A Brilliant Gig And A Bruised Angel
The gig last night was an unmitigated success. I cannot remember the last time I felt so... *golden* onstage. One of those gigs where it just... takes off, excitement and nerves explode into euphoria and brilliance.
Why? What was different? The bill was great, the promoters were friendly and fetched us drinks and food, the band were all in a bouncy mood... but it wasn't any of that that made it so fantastic.
It was looking out into the audience, and there, directly in my line of sight, was the Prettiest Boy In The World. All these songs that I've performed so many times that they've become just words and melodies - suddenly they *meant* something again.
I've been going through the motions, phoning it in for so long, fake orgasm after fake orgasm, that I was almost surprised by the *power*, emotionally and artistically, of a gig where I was "feeling it". Better than sex, better than love, better than anything, that wave of euphoria. And when I got offstage, I felt magical, marvellous, invincible.
And then that rush took over, and when D and PBW suggested going on to a late bar, I found myself caught up in it, even knowing I had to work in the morning. I talked, briefly, disjointedly, to PBW, though he seems standoffish with me in a way that he isn't with others. We have the same rootless, multi-continental background, and he told me stories about his Situation. And what a tale he told, of heartbreak and woe and a totally fucked-up experience. How can you hear a story like that and not ache? And yet it explains so much, the bruised look behind his angel eyes.
And me, emotional vampire that I am, all I want to do is write songs about him. Selfish cunt. But that's the muse, innit? I look at him and I hear music, it's as simple as that.
I mean, it's all projection, isn't it? The way he looks, his voice. This is why I don't want to date him, don't even want to sleep with him (really?) - because that kind of emotion cannot take the wear and tear of everyday life. Of course I fantasise, of course I *want* - to spend half our lives in the bedroom and half our lives in the studio/onstage like Emmylou and Gram. But that's unreal, isn't it? So Not Going To Happen. I refuse to want what I cannot have. But that doesn't stop the wanting, does it?
And instead, we go to later bar and meet up with the rest of the band, and he drinks and chats up a random Australian while I watch, helplessly "in love" but unable to do anything about it. He tells me it's absurd, that he's nothing like I think (I almost laugh at what he might thinks I think of him) and I don't know him. Maybe I don't want to know him, that would ruin everything. I tell him I just want him to my muse.
He goes home with the Australian. Rip out the page of her sketchbook that I drew for her. (Once upon a time, 10 years ago, I travelled round the world, getting strangers and pop stars to draw or write in my sketchbook.) It's nothing personal, it's just you've gone home with the boy I was trying to chat up all evening.
I can't blame him. If I were in his Situation, I'd be getting drunk and pulling strangers every night of the week. I certainly wouldn't touch something so weird and complicated as myself and what I offer with someone else's dick - even if it wasn't wrapped in a body like a sausage and a face like a pickled egg.
"It doesn't matter who you are, or what you do - all that matters is what you look like," I tell D. He tries to disagree with me, but misses the point. It's a double edged statement. It's not just a comparison between my plainness and the Australian's prettiness. It's an inditement of myself, too - I mean, I'm not in love with PBW for his scintillating personality or his accomplishments, am I? I'm in love with his eyelashes, with the pointiness of his nose, the way his cheeks dimple when he smiles, the bruised angel sadness behind his impossibly blue eyes. Because he *looks* like my lost muse.
Walking across Trafalgar Square to the night bus, I look up at Nelson on his column and am struck with it all, the pain, the love, the flush of the gig, and my heart feels full to bursting. Maybe it hurts, but it is delicious pain - so sweet after the terrible NUMBNESS of the past few months.