Tuesday, January 27, 2015

How To (Temporarily) Drop Your Coke Habit: Marry A Total Narc

So after realizing, at a Hall & Oates concert, that her new squeeze Mr. Mason wasn't a conceited twerp after all, Belinda still decided to play it cool for a little while, right? Pffft, you should know better by now. From Lips Unsealed:
I moved in with Morgan the next day. Everyone thought it was crazy. They thought we were crazy. Morgan and I said they didn't understand. We thought it was the most natural thing in the world. We were in love.
In love! The birds sang, the flowers bloomed, the urinals flushed. Those other kids, they didn't get it, man. They were just jealous. Because nothing is crazy once you've found your true Yuppie sweetheart. It should be noted, however, that moving in with a man she hardly knew was probably the least crazy thing Belinda had ever done, as she quickly illustrates with her next couple of paragraphs:
Of course, he didn't have any idea he had gotten himself involved with a cocaine addict. He looked at me through a haze of affection. It blinded him to reality, a reality that I strove to conceal. I showed him the very best of me, the person I wished I was, the person I might have been if not for the whole secret life I had going on as a drug addict.

I was able to hide my coke addiction, but it took major effort and tons of lies. I was slow in moving my stuff from the Marina on purpose. I used my condo as a hideout, a secret den where I could go and get high in safety. At night, after Morgan fell asleep, I snuck out and went to my old place and got high. I always left little notes on the bed for Morgan, saying that I went out to get Pepto-Bismol.
?!?!?! That must have been a lot of imaginary Pepto-Bismol. Morgan really must have been wondering about the strength of Belinda's digestive system. I mean, we all get the runs now and then, but to need Pepto-Bismol ... every night? Hitler should have tried that excuse on the Allies. "You just invaded Poland!" "No I didn't, I was just out getting some Pepto-Bismol." Nevertheless, Belinda's love hit her like a shockingly urgent bowel movement:
My feelings for Morgan were deeper, stronger, and more mysterious and fulfilling than any I had ever felt in my life. He was unlike anybody I had ever met. He was attractive, elegant, smart and sophisticated, and very funny. I couldn't understand why he had been so aloof when we met. He was totally opposite from that arrogant guy.

Morgan drove a Ferrari. Although I had always thought guys who drove those sleek sports cars were creepy, Morgan looked appropriate in his car, just like he did in his finely tailored suits. It fit without pretense or attitude. He enjoyed himself and lived with a sense of fun, panache, and style.
Just admit it Belinda, you wanted to be a Yuppie. It's OK. It was the '80s. It happened to everybody. Even Steve Winwood! But contrary to popular belief, not every Yuppie was quite so approving of the magical powder:
Sometime toward the end of February, Morgan figured out the truth about me. I had been going back and forth at night between his condo and my dealer while he slept. I would buy the coke, come back, sit in the living room and get high, and then smoke cigarettes on the balcony.

I don't know what I was thinking.

Clearly, I wasn't thinking.

I was gone. Subconsciously, I was begging to be found out.
The coke wasn't your high, Belinda. The danger was your high.
One morning Morgan woke up and came into the living room. He saw me seated on the couch, bending over something. As soon as I heard him, I shoved it under the couch. He saw me, though, and asked, "What are you doing?"
Nice, the old "shove it under the couch" routine. "Oh, nothing honey, I was just ... admiring the floral pattern on these seat covers! Excellent upholstery choice, dear."
Instead of waiting for me to answer, he reached down and pulled out a mound of coke that I had piled up on a magazine. He took it out on the balcony and with a look of utter disgust dumped it over the side.
Noooooo!!! Morgan nooooo!!! That was her next album's whole advance!
I was busted, so completely busted. I hadn't moved. It was like I was waiting for him to do something.

"I'm sorry," I said, dissolving into tears. "I'm sorry."

He was upset and didn't know what to do. Neither did I.

He never gave me an ultimatum; I simply knew that I had to get sober. And that's what I did - sort of.
Bravo, Belinda, bravo - wait, what? "Sort of"? What do you mean, "sort of"? What the hell does it mean to be "sort of" sober? Good question - and lo and behold, she actually answers it:
As any recovering addict knows, you can't be "sort of" sober. It's all or nothing. But I devised my own plan. I didn't want to check into rehab; I couldn't stand the thought of seeing my dirty laundry unfurled in the press. In retrospect, it shouldn't have been a big deal. If I was going to admit I had a problem, it shouldn't have mattered if I admitted it to one person or a million. What did matter, though, was admitting the whole and honest truth to myself, and I couldn't do that.

