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Dear Fred,

Thanks for tagging me in the “10 albums” challenge on Facebook. I don’t trust myself to remember to go on Facebook every day to post an album, so I’m going to just do it all at once here. And I’m going to break the rules again by adding commentary. I’m also adding parameters.

The following are the important albums of my “formative years.”

1. Shaun Cassidy, “Shaun Cassidy.” Shaun was my first celebrity crush. The garbage man was my first crush, according to my bemused mother. My mother made the mistake of telling me that Shaun was performing in Atlanta but that I was too young to go. I wept so hard my album (yes, I still have it) has watermarks from my extensive tears. Side story: I was singing “Da Doo Ron Ron” when I flipped over the handlebars of my bike and knocked out my front tooth.

2. Donny Osmond, “Donny Osmond Superstar.” My mother, God rest her soul, did not learn her lesson with Shaun. Once again, she told me he was performing in Atlanta, and, once again, I was deemed too young to go. Again, I wept. The cardboard album cover bears witness.

3. The Monkees, “The Monkees.” I watched the TV show in repeats on one of the three channels we got. Micky was my favorite, and we were supposed to get married. Perhaps he is the reason I have such a penchant for the rhythm section.

 

4. Duran Duran, “Girls on Film.” Getting cable — specifically MTV — changed my life. This began my habit of jonesing for Brits.

5. Adam Ant, “Friend or Foe.” Adam broke from his Ants to make the album that made him a household name. Though we recently broke up, I wish him well.

6. The Romantics, “In Heat.” I was in heaven when The Romantics toured with Adam as the opening act. This album also brought about one of my most painful memories. All my guy friends were into Rush and AC/DC. I suggested they listen to this, and gave one of them a cassette. A few days later, I got the cassette back — the innards in a pile on my desk. My “friends” were looking at me slyly to see my reaction. I felt my face begin to burn, and I left the classroom so they wouldn’t get the satisfaction of seeing me cry. These fellows have grown into lovely people, but I can’t erase this memory.

7. Van Halen, “1984.” Van Halen is only Van Halen if David Lee Roth is singing. Fight me. (I’ll DM you a Zoom link.)

8. Living Colour, “Vivid.” This was the first CD I bought. I played it and XTC’s “Oranges & Lemons” over and over on my five-disc CD player.

9. The Replacements, “Pleased to Meet Me.” The Placemats joined Sonic Youth, Soul Asylum, Hüsker Dü, Butthole Surfers, Love Tractor, Dead Kennedys, Big Audio Dynamite, Black Flag and the Pixies on heavy rotation during this period. That reminds me …

10. The Pixies, “Doolittle.” I recently saw them in concert. Still amazing. I do miss Kim Deal, though.

There you have it, Fred: My walk down memory lane.

Thanks for the prompt!
Beth

 

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Dear Body Fat:

I’m definitely in a period of change, ditching all that isn’t working for me. (Poor Adam.)

You were the first to go exactly a year ago. I don’t miss you at all. Sorry, not sorry.

You and I had an off-again, on-again relationship for years before I had the strength to shed you for good.

Without you, I’m a new person. I’m brave enough to share a bikini photo with the world (even though selecting “publish” on that post nearly made me barf).

I say “the world” because it’s a public post on the Internet. The true number is actually 720.

(Oof. That’s so many people online to have seen me in my bathing suit. Pardon me while I get sick in this trash can over here.)

People have noticed we’re not together anymore.

Just over a week ago, I had a chat with Disgruntled Danny, he of the pothole guest post, at a Jesse’s Divide event. (Yes, yet another mention of this band. Again, sorry, not sorry. They’re that good.)

This exchange happened early on in the convo:

Him, ever so British: May I ask you a personal question?

Me, completely American: Sure! Ask away!

Him: Where is the rest of you?

Along with breaking up with you, I’ve also broken up with all your best friends: self consciousness, anxiety, high cholesterol, all my large clothes and snoring.

I’m totally OK with that. You and your awful buddies drove me crazy.

Yes, I know you saw the things I ate while in England, including this:

Fish, chips and mushy peas? Sign me up!

But an occasional meal like that does not mean I’m welcoming you back into my life.

In fact, just the opposite. I’m now seeing plenty of the Gym. We’re very happy together. The Gym has friends like abs (haven’t seen them in SO LONG — see poster above), developed triceps, endorphins and workout soreness. They are all much cooler than your friends.

So stop trying to worm your way back into my life.

It’s over.

For real.

Regards,
Beth

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Dear Adam,

You know I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for you, but our love affair is over.

It’s not me. It’s you. Definitely you.

I gave you a pass when I saw you in 2013. And another in 2017.

