As large swathes of our global population seem set on following populist trail guides along paths toward nationalist stupor, I find myself vacillating between fits of arrogant condescension, bouts of resigned despair, and sessions of gleeful mockery. None of it satisfies. In the end, I neither participate in nor hinder the gloomy march. That passivity breeds discomfort in my soul because I know that inaction enables. An object in motion stays in motion unless acted upon by an external force.
I ought to do something. We ought to do something. And the first thing is to go talk to people outside of our own bubbles who experience the world differently in order to seek some deeper understanding into what the hell is happening. But, this is not a political blog and I’m not sure I’m much of a political thinker. So my only action in these pages will be to reprint the below post from March 2013. I’ll leave it to any readers who might accidentally wander by to figure out why I thought of it now.
Saying Goodbye to Comandante Chavez
While working in Caracas from 2006-2009, I would regularly tune in whenever Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez would address the nation, which he did constantly and usually for hours on end. I seldom paid close attention for more than 30 minutes or so as the actual content of his comments often either bored me to death with minutia or simply pissed me off. But even after drifting into other activities, I would leave the television on and let the voice of President Chavez serve as my background music; and I do mean music. I loved his voice and grew to find his cadence and tone soothing. His voice relaxed me.
One Saturday in early June of 2007, I was semi-listening to Chavez address a huge crowd of followers that had been called into the streets in demonstration of support for something that I no longer recall. My half-hearted awareness became rapt attention when I realized he was extensively quoting Antonio Gramsci, the early 20th century Italian writer, philosopher, and Marxist thinker. Chavez spent a full 40 minutes explaining Gramsci’s theory of revolutionary change in great detail to his flag-waving devotees. I kept wondering who other than breathless undergraduates even read Gramsci anymore, let alone attempted to impart to tens of thousands of gyrating sycophants the particulars of Gramsci’s missives on the growth of popular power via the establishment of a working class cultural hegemony.
As Chavez went on and on, the mass of red-shirted supporters in front of him jumped from cheer to cheer, seemingly oblivious to the lesson in political development theory they were receiving. They waved banners with pictures of Chavez, Simon Bolivar, Salvador Allende, and others and held their breath for each time the Comandante referred to himself in the third person so they could burst into a mass orgasm of applause and roars. I was engrossed.
Back in my college days when I was buying my own personal copies of Das Kapital and Mao’s Little Red Book and arriving early to hear visiting Sandinista ministers rail against imperialism, I had played at study of Gramsci. I learned enough to be impressed with my own efforts and even cited Gramsci in a paper I wrote which attempted to objectively and unemotionally describe the ideology of Peru’s Shining Path guerrillas separate from their bloodthirsty actions:
“Antonio Gramsci has also written about the need for a proletarian attitude. He stresses the importance of a revolutionary proletariat developing its own ‘superstructure’ prior to taking power. He argues that understanding of proletarian ideology does not appear from ‘haphazard and sporadic germination’ but through experience. Shining Path agrees with these arguments and sees the long period of democratic revolution as a time when the peasants and petty bourgeoisie will come to recognize Maoism as the ‘correct’ ideology.”
And now here was Chavez matter-of-factly offering up Gramsci’s complicated ideas to his generally lower economic strata and relatively less educated followers, literally Venezuela’s proletariat and peasant classes. Most remarkable was his seeming sincere belief that his masses deserved to be treated as being fully capable of comprehending the ideas he was illuminating.
Now that he’s gone, I’ll remember Hugo Chavez’s willingness to lie and cheat and divert blame to accomplish his goals. I’ll remember his anti-democratic actions and his systematic centralization of political power in his hands alone. I’ll remember his readiness to cynically manipulate people and information whenever it suited his political and ideological ends.
