The Angina Monologues – Chapter 1, in which the narrator is asked to ‘Turn it Down’ (repeatedly)

I’m 12 years old and I hear ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ on the radio and I rush over to Zibart’s in Green Hills and I buy the single, and I play that sucker about 200 times in a row trying to figure out what this mad genius is talking about and then I turn the single over and it’s something called ‘Gates of Eden’ and I play that roughly the same number of times and it’s even more obscure, and somewhere in the middle of all that comes my mother’s voice asking me to PLEASE turn that awful music down and why would anyone want to listen to that, and then I turn it down a little bit, but that amazing Al Kooper organ just moves me so much and then I turn it BACK UP to 11 and the mother’s voice gets a little louder and I realize that I’m risking hearing my freakin’ father’s voice, which I do not want to hear in that context, so I turn it down, but in my heart, Dylan is ringing off the walls and peeling the paint on my closed bedroom door. The Beatles are on the hi-fi and they are twisting and shouting and I’m about to just explode because it’s that part of the song where they all go ah-ah-ah-ah in harmony each time going a little higher and I’m going a little higher even though the properties of marijuana are, as yet, unknown to me, and I’m singing my little butt off even though in no way, shape or form could my caterwauling be misconstrued as really singing, and I’m so happy I forgot that I had to go to church like 7 straight nights for a gospel meeting in which I will personally be stared at by 37 old women who are badgering me to be baptized but I’m stubborn like that and besides Bob Dylan saved me, John Lennon saved me, Chuck Berry saved me and I”m just about to start speaking in musical tongues when my mother’s voice high-pitches me upside the head: TURN IT DOWN. What’s a young skinny boy supposed to do? I can’t sing in a rock and roll band, but I’m starting to realize that I had the music in me, even if it is somebody elses music, lyrics and beat, and why do I have to turn IT DOWN? It’s my life, it’s alright ma, I’m only exceeding everything I knew before. I’m 16 and driving the Old’s wagon down the road and I”m picking up a date and I’m listening to Mick tell somebody to get off his cloud and I pick somebody up and they ask me to please turn it down and I want to say, IT”S THE STONES, but I realize that I won’t be going on many dates if I start yelling on one of my very first ‘car’ dates, so I turn it down, but I know already that this girl can’t be THE ONE because she wants me to turn down the Stones, the greatest rock n’ roll band that ever existed in 1968. I’m in love, I’m in college and her name is Gail and she appreciates the music and she grew up with the music playing loud, but she is tired of the loud and I’m trying to get her to understand that Lowell George is a freaking genius and she smiles and says yes, he’s good, but it is too loud and like a good boyfriend, I turn it down. Didn’t anyone understand that they were tearing another little piece of my heart?. My kid is about 5 months old and I’m married and it’s not my college girlfriend and I’m happy as the kid in Almost Famous and I’m arguing with my wife that if the kid is spoiled by having the music turned down low, he’ll never be used to hearing music correctly and he’ll cry at the drop of a turntable needle, and of course I lose that argument. Will I ever get to TURN IT UP? Many years later and the kids are grown (the very same damn kids who asked me to TURN the car radio down when I was driving them places) and we are not in a ‘good place’ and I feel at the end of a rope and I don’t know what to give (helpless, helpless, helpless) and I don’t know what to do, and then I hear this Patty Griffin song with tinge of gospel and a lot of soul and I sure she’ll love it and I can’t wait to play it for her when we go out on a Friday night and I’ve got it ‘cued’ up on the car CD player and I know she’s going to love it and we take off in the car and I crank it up thinking that this is my perfect gift to her, and of course she asks me to turn it down, and my heart just breaks in 15 places and I just want to turn around, go home and turn up some Stones, but you know the rest.

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11 Comments

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11 responses to “The Angina Monologues – Chapter 1, in which the narrator is asked to ‘Turn it Down’ (repeatedly)

  1. This better not just be a tease as part one of a brilliant series that goes no further! (He said utterly hypocritically having not touched his own blogs since last summer…)

  2. two comments: we grew up in the same neighborhood, it seems. and I solved this with headphones – which , although I did get to hear these songs at the right volume, also meant I had to buy hearing aids. Your mom just saved you several thousand dollars. I always hated it when they turned out to be right.

    I’m glad you’re back occasionally, but I’m not holding my breath for that CeeElCee dude. 😉

  3. не информативно как- то

  4. Thanks, CLC and Jim. But, I must say I am oddly moved by the enigmatic comment by Cederash. Words to ponder.

  5. Действительно полезный пост, спасибо.

  6. Кругом война, смерть, глупость, а вы тут… сами знаете, чем занимаетесь.

  7. Pingback: Don’t Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes « A Natural Deficiency Of Moral Fiber

  8. This is one of the most perfect personal blog posts ever written about music ever, John. Thanks for sharing all these stellar moments.

    Good to see you writing again. Maybe I will again soon too. Have a good one, my friend.

  9. Pingback: Perfection « Lynnster’s Music Zone

  10. Jim – I have often been on the same wavelength as Mr. Trudeau…glad he’s on mine on this issue

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