But this time, it’s really over.

It’s too bad.

Pam and I were so excited to see you Friday. You were our first.

Our first concert, that is. The original “Friend or Foe” tour.

We even got there early to see your opener, the Glam Skanks.

They were great. Even though people sat through their set, the Skanks didn’t phone it in.

Unlike others (cough cough).

Listen, I know you are geriatric now. Maybe your hips hurt. I don’t know.

I do know that fans like Pam and me expect to see you do more on stage than just hop weakly a few times.

Was your hussar jacket too tight? Had you sweat too much already in your leather pants à la Ross? Were you afraid of your ridiculous straw hat falling off?

Whatever the case, your moves are gone. It appears your voice is too.

I’m sorry to be so hard on you, but I paid for a service — and I don’t feel serviced.

As Pam said, “We’re living on a memory.”

Part of it is not your fault. Perhaps the acoustics in Atlanta Symphony Hall are great for the Atlanta Symphony, but they were not great for you.

It wasn’t until I drug Pam up to the front that things got interesting. You had shed your jacket at that point (but not the hat, of course).

You went deep into “and the Ants” history and brought out “Physical (You’re So).” I thought maybe we could stay together.

But then I got a good look at your new facial hair pattern.

You know me: all or nothing.

I don’t know what’s going on with you.

All I know is that I’m moving on.

Adam, meet Chris and Randy.

I’m sorry you had to find out this way.

But, I went out last night to see Fozzy.

They BROUGHT IT in a way you haven’t for me for 20 years.

Don’t be too sad. We had a good run.

But I just can’t with you anymore.

You’ll be fine.

Go spend your time grooming and buying hats.

Sincerely,
Beth

 

 

 

 

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Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life. Let me share mine through music.

FRIDAY

Out Tonight
From “Rent
René and his partner Cris accompanied me for more recon for my PR project. I actually changed out of work clothes this time to go out. That’s commitment.

All Night Long
Buckcherry
There were three bands scheduled for this venue: The Sagas, Dank (formerly Dank Sinatra) and Casual Cadenza. We had an interesting conversation on the Lyft ride over about the word “credenza,” which would have been a better band name. The ride to the bar also featured this quote from Cris about my college drink of choice:

There’s nothing good at the bottom of a bottle of Boone’s Farm.

So true. Did you know they still make it? (Did you get a case of the clap from just thinking about those days? Just kidding. It was herpes. KIDDING. Maybe.)

The Sagas

The Sagas: The best band of the night. I’m bummed I didn’t take the photo before the singer took off his gold tablecloth.

Deadbeat Club
The B-52’s
I really didn’t understand the audience for many reasons. They paid to see these bands, yet they stood like recently reanimated corpses, dressed like they were going to a casting call for L.L. Bean catalog work. The men outnumbered the women at least 10-1. And all of these guys seemed like they were one drink away from switching sides.

A Toe Needs a Shoe
The Replacements
Apparently, Dank was the main attraction. I couldn’t see why, but all the stiff white people were THRILLED that this band had gotten back together after a reported six-year hiatus. In that time, they clearly did not give much thought to their stage wear for the big reunion. Or maybe they did. (That’s worse.)

IMG_1022

What is going on here? This is a true wardrobe malfunction.

Mean
Taylor Swift
When I read “Southern rock sound” in the Casual Cadenza bio, I thought I would like them. I did not. They sounded like a bad lounge band. Like I could smell Nick WintersBrut by Faberge. René should be happy he had to leave early because he had an early-morning flight.

Little T & A
The Rolling Stones
At some point in the evening, I got the booking manager’s email on a napkin (for the aforementioned PR project). I stuffed it in my bra for safekeeping. Somehow, it went missing. (I don’t know how; I promise the only hands in my bra were my own.) I got the email rewritten on a piece of register tape. It also went missing for a bit. It turned up the next morning. When I relayed this story to my “client,” my friend Simon, he called it “the Narnia Bra.” That’s bloody brilliant!

Seen in the ladies room. Nicky will what?

Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow)
The Monkees
For the second time in a month, I was still in the bar when they turned the house lights on. No one looks good when the house lights come on. No one. Cris and I scuttled away like roaches.

SATURDAY

Morning has broken
Cat Stevens
Sweet mother of God, that came quickly. Got to get up, because …

Take Me Out to the Ball Game
Jack Norworth
My youngest son is into baseball. I’m not into baseball. Yet there I was at his AAA game. Early morning. So early. Bundled up, sipping coffee, hiding behind sunglasses, and waiting for the Tylenol and English muffin to kick in. The game was a nail-biter. His team was up 6-1 going into the fifth inning of six. Then the wheels came off the cart. They went into the sixth down 7-9. My son managed to score the eighth run, but then the tying run was called out at home plate. The kid looked safe to me, but what do I know?