I’ll also remember him as a tireless advocate for the right of the poor, ignored, and uneducated to be heard and to exercise influence over those who govern them. Even more, I’ll remember his success in convincing those same marginalized folk to enthusiastically buy into his vision and to learn to act on it. As Venezuelans rightly begin to cast off the excesses and drastic inefficiencies of Chavismo in the course of these coming post-Chavez years, I hope they nonetheless retain the newly politicized underclass that Chavez engendered, an underclass capable of effectively asserting its weight and demanding the attention of political leaders.
I’m sorry to see you go this way, Comandante. You should have lost power through an eventual electoral defeat resulting from your own increasing missteps and political overreach, not due to this merciless disease. Your mistakes and conceit should have done you in, leaving you to bluster away into revolutionary oblivion while those who followed you in power selectively picked up and ran with your few, but substantial, achievements in political empowerment. Mostly, I’ll miss the calming effect of your voice in the background.
At the height of the Reagan era, the 1984 movie Repo Man offered a character, Otto (played by a young Emilio Estevez), that embodied all the anger-fueled angst of the period’s idiot youth, a term I use not in insult but rather in honor of the confused, narcissistic life phase I think most all of us pass through. During that phase – which it appears from recent events not all of us outgrow unfortunately – everybody outside our narrow clique is viewed as de facto stupid and either owing us something or needing to get the fuck out of our way. It is dire stuff… and it is easily one of the funniest films made in my lifetime. It was one of the first DVDs I ever bought and I still consider it a must-own.
The movie makes little attempt to follow a cogent plot – something about dangerous decaying alien bodies smuggled off of a secret government base in the trunk of a Chevy Malibu – and instead simply proceeds to put Otto and his fellow oddballs into a series of one-off scenes in which they spout magnificently-crafted odes to cynicism, pessimism, and human foible. An internet search will show that almost every line of dialogue in the film has been deemed quotable out of context. Harry Dean Stanton especially, as Otto’s mentor and keeper of the Repo Man code, utters golden nugget after golden nugget. It is one of my never-to-be-acted-upon fantasies to be insolent, boorish, and brave enough to speak like Harry Dean does in this movie.
But this isn’t a movie review, it’s a soundtrack review, and the Repo Man soundtrack is as wonderfully foul, crude, and filled with unfocused energy as is the movie. It was my introduction to the West Coast punk scene of the early 1980s, a scene dedicated to finding, isolating and surgically removing the hidden “cerebralism” from the late-70s punk of the Sex Pistols, the Dead Boys, and the Slits in order to focus more intently on the nihilism and the bile. As you can imagine, it’s gloriously jaunty stuff. Let’s dive in:
Iggy Pop: “Repo Man” – By no means a great Iggy Pop song, I’d nonetheless deem it a good one. The movie uses it twice, once without lyrics during the opening credits and again at the end, this time with Iggy’s inimitable voice. Only the version with vocals is included on the soundtrack album, but I think the instrumental is actually more important to the film itself. Its wholesale usurpation of the “Peter Gunn” riff sets the tone for the movie, evoking urban decay surrounded by vast empty desert. I most like this song for one lyric however, a line I always remember but seldom can place until I hear it and am again reminded where it comes from: “I’m looking for the joke with a microscope.” In context, the song implies the search is doomed to fail. The sentiment fit the Reagan era well, and it fits again now, 30-plus years later.
Circle Jerks: “Coup d’Etat” – In the movie, this song soundtracks a street mosh made up of angry suburban kids. Its relentless energy, driving rhythm and shouted vocals are perfect for the scene. The naiveté of the lyrics, seemingly jumping back and forth between describing a right-wing military takeover and a leftist anarchic people power uprising, is priceless. The anti-idealism of the song’s non-politics deftly encapsulates the nihilism of the early 80’s punk movement… and the breakneck riff is freaking awesome! “Attack their embassy” indeed …
Circle Jerks – Coup d’Etat (1983):
Suicidal Tendencies: “Institutionalized” – This is probably the most widely known song on the soundtrack and its evocation of young white alienation certainly captures the film’s mood. That said, the song barely registers during the actual movie. As such, I’m going to set aside review of the song itself to share a related personal story: Back in the mid-1980s, even we Utah-bred youngsters who recognized our ignorance of the broader world always took solace in the idea that we were way less sheltered than our neighbors to the north, the backwards Idahoans. Even so, I duly embraced for years a story told me in 1984 in Peru by a fellow missionary who hailed from Boise. Elder Rick wowed me with the tale of a band called Joy Division whose vocalist had killed himself, leaving his remaining bandmates to reform under the “Suicidal Tendencies” moniker. The story was perfect, with a twist of the sardonic that really appealed. It would be near 20 years before the intrusion of the internet would steal that fantastic musical anecdote from me.