I thought I was taking the right steps when I confessed to Morgan and then sought out Charlotte, who was recently out of rehab and attending meetings. She was extremely understanding and helpful. With her help and encouragement, I stopped doing coke right away.
Stopped ... doing ... coke? Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and no, that's not coke in his beard. This was truly a landmark moment in Western Civilization. If Belinda Carlisle could stop doing coke (well, you know, for a little while), then anything was possible. The Berlin Wall could crumble. The U.S. could end the embargo against Castro's Cuba. This was a great day for all of us. Well, "sort of":
She took me to twelve-step meetings and I began attending Cocaine Anonymous meetings on my own, too. But I concocted or rationalized my own version of the program, one where I could drink, pop pills, and do hallucinogens - anything except cocaine. That was my one rule: no coke.
Good rule.
I was proud of my progress. Once I told someone who had a number of years of sobriety under his belt that I was in "the program," a euphemism for being sober and attending twelve-step meetings. He asked if I attended meetings. I said, "Sometimes." Skeptical, he asked who my sponsor was. I said that I was sponsoring myself. Seeing that I was serious, he shook his head slightly, an almost imperceptible acknowledgment that I didn't get it, and said, "Okay, good luck."
Slick. That's like being your own parole officer. No conflict of interest there.

But I'm burying the lede here, which is that, contrary to my initial impression of the Belinda Carlisle career arc, the start of her unexpectedly corporate solo career did not actually coincide with out-of-control drug use. So wait, you mean to tell me that this former hardcore L.A. punk rocker dove headfirst into late '80s Top 40 bubblegum ... with a clear head? You mean to tell me she went Yuppie ... knowingly? Well, a lack of cocaine consumption doesn't necessarily translate into a "clear head" (as we shall see), but yes, you might consider this something of a twist. If anything, her "sort of" sobriety may have been the driving force behind her shameless and emphatic embrace of the Yuppie ethos. Maybe she never really liked punk rock; she just liked the drugs! Actually, I think she liked both, but after being scolded by her husband for those late night "Pepto-Bismol" runs, it turns out she didn't stick with either.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Zrbo's Favorite Songs of 2014 (All Girl Edition)

Here we are, another year come and gone. 2014 was a bit of an off year when it came to entertainment. The world of film didn't make much of an impression on me (even though everyone told me I was required to love Guardians of the Galaxy, it was just another summertime spectacle that disappeared from my mind the moment I walked out of the theater). The world of videogames was rocked by the utterly baffling Gamergate controversy. And when it came to music... I basically just listened to a lot of Top 40 radio on my way to work. So what you'll find below is a bunch of Top 40 tunes that I found pleasant. Is my enthusiasm showing too much? This year I've also abandoned rankings, so here ya go:

Paramore - "Ain't It Fun"

Hey look! It's every teenage girl's favorite quasi-Christian rock band Paramore! I've never listened to one iota of Paramore before I heard this song, but during the summer this song really got caught in my head. The song bounces along and I while I like it I can't really relate to the message, that being: "Isn't it fun to be an adult now that you're old enough!". But what really makes the song memorable in my book is that Paramore have run with the Madonna playbook and deployed a black gospel choir beginning about halfway through. While the message the choir sings is a bit silly, I just can't help but get caught up in the gospel fervor of it. You'll notice I've linked to the "lyric video". I did this because the official video is the same as the radio version where some genius thought that the perfect place to fade out the song is right when the choir kicks in. Great job there, buddy.

Ariana Grande feat. Iggy Izalea - "Problem"

Ariana Grande is some Nickelodeon star turned ahem (clears throat)... musical artist. Everything about her screams entitled over-privileged diva whose parents probably paid her way to fame. And everything in this song is full of things that annoy me: the way she's not even trying to hide that she's lip synching, the misappropriation of the mod look when her song is clearly trying to be a throwback to doo-wop girl groups, the whispered rapping that forms the chorus, and Iggy Izalea who arguably has the most irritating voice I've ever heard on a human being.

Yet somehow I can't get this song out of my head. But if that were solely the case it could be just another All About That Bass, but I guess what I'm trying to say is... I like this song. Some sort of diabolical alchemy has occurred where all of these horrible elements have been mixed together and out comes this song I like. Also, Ariana Grande is ridiculously cute, though I feel awkward saying that because though she's 21 she looks like she's just turned 12. I also like the saxophone work, but then I always like saxophones. She could stand to work on her dance moves more (the quick cuts try to hide the fact that she's basically just standing around most of the video) and as others have said, she really needs to work on her enunciation. Her other songs "Break Free" and "Love Me Harder" are also pretty good if you're into that modern club sound (also: good luck trying to decipher what she's saying).

