Cheeky! Yes, clicking on Cheek's latest offering on sex and drugs and rock and roll,
I was reminded of, well, sex and drugs and rock and roll. Which can be sometimes perceived as a history of convenience.
History: “a set of lies agreed upon.” (Napolean)
Or, to the victors belong the spoils. Popular writing (or great writing like Joyce) I am told is supposed to be earthy. Once you poke through the surface, you get to the place where the worms inhabit and crawl. I hate remembering some back stage scenes, rehearsals more contrived than what’s presented publicly to the audience.
I remembered a guy who always maintained, much in the same way that Hugh Hefner is inclined to do, that sex is an every day part of life, and so he was willing to use other people’s sex so he could get ahead in his career. He had developed a relationship of convenience with a woman who had access to the important The Record Company crowd in part so he would be accepted and taken
seriously by The Record Company crowd. That way, too, he got to acquire all of the important phone numbers in their contact lists, names in their rolodexes, their anecdotes became his knowledge, and most importantly their social (read business) connections would become his.
As the reader, you’re now ahead of where I was at the time because I really didn’t know this about him yet when I bumped into him once backstage at one of her concerts.
Of course, every one else was way ahead of me in thinking this about him, because they were accustomed to such attitudes, such tactics are merely assumed behaviors.
Anyway, back to the wings of the stage. He was still in pursuit of his dream, standing to the side in a mid-sized hall he couldn’t yet begin to fill on his own name. He stood there in a gray suit. A bouquet of flowers, stems wrapped in green waxed florist paper, a token which he had carried in, were laying now on top of a nearby amplifier. Either too much of an effort to so much as hold the bouquet, or maybe he felt that made him look too much like a “suitor”.
But during the show, he did use his time efficiently to arrange to have the flowers given to her at the end of the performance onstage in one of those staged gestures so commonplace in productions, about as genuine as saving the hit song for the obligatory "encore". "Oh, baby's breath", she laughed.
She did actually record one of his songs that he had been trying to sell her (after no doubt his label insisted on songwriter’s “first right to record”). Her record company was pressuring her to put out pop music to appeal to a more mainstream base, and she obliged. Her career was stalled by her brief immersion into the thin pop mainstream. But that cover meant a great deal to him, as he
now had his music out simultaneously on two different labels, labels he hoped would begin competing financially for him in exactly the same way they encouraged bidding wars among the clubs where their artists were contracted to perform.
Finally, he moved up the ladder to the real stars and was crossing over into business acquaintances with the important movie and entertainment crowd, all while achieving a bit of much-wanted fame himself. He was being handed the keys to the Magic Kingdom.
Nevertheless, because he was habituated to a form of anecdotism he could be relied upon to recount his conquests. Reputations are often enhanced by the more important people who are shining up the sheets for the lesser stars. He shared his stories with his coterie, this form of casual reminiscence taking on the social form of an equivalent of a vicarious gang banging.
Presenting early on to the women who could enhance a career someway as the sweet-natured boy who lavishes affection (like a flower for a secretary who will with the right form of attention come in handy and he moving thus through his career like a lilac-salesman), his remarks soon were often graceless boasts, merely dropping the important name he was currently humping.
Most often, he contrived to demean his conquests while his prestige by mere mention of propinquity to them was polished to a
brighter shine. He'd deliver the synopsis of his previous evening’s success, such as it was, in one of his boozy, rambling, poorly phrased, and badly-timed punch lines: “Well, I had been drinking the night before ...”
Was he ever at all intelligent or amusing, no. Were his observations always riddled with pretensions of class, always.
For instance, he tsked about his stage name: “I wouldn’t have picked such a damned common name”. Except, he pronounced the word “damned” as “dimmed” in the way that lousy 18th century novelists wrote of prancing pimpernels and in exactly the manner in which out-of-it British royalty currently spoke, but he was not in any way aware he was anachronistic in speech patterns. He wasn’t joking. That’s merely how he spoke and obviously thought. Of course, his bevy of courtesans would insist he’s merely being “ironic.”
I find myself wishing sometimes most show biz people were just wind-up toys that I could put back in their box when I’m tired of them.
I hate their memoirs, too. Always heavy volumes of historic narcissism -- a magnum opus of upper-class vainglory and scrupulous evasion. And everyone they’ve ever associated with are just the best and brightest there ever were. Compliment, cliche, drone, drone, drone.