Black Flag: “TV Party” – First, this song rocks. The listener has no choice but to get pumped. In the movie, protagonist Otto has just lost his job and girlfriend and is sitting on the curb feeling put upon, but once he begins to sing this song to himself he has no choice but to get up, punch the air, and invite the universe to “suck my ass.” Beautiful. I like to think Henry Rollins and Black Flag penned this masterpiece as simultaneously a biting criticism and a euphoric celebration of the clueless aimlessness of their angry white suburban fan base. I’d argue that, even three decades later, this on-its-face jokey tune still perfectly captures the uninformed anxiety of those majority middle-America youth who inhabit the hundreds of in-between non-rural, non-urban midsize towns speckling the U.S. map. Judge for yourself:
Black Flag – TV Party (1981)
We’re gonna have a TV party, all right, tonight!
We’ve got nothing better to do, than watch TV and have a couple of brews.
We sit glued to the TV set all night, and every night / Why go into the outside world at all, it’s such a fright
TV news shows what it’s like out there, it’s a scare / You can go out if you want, we wouldn’t dare
I wouldn’t be without my TV for a day, or even a minute / I don’t even bother to use my brain any more, there’s nothing left in it
Circle Jerks: “When the Shit Hits the Fan” – The “lounge” version of this song on the soundtrack pales in comparison to the original angry version on the Jerks’ 1983 album Golden Shower of Hits, but it allows for the best inside joke of the whole film as Otto reacts to the band’s live rendition during one scene with the mumbled, “I can’t believe I used to like these guys.” As an economics major and son of an economics professor, this song really spoke to me with its invocation of unemployment lines, a sluggish economy, and waning social security. There’s a huge nostalgia pull for me too as I clearly remember my grandmother standing in line to bring home those government giveaway “five pound blocks of cheese” about which the CJs croon.
A few final notes:
— The version of “Pablo Picasso” here by something called Burning Sensations is colossally lame in comparison to the original by The Modern Lovers. That said, it was here that I first heard the song and I cannot deny my then youthful pleasure at its bold leveraging of the word “asshole.”
— The songs by LA-based Latino punk band The Plugz are excellent, and it was a thrill to me personally, being just back from Peru and exercising my newly-acquired bilingual skills, to hear good-time rock and roll sung in Spanish.
— Beyond that novelty however, the Plugz’ original instrumental background music written and recorded for Repo Man, and which is only sampled as the song “Reel Ten” on the soundtrack album, is brilliant. Unmistakably influenced by Ennio Morricone, the Plugz evoke a vast parched desert with just enough shiny suburban pop sheen on top to relocate the arid featurelessness to the western Anytown in which the movie is set. I would go in big-time for an entire album offering up that atmosphere. I wonder where the Plugz are now …
I didn’t know who this guy was and I certainly had no interest in being forced to extend feigned cordiality to his interloping ass. My recently divorced mother had been set up with him by friends and had apparently found much to like. He was someone with whom she thought there could be a deeper connection and so for this, his first visit to our house to pick Mom up for dinner and a movie, she hoped for a mutually positive first impression with us kids. Before he came, Mom took 14-year-old me aside – possibly doing the same with my 12-year-old sister – and admitted to liking the gentleman, expressing her wish that I would like him too. Regardless, she asked me to be polite when he arrived.
