Beethoven and Bauhaus

Thursday night was the symphony, which was just wonderful. It opened with Mozart’s overture from Don Giovanni. Not my favorite piece in his repertoire, but lovely and well executed. Next was Benjamin Britten’s Cello Symphony. Bleah. Not a fan. I have a few pieces by him, he’s always been extremely hit and miss for me, and almost always a miss. It’s just noodling to me, and I hate noodling. Virtuosity for its own sake bores me. The last piece was Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, which was absolutely transcendent. Best of all, I got to watch my Paramour listen to it, in all his composerly glory. Sigh. Speaking of dashing men, WMFH looked quite handsome and stylish in his vest and pocket watch. It’s always nice to see a man who can rock anachronistic fashion without looking cartoonish. It suits him well. Speaking of anachronisms, I was working a long, black Regency style dress, with my 6ft strand of pearls and a teal blue butterfly wrap. I think I looked pretty fly, however the only photo of me that turned out was taken at the last minute in the ladies room and I looked about as drunk as I was (I had one too many Cosmos with dinner. Oops). I had this fabulous Audrey Hepburn moment as my Paramour escorted me down the long staircase of the concert hall on his arm, both of us giggling and racing to get home and fall into each others arms. Of course, as we were leaving WMFH was asking if I was headed back from the big city to our bucolic neck of the woods (100 miles away), and I had to tell him I was staying at the Paramour’s house. That’s an awkward conversation, seeing as he knows I am married. I don’t want to be TMI, but at the same time I don’t want him thinking I am just randomly stepping out on my husband. I’d rather he thought I was a slut than bad wife. I am trying to figure out how I could casually explain the situation to him without it getting weird. Not that ultimately I owe him an explanation.
Me at the Symphony
Because nothing says “classy” like a drunken self-portrait taken in the Benaroya Hall ladies room during intermission. And, yes, I am standing up, not using the facilities.

Paramour at the symphony
I was teasing him about being my cicisbeo.

I spent the next day drunk from noon on, because he’s a bad influence and we are like a middle-aged Sid and Nancy. Cruising around Seattle with my Paramour, listening to 80s dance and goth music at top volume, and shopping for used books and records was the most fun I have had in years. It was one of those “born-again teenager” moments that is a bittersweet mixture of nostalgic and pathetic you only have when you are in your 40s. It was a sunny Friday afternoon, we had Siouxie and Ultravox on the radio, we had nowhere to go but where the wind carried us, we were in a state of obsessive infatuation, and we had the big city at our disposal for the rest of the day. We ended up later that night, drunk on the pier, waiting for the ferry, doing impersonations of Paul Lynde, singing New Order songs at the top of our lungs and waxing poetic about how young, goth, and beautiful we once were whilst intermittently manhandling each other in a fit of uncontrolled passion. Publicly not my best moment, but we were having a blast, and sometimes you just gotta say “fuck it”. Also, I learned that drinking and shopping don’t mix. I bought a book of post-war German poetry, a German-English dictionary, and for reasons I can’t quite fathom a Lawrence Welk album and an autographed album by Cleo Laine, who, to the best of my knowledge, only existed on The Muppet Show.

All in all, it was a heady, frolicsome, romantic, passionate, decadent, wonderful couple of days. France is not ready for us. School is out for the next week and a half, I need some rest for a few days, then it’s back to blogging etc.

Mozart’s Overture from Don Giovanni

Benjamin Britten’s Cello Symphony

Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony

Cleo Laine – He Was Beautiful (seemed appropriate…)

New Order – Age of Consent (the song we were singing at the pier)

Paul Lynde – The Best of Bewitched

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Frankie Says….

My great Pagan spiritual awakening happened at a Frankie Goes to Hollywood concert at the age of 14.

Yes, I really just said that.

It was 1985, and Frankie was ALL THE RAGE, the Justin Bieber of the 80s, only even more gay and with better hair. I was a Teenage Fag Hag, so Frankie was huge part of my world. I was in Catholic school, and for reasons I can’t recall, I ended up with plans to go to the concert with a group of girls I was not particularly friends with (many of the kids came from well-to-do families up in the hills of the town where I grew up. I lived down by the docks and was almost feral. Draw your own conclusions). We made plans to spend the day before at a local waterpark, spend the night at one girl’s house watching horror movies, then get up early the next day and get in line for festival seating so we would be close to the stage. The concert was in early June, and as happens to so many Northwesterners delirious with sun intoxication at the first fading of Winter’s gloom, we all ended up severely sunburned at the waterpark. We sat out in the heat the entire day, no food or water, sleep deprived and burnt. By the time the doors opened at 8pm our physical exhaustion had robbed us of our senses.

We stood just feet from the stage, packed tightly with thousands of tense, hormonal teenage girls, waiting for the show to begin. As the stage fog started to roll out and the band of androgynes launched into the first of many homo-sado-erotic tinged songs, the crowd of girls began to shriek with a unified banshee wail of the naive, pubescent sexual frustration of the human female. The audience began to rock and surge, unstoppable and terrifying. Our bodies collided and and jostled, rubbing my sunburned skin raw. One misstep could send you to the floor to be trampled to pulp. The entire event became a strange ecstatic dance of primal sexual energy and survival. At one point, one of the band members tossed a towel into the audience. I was one of the girls who caught it, and a ferocious tug-of-war began. Every girl within arms reach seized hold of the towel, and we began to tear at it like dogs. The towel disintegrated into shreds in seconds. I remember letting loose with a guttural howl as I yanked and clawed trying to retain my corner of the towel, only to lose my grip when I almost dislocated a finger. I became very aware of presence in the concert hall, something huge and driving, something that our energies had created and in turn had created us. I was overflowing with wants and drives, things I couldn’t define, things I couldn’t understand, things that terrified and enthralled me. I wanted to sexually devour something, incorporate it into the core of my being. It was as if I was filled with an undeniable urge to have someone or something inside me, and I didn’t care which route it took to get there, and the absolute frustration of not being able to ever fully satisfy that urge with any physical means was literally driving me mad.

I don’t remember much else about that night, but it haunted me for years. I was in my late teens when I first learned of Dionysus and the maenadic rites. The full emotional memory of this event came flooding back to me like water breaking over a dam. Like many peak experiences, the full spectrum of the occurrence is impossible to depict in any meaningful way. When I try to describe this moment to people, it comes out sounding absurd. Much like when I try to describe my near-death experience (which we will get to later). To tell people I saw a golden light and a choir of heavenly voices sounds so trite and simplistic, but the moment itself was beyond words, beyond description, and beyond anything I could possibly communicate using any human apparatus. The fact that Frankie Goes to Hollywood lead me to my spiritual path is the best explanation I have to offer you. Suffice it to say, I still can’t hear the song “Relax” without getting a creepy Kubrick-esque smile on my face.

Amusing side note: At Yule, I proceeded to get quite drunk, something I actually do rarely and haven’t done in a very long time (my husband had never seen me drunk before, that’s how long it has been). My co-priest informed me that he likes Maenad Sigrun, “she’s like opera: you, only bigger and more dangerous” (I’m paraphrasing, since all I can remember from that moment is leaning against the kitchen counter and luridly leering at my ex in a rather predatory fashion).

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