Taylor Swift - 1989 (the whole album)

What can I say about Taylor Swift that hasn't already been said? Before listening to her album 1989 I've never consciously known I was listening to a Taylor Swift song. Like Ariana Grande, she too seems to be overly-privileged, and I couldn't care less about her dating life, even though that seems to be the only thing she sings about. I'll just tell you what happened to me: When her album 1989 came out I initially heard the song "Out of the Woods" and thought "Wow, this is Taylor Swift?" because with all it's synthesizers I thought it was some spare track from Chvrches, who you might recall had my favorite song from last year.

It seems that Taylor Swift has decided to completely reinvent herself, no longer an ostensible country artist, she's now gone the pop music route. And while I'll have to turn in my goth-industrial membership card upon completion of this sentence, I really like her new album. If you want to hear what pop music sounds like in 2014 look no further than 1989. With the help of Max Martin she's gone ahead and made a great pop album.

Supposedly styled after what Swift considers music sounded like in 1989, the album does have a slight 80s feel to it (there's a hint of New Wave there too, though that was pretty much over by '89). I can listen to the first eight tracks without skipping any of them - even Madonna albums can't do that. I listen to a song, like it, think "okay, well the next one's gotta be filler", prepare to skip it, and then find that I've listened all the way through to the next song.

You might have noticed by this point that I haven't linked to any videos. Well, the album is fairly new and most of these songs aren't on there yet. Also, since she's currently the hot music industry property, there's a crackdown on unlicensed uploads. The only thing I can find are uploads where they've slightly sped up the song to avoid Big Brother's copyrighted musical detector, and I don't want you to suffer through a Chipmunks-sounding (Chippettes?) version. So far you can only watch the videos for "Blank Space" and "Shake It Off", neither video of which I'm a huge fan. My personal favorite song off the album, "Style", doesn't even have a video yet (though it's rumored to be the next single), but you can find various cover versions on Youtube.

I've only got one chance for redemption so let's make it a good one:

I seem to have a thing for including songs not from the current year on my best of the year lists, so I suppose this song is this year's entry. I'm been familiar with The Chameleon's "Swamp Thing" because it is a staple, no, perhaps the quintessential song, at my local goth club. I've heard this song played on the dank, sweaty dancefloors for 15 years, and it wasn't until this year I bothered to ask "What's the name of this song?". Now that I know I'm just plain old obsessed with it.

Let's just talk about that opening, I could just listen to it on repeat again and again. My favorite part is right at 1:37 where it sounds like the intro is over and the lyrics are going to kick in and they just let the music linger for another 10 seconds and I love it. And then the lyrics begin and they're just pure poetry:
I can already hear your tune
Calling me across the room
When the world and his wife
Are on my back again
Not enough pleasure
Too much pain
Then the drums come crashing in and I just lose my mind completely. The old man in me is telling you they just don't make music like this anymore!

Well, another year down. What will 2015 bring? Considering the Back to the Future Part II vibe in the air, here's hoping Huey Lewis and the News make a comeback. You heard it here first!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Next Time, How About Some Wings That Aren't Broken?

Like Major Major Major Major from Catch-22, the parents of Mr. Mister had a very cruel sense of humor. Granted, he was mercilessly spared ridicule throughout his childhood, but once he entered adult society, he surely must have had a terrible burden to bare. "What's your last name sir?" "Mister." "Perhaps you misunderstood, I need your last name." "Yes, it's Mister." "I'm sorry, Mr., I don't mean to be rude."

"Broken Wings" is another one of those songs I heard a thousand times as a kid, but for years I never knew the title or the artist's name or anything critical of that nature. I was hanging out with the same friend who clued me in as to the artist and title of "Oh, Sherrie." He added, "You know Mr. Mister, 'Broken Wings'?" "No, what the hell is that?" He pulled it up on YouTube. "Oh yeahhhh, of course I know that one, you think I'm an idiot?" Strangely, the band's "Kyrie" which was also a #1 hit, is one I don't really remember hearing at all. Sometimes, you play the post-'80s soft rock perennial rotation game, and sometimes, it plays you.

When rock critics in the early '70s expressed their concern that technology would inevitably sap popular music of its "soul," they were probably terrified that the future of music was going to sound like "Broken Wings." Its pure synthetic sheen would have given them Woodstockian nightmares. It's like taking a photocopy of a photocopy; you can barely hear the remnants of actual humans in the background. According to Wikipedia, "The song's hissing intro was an effect created by the sound of a crash cymbal played in reverse." So you mean someone actually played an actual cymbal? Yeah, OK, they twisted it around so it sounded alien and inorganic, but still, I'm kind of impressed.

And what's with the chorus? Is that supposed to be some kind of Beatles reference? Just to refresh you: "Blackbird," from the White Album, features the lyrics, "Blackbird singing in the dead of night/Take these broken wings and learn to fly." Any intended homage would have completely escaped my Beatles-ignorant six-year-old self. But "Blackbird," at least according to later McCartney interviews, was an allegory about the Civil Rights movement. Maybe "Broken Wings" was an allegory about yuppies being oppressed by "the man," AKA ... themselves?