With a surly attitude attributable to normal adolescent contrarianism but exacerbated by the then personally unrecognized yet nonetheless real hurt and jealousy roiling within a confused child of a breaking home, it was all I could do to stand there and shake the 30-something intruder’s hand and mumble a “Nice to meet you too.” Having complied with the letter, if most certainly not the spirit of my mother’s request, I quickly exited the uncomfortable scene for the reassuring refuge of my room and my music. I placed side two of Steve Miller Band’s Fly Like an Eagle LP on the turntable and sought to escape from whatever incomprehensible bullshit was occurring upstairs.
Two songs in and after six or seven minutes of much friendlier exchange with my 8-year-old youngest sister and her visiting playmate, Mom came downstairs to open my door and say they were headed out. I don’t recall my exact response but am sure that today’s teenage equivalent would be along the lines of, “Fine, whatever.” As she headed back upstairs leaving my bedroom door open, Steve Miller’s version of “You Send Me” drifted out of the speakers. Just before they left, I overheard the stranger say something to my mom like “Do you think he has any idea where that song comes from?” As the front door closed, I heard Mom reply in a tone of sincere pride, “Oh, he knows. He knows everything there is to know about music.”
Nearly 40 years later I still remember the feeling Mom’s words spurred in me as if it were happening right now. My mommy understood me, was proud of me, and was not leaving me. I don’t know how I would have described it then but the sense of relief flowed over me like a warm wave. I may have even shed a few tears. Somehow in those few words offered to someone else, Mom had managed to reassure me that she would remain my protector and advocate even as our lives changed drastically and against my will. There would still be plenty of rocky road ahead to traverse, but from that fleeting moment forward, I never doubted that Mom would be there to support me through it.
Now, the dark, hidden truth about the above is that I actually had no freaking idea where “You Send Me” came from. To the extent I thought about it at all, I figured it for a Steve Miller original. Oops.
There was no question that I needed to make Mom’s words true post-haste. Even in those pre-cellular, pre-internet days, it didn’t take long to uncover that Sam Cooke had composed and first recorded the song back in the late 50s. So, when just a few weeks later I spotted a used copy of the Cooke’s Tour album at a local thrift store, I enthusiastically handed over my 25 cents. The record didn’t include “You Send Me” but I felt confident that my owning it would forever preclude any doubt about my musical knowledge should I be tested on my mother’s matter-of-fact assertion.
In the end, no such challenge ever came. The interloper became my step-father before the year was out, staggeringly within one day of another invader, this one allowed in by my father, being declared my new step-mother. In hindsight, I can happily affirm that, for all the bumps, things turned out well. In fact, where most poor buggers have to make do with at best two parents to assist, love, and guide them into adulthood, I was blessed with four. And throughout all of it, music continued, and continues, to magically provide escape, embrace, and enlightenment just when I most need it.
A quick note on Fly Like an Eagle: The cover of this excellent album from 1976 has to be among the most misleading ever when it comes to giving a sense of what’s inside. The gale-force electric guitar histrionics promised by the cover photo of Mr. Miller are nowhere to be found on the LP. Instead, Steve’s brilliance is demonstrated mainly in acoustic – and acoustic-style electric – playing on a set of grooving rockers, spacey interludes and emotive ballads, all of which evoke a warm, breezy California feeling for me. To be honest, the somewhat vanilla version of Sam Cooke’s “You Send Me” is probably the album’s least-impressive moment, although the acoustic guitar accompaniment still rates it a winner in my book. As the big hits “Fly Like an Eagle,” “Take the Money and Run,” and “Rock’n Me” are well known and widely loved, I’d draw new listeners’ attention to “Serenade,” an acoustic-driven, mid-tempo melodic rocker with unique harmonized vocals that conjures a campfire-lit beach under a vast, star-filled sky.
