|She's too "Precious," indeed.|
There are few things I enjoy more than talking about the writers, artists, musicians, etc. that have influenced me in ways that have helped to shape who I've become. In fact, set me up in a coffee shop or a bar with good friends and no time limit, and I can wax on for a ridiculous amount of time on just this sort of stuff. I'm fortunate enough to have a partner and friends who also love doing this, which means I've done it a lot in my life. So—surprise!—I'll be doing it here in this space too. Probably often. So consider this part one of a multi-part series. And I'd love to hear your thoughts on my ramblings and/or if your influences dovetail with mine or if not what's influenced you.
So here we go with the first two entries in what I'll call my Personal Influence Hall of Fame. More to come later. And like my children, I love 'em all equally.
Probably the first band I remember loving, The Pretenders have been a musical constant for most of my life now. I discovered them like most kids in the early to mid 1980s through MTV and their video for "Brass in Pocket." And when I say I discovered them, I think it was really Chrissie Hynde that I discovered and whenever that video came on (which was a lot back in the days when, yes, we watched actual videos on MTV, and there were relatively few of them on so you could be sure to catch the same ones often) I sat rapt, staring at the mysterious waitress singing to herself in a diner, and listened intently to a song whose lyrics oozed sexuality in a way my young mind could not possibly comprehend but dammit if she didn't get my attention. The guys in the video (her bandmates) were clearly idiots for not giving her the time of day and my god didn't they understand she was one-hundred times better than those women they were hanging out with in the diner I mean even I knew that and I wasn't even ten years old yet!
I saw them with Elizabeth (also a fan) for the first and only time maybe five or six years ago at a small theater. It was around that time that I realized Hynde was old enough to be my mother, and amazingly always had been! Crazy how aging works, huh? As a kid you think of famous people as ageless, or timeless. I was a little worried, that as an aging band with several new members, they might not do justice to all of the years I'd spent living with their music and words in my head, but as they started to play the first song of the night it was obvious I had nothing to fear. Hynde must have been close to sixty years old at this point and she commanded the stage with absolute authority, just like she had in all of those live videos from their early years that I'd been watching for decades. I guess some crushes are built to last.
Sadly, I never found out what diner she worked at or else I'd have made myself a regular there.
My Chabon shelf runneth over
And now I'm realizing I just spilled 500 words and barely discussed how gorgeous his sentences are and, and, and...I'll have to return to him another day here.