Gideon gets ready to score.

During the game, though, the coach used that classic line from “A League of Their Own” with a couple of the kids:

Lay off the high ones!

Pumped Up Kicks
Foster the People
My sons went to a paintball party for a neighbor friend. I dropped them off then dropped my top (of my convertible — come on!). Loud singing commenced.

I love my home town.

Don’t Leave Me This Way
The Communards version
When I got home, I resumed binge-watching “Game of Thrones” with Eddie, who had just gotten home from work. I know I’m late to this party; I’m only up to season five. I said to Eddie:

I really like Davos. I guess I’d better not get too attached to him.

I’m still attached to Jon Snow. I know, I know.

Chicken Fried
Zac Brown Band
I’ve lived in the South almost my whole life. I cook all the time, yet I’ve never made chicken and dumplings. Until now. Damn it was good.

Temptation Waits
Garbage
On Friday night, the bartender’s friend told Cris and me about another live-music venue we needed to try. Cris is only in town for a few days, so we decided to check it out. We agreed to go easy; our “check liver” lights were still on. The bar looks super shady from the outside, real dive-y on the inside, but we knew immediately it would be fun.

I love this photobomber.

Don’t Stand So Close to Me
The Police
Cris and I carved out a great space for ourselves off the dance floor, protected by a long table and a load-bearing column. We could dance in peace and still watch the excellent band — the Wasted Potential Brass Band — and people in the bar. So many interesting humans. It reminded me of the George Clinton concert: a medley of shapes, ages, colors, proclivities. We heard an older man say to a younger woman, “Can I pay you?” We watched a lady pull a whole wad of money out of her own Narnia Bra. We observed one fellow creep on every single female in the place. Suddenly, I felt a hand on my waist. Guess who!

Him: You have a way of galvanizing the troops.
Me: What?
Him: You are fantastic.
Me: Um … thank you.
Him: Do you want to dance?
Me: No, thank you.

And I slid closer to Cris.

Props to Creeper for creativity in opening lines, though. Here he is with his final score and her poncho.

“Let’s get out of here,” she said to him. Yes, SHE said that to HIM. And he had just grabbed her by the hair, all caveman style!

Closing Time
Semisonic
After the band’s second set, the atmosphere changed. It happened quickly. Suddenly, patrons were sloppy and desperate. Cris and I had enough. So had these guys, clearly:

Go home, fellas.

SUNDAY

Sunday Morning
No Doubt
Oof. That is all.

The Luck You Got
The High Strung
Brunch with Brian and Cindy, two friends from high school. There’s such joy in being with people who have known you since you were a wee lass and still like you (I think).

Back in Black
AC/DC
“Black Panther” lives up to the hype. Top-notch acting, strong women, great costumes and storyline. Go see it. Drop everything.

Atomic Dog
George Clinton
Gideon and his friend Miles started a dog-walking business in the neighborhood. My older son, well … unless you can get paid for playing “Fortnite,” he’s not going to be flush any time soon.

K-9 Kids Dog Walking, $5 per dog

Celebrity Skin
Hole
Oscar party at the home of the president of my university. I’m so fancy (Iggy Azalea) that I wore a fake fur scarf I picked up at a Leek thrift shop for £2. I had a great time catching up with a friend from college (even though we got shushed by a woman who didn’t realize she was in the fun room). The host kept score from our ballots on huge pieces of paper he taped to his French doors. (Have I mentioned how much I like my job?)

Can’t wait to see what next weekend has in store. Anyone up for a mission with me? Eddie just rolls his eyes as I revert to my 20s.

Don’t “Call Me” (Blondie) because I hate to talk on the phone (Right, Trish?). Text, tweet, FB message me or comment here if you want to “Stand and Deliver” (Adam and the Ants).

See you next weekend!
Beth

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Dear Brits,

I love you. You know I do. As I recently found out thanks to the results from the Ancestry DNA kit, I have at least 18 percent of you in my system (the geography nerd in me is a little confused by how Scotland and Wales are somehow marked separately from Great Britain, though). Look here:

Anyway, I’ve always been an anglophile, thanks to my burning desire for Adam Ant.

So when I needed time away to complete a project I’ve been procrastinating on for a year and a half, I chose your chilly, tea-soaked environs. Thankfully, I had a Delta voucher, vacation time available, and two long-time friends who live within 20 minutes of each other.