Steve Miller Band – Serenade:
A quick note on Cooke’s Tour: Sam’s first record for RCA Victor after a string of solo hits on Keen Records, this 1960 album has much more of a 1940s Frank Sinatra or Nat King Cole traditional pop/orchestral feel than the soul/R&B of his late 50s hits. Marketed as an “adventurous travelogue,” the LP offers the singer’s take on a series of “international” songs such as “Under Paris Skies,” “Bali Ha’i,” “South of the Border (Down Mexico Way),” and “Galway Bay.” Despite the shift in style, there’s no mistaking Sam’s stunningly beautiful voice as he makes these far-flung songs very much his own. I’m especially fond of “Jamaica Farewell” with its softened (diluted?) Caribbean rhythm and Sam’s lilting vocal, which together wonderfully evince longing for a lost love. Best of all however is the album’s American offering, “The House I Live In,” which carries a message we statesiders would do well to remember in this divisive electoral year:
The house I live in
A plot of earth, a street
The grocer and the butcher
And the people that I meet
The children in the playground
The faces that I see
All races, all religions
That’s America to me
The place I work in
The worker at my side
The little town or city
Where my people lived and died
The howdy and the handshake
The air of feeling free
The right to speak my mind out
That’s America to me
Sam Cooke – The House I Live In:
I sat in my driveway in awe after arriving home as the album played the rest of the way through. What I was hearing was a revelation; I had no choice but to defer everything else and keep listening. I’d known the band Curved Air for a few years and, in the right mood, considered myself a fan of their early 70s output of folk-tinged progressive rock. But what was coming out of the speakers was something different. The songs were familiar, but were altogether sharper, more alive, and seemed to just plain rock harder. They were filled with zeal, anger, and raw energy, words that I would never have used to describe the Curved Air I had previously known. I was experiencing 1975’s Curved Air Live for the first time and the experience was good.
Recorded during a late 1974 tour that the original band members had been compelled to undertake following two years of separation in order to pay off a tax bill, Curved Air Live was not the sound of a joyful group reunion but rather of five supremely talented artists working out their individual issues together on stage. The reunion would last only for the tour and album release, but what a statement they would leave behind in this record.
That this is not your hippy uncle’s Curved Air of old is made clear from first track “It Happened Today” as it opens with tight, amplified keyboards replacing the piano flourish of the studio version and biting electric guitar and grooving bass brought far forward in the mix. When Sonja Kristina’s vocal kicks in at the half-minute mark, it carries none of the twee quaintness of the original. Instead we hear the slightly-gargled rasp of a woman on the verge, all antagonism and fury, and wonderfully so. Wikipedia cites Kristina as explaining that, at the time of this recording, she was in a distraught emotional state following the breakup of her first marriage, and this had provoked wild, raw singing. While sorry at the cause, I enthusiastically celebrate the result.
Second track “Marie Antoinette” probably represents the greatest, and most stirring, change in tone and feel from its studio version. The original is a fantastic progressive folk rock song that tells the tale of the French revolution over the top of some excellent bluesy electric guitar wailing by Francis Monkman. It looks back on a momentous historical event and imagines it from afar. The live take here casts off the sense of the past and instead transports the listener directly into the scene. The words are the same, but rawness and wrath now replace stoic storytelling. One feels the “anger, born of hunger” viscerally, no longer just listening in but shouting along:
“We are the people of France, we demand that the
Elegant blue-blooded leeches that bleed us
Are taught what it means to grow fat and not feed us
We are the people of France, you must heed us!”
The mainly instrumental “Propositions” is another one that becomes something new here. From Kristina’s gravel-voiced introductory shriek to the extended, echo-laden guitar and synth solos that double its run-time as compared to the original, this version leaves its earthbound, rollercoaster feel behind to launch itself into orbit on a Hawkwind-like rocket ride.
Curved Air’s best-known song, “Vivaldi,” is likewise transformed. The opening bombast is turned up tenfold, and leads into a hootenanny-worthy fiddle workout by Darryl Way in lieu of the classical violin of the studio version. This is followed by an extended, spacey electronic excursion in multiple parts, occasionally punctuated by hoarse yelping from Kristina and Way’s staccato violin bursts. Awesome!
