Friday, October 10, 2008

Memories of the Doors and Selina

I spoke to this teenage girl the other day. Very cute and intelligent she was (in that order in my leery sexist reckoning), but in the course of our conversation it emerged that she didn't know who Jim Morrison or the Doors were.

It may seem obvious that somebody who's 16 won't necessarily have come across a band that split up nearly forty years ago. But I was really surprised by it. I don't listen to them much anymore--and I rarely read Jimbo's poetry--but the Doors were one of the defining cultural experiences of my youth. I couldn't quite compute the idea that a band and a writer who helped me become who I am (for what that's worth) might have passed another person by completely. If they were that insignificant to a really cool person, what did it mean for all my assumptions about the validity and importance of my own cultural journey?

After speaking to the girl I went home and fished out my copies of "Morrison Hotel" and "An American Prayer" and played them through several times, while drinking cold beer through my beard like an ageing Jim.

Suddenly I remembered watching the Oliver Stone movie, massively twisted on booze and marijuana in the darkness of a cinema that's no longer there in Wellingborough. I'd seen the movie once by myself, but this time I was with a girlfriend, Selina, a hippie psychotherapist who believed she was immortal because people only chose to die. And I was so hammered I couldn't follow the movie at all. It was just a phantasmagoria of noise and colour like the light shows they used to project behind the Grateful Dead in the first great days of the psychedelic explosion in San Francisco.

I got stoned quite a lot when I was with Selina. So stoned, actually, that the sex between us was terrible. "Jesus, what does it take with you?" I remember her saying in exasperation under the covers in her house in Irthlingborough one night as she furiously jerked off my flaccid member.

The best sex I ever had with Selina, in fact, was the time I masturbated on her toilet using a polaroid of her topless for inspiration. She wasn't even there that day. I'd only come around to water her plants and put out food for her two cats Morgan and Fay.

Jesus, those were the days, eh? Booze, weed, an immortal girlfriend and the Doors. If it gets much better than that, tell me where.


ThomasJeromeNewton said...

similar cult status band in britain? joy division?
The spiders from mars? Trex?

All This Trouble... said...

Oh, Bruce...

I really cherish the mental pictures you drum up for me, time after time.

I really, really do. And I only discovered the Doors in my teens...I think there is still hope for cute intelligent teenie girls yet.

And what's up with these past girlfriends of yours with exotic names, ideas and homelands?

Holly said...

As they say a friend in need is a friend indeed, a friend with weed is better.

Not all us pretty young things had a father like mine to introduce us to the wonderful world of music.

In fact I got into a lovely arguement yesterday about the merits of progressive rock. She was complaining about it and asking what was the point? I asked if she admired Pink Floyd and Deep Purple, yes, of course she did. I reminded her if it wasn't for artists that went outside the realm of normalcy, music wouldn't be like how it was now. And I'm not referring to gangsta rap. I blame the 1994 LA riots for that and new world order.

Bruce Hodder said...

Well, I think everybody should at least have a glancing knowledge of the Doors, don't you? They weren't the greatest band around even then, but at their best they were pretty damn great.
I liked 'em so much I went to Paris to visit Morrison's grave in Pere Lachaise. Somehow, though, in my general befuddlement, I'd forgotten the day I went was Big Jim's birthday and the graveyard was full of tv cameras, cops with guns on their hips and American and French hippies crowding around the grave. I couldn't even get close.
So I went to see Appollinaire's grave instead, which is what Jim probably would have done when he was there. Then I went to the grave of Pascale Ogier, the French actress who died aged 25 in the mid 80s, and had a little chat with her ghost. If I'd have been a real Jim fan I would have arranged to fall out of a window some time that weekend, but I had a sneaking suspicion I wouldn't bounce the way he did, so I left that idea alone.
I do have a history of meeting strange people. Selina had a friend, a pharmacist of all things, who shared her fabulous (and rather callous) idea that a person could choose to live forever. (I say callous because it implies that those who suffer and die--like those who starved to death in Ethiopa, or burned to death in the World Trade Centre--chose to do so.)(Selina told me that a woman I knew who'd been raped twice had chosen for that to happen because unconsciously she knew it would aid her spiritual development.)
Anyway, this guy who helped her formulate her ideas about immortality--he's dead now. (Sniggering is permitted.) Climbed into a bath and cut his own wrists. Which I guess doesn't invalidate their whacked-out immortality theory. What happened to Selina, I have no idea. We split up many years ago when S. realised she was actually a lesbian after all and went back to Kate, the woman she'd left me for.

All this is true, by the way.

Bruce Hodder said...

Don Letts says in UNCUT magazine this month that rap as it is now is designed to keep people stupid and take their money. I tend to agree with him, don't you? Though I LOVED Public Enemy. It may seem a weird admission from a folknik like me, but "Muse Sick In Our Mess Age" is one of my favourite albums ever, by anybody. Chuck D was an advocate of Amiri Baraka's exhortation to "make some musicle in your head". Shame so few of the rap artists have followed his example.

I'm glad you defended progressive rock. It does have an unfairly bad press--I think because of the punk aesthetic, which swept everything other than a really primitive chord structure out of music. And that was needed at the time, because rock music was really in danger of disappearing up its own arsehole. But if music is going to be anything other than a commercial enterprise designed to make money for band managers and music executives, there's got to be an experimental element to it.
And anti-intellectualism only helps the cause of the politicians and businessmen who want to keep ordinary people in their place, in my opinion...