punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

Internal rhythms

It was the winter of 1982 when I was 13 years old and doing something I shouldn't have. I was out with a bunch of theater people, most whom were older than I was, late at night, in Georgetown. My father was away, my mother passed out drunk in bed. My life always had a strange mystical bent to it, and this was the beginning of one of my many journeys. The theater people I performed with hated my parents, and considered them "bourgeoisie," a term I don't think they understood very well. I also didn't care for my parents, but I was a shy "good boy" who didn't like to cause trouble. They had other plans.

Where was I that night? 9:30 club? Black Cat? Or some other club long since dead? I am not sure. But I was somewhere with metal catwalks and a loose ID checking policy. There were bright lights, and some experimental music on stage that was a kind of new wave disco mix. Disco had died a few years back, new wave was king, but it was hard to dance to. So we chose punk music, which was great to get out aggression. I was listening to one band who had thumping beats and a punk melody that I liked a lot, and some part of my brain clicked on. I never heard them again, and I have no idea who they were.

For years I thought they were Generation X or Frankie Goes to Hollywood, but the dates are all wrong. Billy Idol split from Generation X and FGTH didn't come to the US until I was 15. And I remember that night I first heard them. We didn't have MTV at home, and I wasn't allowed to watch TV. But when my father was away, my mother either let me watch what I wanted, or was too drunk to care. So I was watching Friday Night Videos (and that intro WILL cause flashbacks) a lot, because what the hell else was I going to do on a Friday night? I was a geek loner in 1984. It was post-theater, pre-congoer. They had a new video that was banned in the UK. New band with a funny name. Frankie Goes to Hollywood. The song was, "Relax."

To most people, this song is part of a typical 80s mix, and nothing more. But the second I heard the thumping and the shouting lyrics... I knew I had found something I needed. And now I had a name, face, and band. Thus, my quest for the ultimate music to score my life started.

Music to me is different than it seems to be for most people. Most people focus on lyrics or artist, and my mind sets out for the rhythm. I have never been able to describe why, so I blame my heart, which was born with a defect that makes it beat a little off. I have no internal sense of rhythm or timing. So when it's applied externally, I can think better, function better, and just plain feel better.

It was really, really hard to find what I needed at first. Most quests for albums were dictated by money and risk. I had bought a fair share of albums with one good song and the rest sucked horribly. Luckily for me, the Internet became popular.

Nowadays, if I have trouble sleeping, I play trance. Yes, the very music that keeps ravers up and going relaxes me to sleep. Often at cons or other places where I am not at my own bed, I plug in my iPhone and drift off to Armin van Buuren track selection or some J-Pop. Nobody I know does this. To almost everyone I know, trance is dance music or extremely generic and annoying.
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