The overall musicianship demonstrated on Curved Air Live is exceptional. In setting aside the focus on harmony and gloriously pompous crescendos, diminuendos and other prog/folk affectations that characterize their early studio albums, the band members are free to truly fly as instrumentalists here. Monkman lets escape the inner guitar hero that we always knew was lurking in the wings, with violinist/keyboardist Way and drummer/percussionist Florian Pilkington-Miksa also allowed ample space to shine. It is vocalist Sonja Kristina however who best takes advantage of the on-stage freedom to demonstrate her range, the precious chanteuse of the studio replaced by a take-no-prisoners woman with attitude.
The “folk” side of Curved Air is not to be found in this outlier offering. This is progressive hard rock. I’d recommend this even as a one-off exploration for rockers put off by the artifice and pretense of early 70s “art rock.” As for those who only know Curved Air from their studio output, prepare to spend some time dumbstruck in your driveway.
Marie Antoinette (live):
A few weeks back, a piece by a music blogger I follow about the album Synchronicity by The Police started me down an unexpected path of nostalgia, sadness, and finally, hope. I haven’t owned the album since the late 1990s when I foolishly gave away all my cassettes in a crazed fit of downsizing, but its unique, fleeting place in a wonderfully clumsy moment of my life came crashing back in waves as I read the post.
When Synchronicity came out in the summer of 1983, I was in the final months of apprehensive preparation to leave everything I knew behind to journey to a foreign land and save souls as a full-time Mormon missionary. At the same time, I was enjoying a new and exciting teen romance with Kris, a non-Mormon girl I had met while “dragging the boulevard” that hot Utah summer. Kris had actually first dated my best friend Scott and only traded down to me when that relationship failed to launch; all was good however given that I likewise had been dating her friend Lisa while she was with Scott. Time spent with Kris was glorious. For reasons lost to time, we declared Synchronicity “ours” and listened to it constantly when we were together.
Then came September and my withdrawal into God’s work. Kris sent me off with a beautifully hand-written card with the words from “Every Breath You Take.” In contradiction to that song’s lyric however, distance and absence subsequently asserted themselves to prove it was us we could replace after all; every bond you break, every smile you fake. I only ever saw Kris once after my return from missionary service in 1985 and knew little of her later life.
So, after reading the mentioned blog post on Synchronicity, I decided to, you know, what the hell, google Kris. The very first hit was, sadly, an obituary: Kris passed away “unexpectedly” in early 2015 at age 49. Damn…
I wrote to my friend Scott, with whom I’d allowed communication to lag over recent years, to share the sad news. It turned out that he had already known. Moreover, unlike Facebook-disabled me, he actually knew something of her life in the post-Synchronicity decades. Scott told me:
…she posted a lot and then nothing for long time. I looked up her account wondering if she dropped me because of my right wing posts (she was a huge lib, you would have gotten along well….smile) and read all the postings and was shocked. Nobody mentioned what happened, I have no idea, she was so happy and doing things with her friends and positive and going on lots of trips.
A happy “huge lib” doing things with her friends, positive and going on lots of trips – Good for you, Kris! I sincerely hope it’s even more of the same for you now, wherever your journey has taken you.
What follows is the story of the brief intersection of Kris’s and my own paths as told in excerpts from the journal I kept as a missionary way back then. As a set of discrete, one-sided snapshots, it is fair to neither of us, being inevitably weighed down by the over-wrought drama of teenage insecurity. It is real though, and I offer it as a meager eulogy to someone who played a beautiful, if brief, part in my life:
14 Sep 1983: I got a letter from Kris today. It was really neat. She is a neat girl and I miss seeing her … I got a little homesick when I read her letter but I got over it — or I will get over it, hopefully. I can’t wait to write her back.
25 Sep 1983: I have decided to give Kris a Book of Mormon when I see (her) at the airport…I have really grown to love her and I just want to help her find some of the happiness that I have found.
