Wednesday, February 08, 2006

I remember an interesting old woman at Expo 86...

It was a very exciting day for me and my friends. One of our favorite bands, Einsturzende Neubauten, was going to be playing the International Stage at Expo. All the way from Germany, they were "industrial" before Nine Inch Nails were out of diapers, and I could not wait to see them live!! Lucky for me I worked right outside of the Yellow Gate at the Expo grounds, so as soon as I got off work, I rushed on to the Expo site and got changed in one of the Ladies Washrooms. I stood in front of the bathroom mirror putting on my silver lipstick with the black lip-liner, powdering my face with white powder, adjusting my fishnets, making sure my hair was pointing straight to the sky...much to the curiosity of the normal women who were merely there to wash their hands. I remember feeling very powerful and alien. I felt Alternative.

As soon as I was ready, I headed to the International Stage to line up. I wanted to be in the front row for this show!! Hooray! There were only a handful of people in line, other Alternative types whom I recognized from around town...but right in front of me, there was a prim little woman, probably in her 60's, with her grey hair in a neat little bun, her hands holding a tidy little purse, and sensible shoes on her feet. What was she doing in the line up to see this noisy, noisy band? I figured she must have read her schedule wrong, so I struck up a conversation with her, hoping to save her from standing in line for the wrong thing.

"So, do you know what you are standing in line for?" I asked politely.

She replied, quite excitedly, "Oh yes. I'm waiting to see Einsturzende Neubauten!"

I hope my jaw didn't drop. I really hope it didn't. I was flabbergasted! "You know their music?" I asked.

"Oh yes. They are one of my favorite Industrial Noise artists." She smiled sweetly at me.

Who was this woman? She stayed for the whole concert, sat in the third row. I saw her take earplugs out of her purse and insert them in her ears before the show started. The show was brilliant: gut-wrenchingly loud, metal grinders and sparks and fire and mayhem--and through it all, she sat beaming. I couldn't take my mind off her! She was, sitting there in her cardigan, more Alternative and Strange than I had ever been. To be that comfortable in one's own skin, to not feel the need to put on a costume to fit in...she shines in my memory like a beacon of Truth and Mystery, an angel whom I am only beginning to be as free as.

13 comments:

annacond said...

first off, i have no idea who that band is, but happy for you that your hearts desire to 'see them live' was granted!

maybe the prim lady was a relative of some sort? maybe she taught music lessons to one of them when they were knee-high to grasshoppers? maybe her kids had their albums and she had An Appreciation for it? maybe she just liked loud music?!

man, i hope to be that cool in my own skin one day. how fabulous. (and when i'm in my 60's i hope i remember this blog and will be a cool grandma - and take my grandkids to see their favourite bands LOL)

Kim said...

Okay, yeah, that ladies awesome. When I watch bands nowadays, I sometimes just wonder about the kids in the crowd...why dress a specific way just because you like a certain band? I say this but I too dress certain ways sometimes just to fit in to those around me. I also like to dress like myself and find it complimentary when friends go shopping and find a peice of clothing and say "That's a Kim style."
Hm...anyways, I guess we're all learning that who you are isn't reflected in music tastes and clothing styles. I was at West Ed the other day with a friend and her husband. He was getting frustrated with seeing all the kids with the black "skunk" underground hairstyle everywhere. He loves underground music, he dresses how he likes, it's funny when the alternative style of clothing and music becomes the normal popular style....
Just so you know, you are individual in style and personality.

Spoke said...

We used to hurl obscenities at people who wore designer's logos on their clothing. We were so rude and felt above them, they were paying a company to advertise FOR the company...WE all had Harley Davidson this and that?????
I like dressing up for gigs (well, used to) it was sort of like I supported the band or whatever. My main style seems to be a non-style, I like to call it "scruff".

papa herman said...

What a cool story.


It would have been fun to talk to her afterwards, "so how did you like their use of the cement mixer?"

Makes me curious regarding what her story was.

and in a Blixa imitation i say my word verification: "dmvhdbi"

Amber said...

lol "Scruff".

Paula what a great story, thanks for sharing. I hope I'm like that lady when I'm 60.

Pondering Pig said...

Maybe she was a narc. (just joking) - I turned 64 the day before yesterday and I know I could no longer do what she did, even with ear plugs. I just don't feel the rage anymore. My circuits don't connect with punk or even The Who anymore. You have to have an emotional or even spiritual connection with music to "enjoy" it - what was going on beneath her placid exterior?
Great story. Thanks for remembering.

mull-berry said...

Paula: This has to do with something on your other blog ... I noticed that you are inspired by Wanda Jackson. Did you know she released a new album on the same day you recorded (1/31)? Here's the link:

"I Remember Elvis - Wanda Jackson"
http://www.wandajackson.com/pages/remember_elvis.html

What's odd is that I read a newspaper article about her and then your blog on the same day ... you both mention using "stand-up bass." Coincidence?

Paula said...

Thanks for the info!!! Wanda is still makin' music, waHOOOOOOO!! I sent her an e-mail, I wonder if she'll answer?? I'm as giddy as a schoolgirl....

mull-berry said...

Paula: I left a couple of newspaper articles on my blog about WJ. If she is as nice as she sounds, she will probably answer. But, of course, she's from Oklahoma. And, she can sure sing!

Spoke said...

she CAINT read though...

Kirstie said...

This was hilarious!
BTW, you've inspired my blog again. Thanks for all your great writing.

Corn Child said...

Wait, was that my crazy Grandma from Yuma, Arizona?

What a wonderful story. :)

Jodi said...

Hey Paula, I found you--- Great story btw I wish I had such great ways with words. Let's do another music night sometime- maybe March?