' ' Cinema Romantico: What Happens When You're Six Inches From Handsome Furs?

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

What Happens When You're Six Inches From Handsome Furs?

You choke, that's what.

Allow me to explain. Last Friday my friend Dave and I went to the Bottom Lounge for the Handsome Furs show and near the end of the opening band's set I dashed off to the bathroom and when I exited I suddenly found myself face-to-face with Dan Boeckner and Alexei Perry, the husband and wife duo that comprise Handsome Furs.

Well, not face-to-face. Face-to-back. They were standing beside the merchandise table with their backs to me. But they were there - right there - in front of me. I halted. If I had so much as lifted my left hand it would have glazed Dan Boeckner's back and if I had so much as lifted my right hand it would have glazed Alexei Perry's back. It's interesting because I have often wondered what might happen if I one day encountered Bruce Springsteen in public and now, finally, we have the answer.

I froze. I completely, utterly, irrevocably, pitifully froze. My heart started beating as fast as the last time I went on a date and I just stood there, helpless, thinking of wanted I to say to them. What did I want to say?

"Hey, Dan, Alexei, I don't know if you like Lady Gaga, you probably don't, and that's cool, but I love her and I've spent the last year-and-a-half dreaming of what would her new record would be. And I like her new record, I do, and I love parts of it, but your new record is everything I wanted the new Gaga record to be. I know that probably doesn't mean much to you but, trust me, it's huge, it's huge like 'What We Had' is huge. Could you guys play that tonight? No. Never mind. I don't want to be that guy. Play whatever you want. Anyway. The new album. The two rocket boosters they use for the space shuttle, they could just get rid of 'em and use two copies of your new album instead.  'When I Get Back'? I don't want to overstate it or anything but that song live is the best song I've heard since Gaga's version of 'Paparazzi' on SNL. I know that probably doesn't mean much to you either but, trust me, it's huge. Huge like 'Serve The People.' Speaking of which, I want to drive around Capital Hill blaring that song on the speakers. In fact, when you play it later tonight I'm gonna scream along with the lyrics like I'm screaming at every Congressman and woman we have. And 'No Feelings'? That song is like the perfect encapsulation of how one of the most powerful feelings a person can have is when they, in fact, have no feelings. Ya know? Of course you do! You wrote the song! And 'Cheap Music'? That song rocks as hard as The Stones. It does! Don't let anyone tell you different! And the synth riff on 'Repatriation'? Sweet Jesus, that synth riff! That snyth riff is more beautiful than Julie Christie in 'Darling.' Honest! And the last two minutes of 'What About Us?' That is perfect. It is absolute, one-hundred percent, motherfucking perfection. And 'Memories of the Future'? I'm probably the most nostalgic person in the city of Chicago and that song - that song - is actually the one thing in the whole wide world that makes me want to stop being so damn nostalgic and just get my idiot ass into the present more often. Sometimes when I'm on the train going to or from work and I'm listening to 'Memories of the Future' I literally - literally! - have to fight off the urge to throw my hands to the sky when you sing 'I throw my hands to the sky.' But I don't want to freak you out or anything, I really don't. It's just that your new album is so great. You guys are so great. You're like a punk rock Rhett & Scarlett. Has anyone ever told you that? It's true. You're awesome. You're, like, my favorite band in the world right now. Can I buy you both a drink?"

But, of course, I didn't say that, or anything at all. I choked - big time. And then, without ever even knowing this lunatic was standing behind them, they walked away and disappeared.

C'est la vie. (Hey, they're from Montreal.)


blahblahblah Toby said...

ha! excellently honest anecdote. i recently had similar things with both emma thompson and jarvis cocker. decided not to say a thing rather than gush as has been the case before.

Nick Prigge said...

Emma Thompson. Wow.

You make a good point. If I had spoken to them I would have examined whatever I'd said for the rest of my life and probably been disappointed and regretted it. You're not supposed to meet your idols, right?

blahblahblah Toby said...

this is what i keep telling myself when colleagues share their stories of inappropriately hugging theirs. but then as you have just done you over analayse what you wish you'd said for the rest of your life!