5 Oct 1983: I got a letter from Kris today. In it she said that she might love me but she really isn’t sure yet. That made me feel pretty good. I don’t think of her for very long periods of time because that would only make me homesick, but when I do think of her I realize that I am pretty lucky to know her. She is an awesome “chica.”
13 Oct 1983: (Kris wrote) that she had found this old poem… and it reminded her of me. She said that next time I was worrying about whether or not I should do what I feel, I should read the poem… (The poem says) that if you don’t take the risk, you’ll never realize the joy.
20 Oct 1983: Yesterday I received a pretty “important” letter from Kris. She is starting to get nervous about being away from me for so long. She is afraid that I could become “holier-than-thou.” I wrote her a letter and tried to explain the change that I am going through… I really love her and would hate to lose her but I will roll with the punches.
21 Oct 1983: I received the best letter I have ever received from Kris today. She said that she read (an article about Mormon missionaries) … and that it had really helped her to understand why I felt I needed to go on a mission and that she was happy for the changes I have been going through… Later today, we went to a pizzeria over by BYU. They had tunes playing there and of course one of the songs they played was “King of Pain” — Kris and me’s song — by The Police. It was tough but I came through ok.
26 Oct 1983: After scripture study I booked over to another building and called Kris. It was great to talk to her! We really didn’t talk about much but just to hear her voice made me feel great. She was excited to hear from me too. We talked about the fact that we are both kind of nervous about the airport but both of us are excited about it! I told her that there would be a lot of my relatives there and that I just wanted her to be right next to me all the time. She said she would. After we were done talking we both told each other for the first time out loud that we loved each other!!
8 Nov 1983: I am on a plane somewhere between Miami and Lima, Peru. At the airport (in Utah), my family and Kris met me… I gave Kris the Book of Mormon; I don’t know what I have been worried about. It went great… I love her more than I can believe. She wrote me a long letter and gave me a present but … I haven’t been able to read (it) yet.
19 Nov 1983: The girls here in Peru are really friendly… While we were (downtown) we stopped in a record store. I bought a “Police” tape because it was only like $3.00. Neither (my missionary companion) nor I have a tape recorder so there is no listening to it.
24 Nov 1983: Today was Thanksgiving… after (turkey dinner) we went shopping. I bought two tapes: The Police: Synchronicity and The B-52s: Whammy. We haven’t got any way to listen to them though.
26 Nov 1983: I still haven’t heard anything from Kris. Oh well, I’m tough. I can handle it.
12 Dec 1983: Well, I bought myself a tape player today.
18 Dec 1983: I received some pretty good letters… finally got one from Kris. It was a neat letter. I am so flippin’ confused about her that I don’t know what to do. I just don’t know how I feel anymore. How can feelings change so fast?
7 Jan 1984: Today was a pretty good day… The only problem is that I’ve got to stop flirting with the girls. I am just torturing myself! I got a letter from Kris today. It was a good letter… I am beyond confused about Kris and my feelings towards her… I kind of feel guilty because my feelings have changed so quickly. From letters it sounds like Kris and my family are getting to be quite the good buds. What am I going to do?!
2 Apr 1984: Spent the morning writing letters. I also made a cassette for Kris, remember her?
7-8 Apr 1984: I only got four letters… one from Dad and one from Kris…
20 Jun 1984: …By the way, last Saturday I got a cassette from Kris but it was so boring that I forgot to write about it.
22 Jul 1984: I’m gonna “Dear Jane” Kris tonight.
17 Sep 1984: I got a letter from Kris today after two months without anything and man, is she pissed! When I wrote Kris off I felt good because I thought she had really handed me a lot of crap, now somehow she has made me feel like a complete jerk. I have already written an apologetic letter. I should just leave it, but no!! I have to make sure everyone is happy…
A sleep trance, a dream dance,
A shared romance,
(from the song “Synchronicity I” by The Police)