so I ran
through the crowd to join Graham on the dance floor, with a big hug, as
though we were long lost friends, instead of total strangers who were only
meeting the first time.
Roddy played a few bars of "New York, New York," as we hugged and
introduced ourselves, and when he played "The Sea is Wide" he dedicated it
to us ... of course we were incredibly happy.
We enjoyed the concert, had a few drinks afterwards, (it was Graham's
stag-nite fling, of sorts, he and his flame planned to elope at the end of
the month ... ) in the after hours lounge of the hotel where Graham was
staying. It was another great party of a night, we didn't call it a night
till 2. We met the gang that had come to the northern isles with Roddy for
the show, and some fun locals, one Glaswegian who'd moved to Michael's
stomping grounds of Chicago. Roddy dropped by to chat with us as well. It
was nice he remembered me after seven years (of course neither of us have
aged a bit!) Sweet memory.
These are magic moments, we shared this terrific evening in the gale and
rain, and chatting with a guy we've listened to for years as a confidant,
confessor, intimate friend, playing those songs that fit the moments in our
life for each time we need them, in our living rooms, bedrooms, car
stereos, setting a mood, offering a poetic lyric, setting our minds running
ahead of our hearts, or behind them, sometimes ... this is getting too
sappy, I'm gonna be embarrassed about posting it if I go on ...
Anyway, it was a fine night, I don't think I stopped smiling once. I'm
grinning wide in all of
of me, I'm sure.
But I guess the last thing I should say, for a shy person who can barely
say five words without losing track of her train of thought, embarrassed at
proving to be the cultural stereotype of the dumb blonde, more often than
not ... this was too cool ... having this entourage of guys in their fine
form, racing into the lulls in conversation and jumping from topic to topic
like puppies frolicking on a summer's day, from song lyrics to
philosophical questions, it was one of the funnest nights in recent memory
... I would gladly travel 10,000 miles again anytime to enjoy such good
company ... please don't ever talk yourself outta doing something wild if
it is where your heart is at the moment, you never know if there will ever
be another chance.