These are a few of my favorite things:

1. The pubs. Within a one-block radius in Uttoxeter, for example, I worked on my project at The Black Swan, The Old Swan, The Old Star, Ye Olde Talbot and The Vault. The Guinness was spectacular at all.

2. Coffee. I have no shits to give about tea (sorry), but you have proper coffee. I love that you feel free to order cappuccino at all times of the day.

3. Friendliness. You love Americans like mothers love their weird, wayward sons. I was a source of curiosity in every pub I visited to write. Many of you wanted to know what I thought about Donald Trump. (I try not to think about him.) Many of you were pleased at my beer of choice. Every pub played American music, which amused the crap out of me as I am the biggest fan of the Second British Invasion.

4. The TV. No one does television better than you. There is no way anyone else (except maybe the Dutch) would have given the world “Naked Attraction.” The promo line? “A daring dating series that starts where some good dates might end — naked.”

It’s not pixelated at 10 p.m. on a weeknight. I’m shocked. And hooked.

5. The language. I’m tickled at your phrases. The terms of endearment alone sold me (“Duck,” “Shug,” “Love”). I’m definitely “sorted” at the moment. I’m using “straightaway” instead of “now.” I’m in love with “posh” (the word, not the Spice Girl).

I could listen to you all day. And did:

“She wants a wee!” — said by Man One to Man Two as I was trying to slide past Man Two to get to the ladies room.

“We’ve replaced you with someone far more attractive. You weren’t doing your job, so we’ve sacked you.” — Man Three to Man Four as I was sitting in his seat at the pub.

6. Your bluntness. Take this sign, for example.

Harsh. I feel sorry for the Simon Howie haggis. They can dream, I guess.

Anyway, thank you for being you. I hope to see you again soon.

Tra!
Beth

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Dear Adam,

It was lovely to see you again. I must admit that you are looking much improved over the last time I saw you .

20130809-180534.jpg

The huge cummerbund (ie. Man Spanx) is gone, I see. You have a new jaunty Hussar hat that appears lightweight and vented. I’m sure it is much more comfortable than that wool monstrosity you were wearing in October. Your voice also has improved over the past 10 months, and the near-yodeling section of “Stand and Deliver” has benefitted markedly.

The only problem? You look tired. Worn out. In need of a vacation. I grant that you’ve been traveling for about a year. I get it. But you can’t just phone it in. People are counting on you.

I drove hours and my friend Julia flew over numerous states so that we could celebrate the 30th anniversary of when we saw you together the first time (with my poor dad as chaperone). The least you could do was one of your high kicks. OK, you are 58. I would have settled for a low kick — or even a sultry move to stage left. Nothing. You were center stage at Center Stage the whole night.

And you wore this:

20130809-192108.jpg

It’s not wise to wear a young version of yourself. As my friend Royce noted, you are now “that guy.”

To add insult to injury, you skedaddled seconds after the last note, thus depriving us of the chance to squeal at you for old times’ sake.

Really, Adam. Fans deserve better.

The fans who, as pre-teens, wore “Pure Sex” on our backs deserve better. (And P.S., how did we get away with that?)

The fans who still count you on the GOOMF list deserve better.

I’m disappointed. Julia is disappointed. (I think our friend Colleen is fine, but that’s because she did not have your former concert self as a guide for comparison.)

Of course I’ll give you another chance.

Don’t let me down.

Love always,
Beth

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Desperate but not serious

Dear Adam,

Let me just say right off the bat that I love you. So much. You are perpetually on the top of my “Get Out of Marriage Free” list.

And that’s why I want you to call my husband.

It’s an odd request, I know, but he is part of the Crossfit Cult. He can help you.

Why?

Because this is how you looked the last time in concert:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And this is how you looked Saturday night at the concert in New York City:

That cummerbund is hiding something I never thought you would have.

I’m not trying to be unkind. This is your first U.S. tour in 17 years. I know you took time off to deal with some personal issues.

I just don’t think you were (or are) taking very good care of yourself. You shouldn’t be winded by the second song. Your leaps and high kicks have become an Ed Grimley-style side twist. Your voice sounded like Marge Simpson’s sisters at certain points. I mean, the audience had to help out with “Beat my Guest,” for crying out loud.

This is not to say it wasn’t a fantastic show. It was. Absolutely. It was just hard to reconcile the Adam I remember with the current you. Granted, you could accuse me of carrying around a little more me also. Touché.

But you are in your late 50s now, and I want you to be healthy so you can do what you love: Create music and perform for fans. (And I still want to meet you.)

So, do us all a favor and call Eddie. He can help you try another flavor, so to speak. Be the dandy highwayman you once were.

And remember, as Whitney said, “I will always love you.”

Vive le Rock,
One of your most devoted Antpeople

 

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