For a song that practically blasts "1985" from an airhorn, the video for "Broken Wings" has aged impressively well. Looks like Mr. Mister went the "Boys of Summer" route and brought out the black & white film stock for this baby. Let's just face it, the video is a Yuppie's wet dream. Lead vocalist (and bassist!) wearing a strategically unbuttoned denim shirt? Check. And sunglasses? Check. Driving a convertible? Check. Down an endless, nondescript California highway? Check. With random shots of birds? Check. With a scene of the singer sitting in an empty church, praying for the salvation of his broken Yuppie soul? Check and check. I like the part at 2:12 where he flings the map out of the car. Yeah! You show that road map who's boss! Oh, and soak in that white trenchcoat thing he's wearing while the band "performs" in their spotless desert home. Honestly, is that Mr. Mister's real lead singer, or did they just hire a model? I mean, for a guy who looks like he just popped out of an Eddie Bauer catalog, he sure can hit the high notes.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

"All He Wants To Do Is" Complain About Your Supposed Ignorance

It looks like everyone but the Pope was on board for Don Henley's second album, Building the Perfect Beast: in addition to the aforementioned Mike Campbell, we've got Lindsey Buckingham, Randy Newman, the Motels' Martha Davis, Sam Moore (of Stax Records' Sam & Dave fame!) two members of Toto (does it really matter which ones?), and Wikipedia even lists a certain Miss B. Carlisle with "backing vocals, harmony vocals," but if she's on here, I haven't the faintest idea where (sadly, "She's On The Zoom" was not included as a bonus track, so it must have been something else). I know this album sold three times as much, and received three times as much critical praise, as I Can't Stand Still, so call me a contrarian, but I really don't feel like there are as many hidden gems on this one. Let's be honest, without "Boys of Summer" tipping the scales, this wouldn't even be a contest.

I fear that "Man On A Mission" was Henley's attempt to sound like Split Enz, and the title track may have been the subconscious inspiration for Wang Chung's "Everybody Have Fun Tonight," but otherwise, I'm kind of fallin' asleep here. "Sunset Grill" peaked at #22, and I'd put it at about #22 on my list of favorite Don Henley solo songs; too much synthesizer, not enough condescension.

Nope, he saved all the condescension for "All She Wants To Do Is Dance," another lecture rock classic which, despite actually being written by Don's buddy Danny Kortchmar and not Don himself, still gives Don the chance to sound like a liberal douche. From Wikipedia:
The song's lyrics are a personal commentary, critical of then-modern American culture for being more concerned with self-gratification and hedonistic behaviors (e.g., dancing, partying, promiscuity, recreational drug use, etc.) than with serious issues such as domestic and foreign policies of their government. Ironically, it became a very popular dance song, peaking at #10 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs.
See Don, you fucked it up! You made it too danceable! Looks like Henley fell victim to what was known in '80s pop circles as "Born in the U.S.A." Syndrome, ie. when an artist assumes his audience understands what irony is, and/or cares. Like he was adding all that much to the conversation anyway. Oh wait, you mean terrible things are happening in the world, and Don Henley is making me feel guilty about them? Oh my God, I've totally changed my mind! Honey, where's my Che Guevara t-shirt?
They're pickin' up the prisoners and puttin' 'em in the pen
And all she wants to do is dance, dance
Rebels been rebels since I don't know when
And all she wants to do is dance
Molotov cocktail - the local drink
And all she wants to do is dance, dance
They mix 'em up right in the kitchen sink
And all she wants to do is dance

Crazy people walkin' round with blood in their eyes
And all she wants to do is dance, dance
Wild-eyed pistol wavers who ain't afraid to die
And all she wants to do is
And all she wants to do is dance
And make romance

Well, the government bugged the men's room in the local disco lounge
And all she wants to do is dance, dance
To keep the boys from sellin' all the weapons they could scrounge
And all she wants to do is dance
But that don't keep the boys from makin' a buck or two
And all she wants to do is dance, dance
They still can sell the army all the drugs that they can do
And all she wants to do is
And all she wants to do is dance
And make romance

Well, we barely made the airport for the last plane out
As we taxied down the runway I could hear the people shout
They said, "Don't come back here Yankee!" but if I ever do
I'll bring more money
'Cause all she wants to do is dance
And make romance
Personally Don, I have no desire to either dance or make romance, and yet I still don't feel like joining the revolution. This song is sort of like Neil Young's "Rockin' In The Free World," but, you know, less funny. Also, in that one, I get the sense that Neil feels just as much fear and guilt about traveling in the third world as most of his American middle class audience would, whereas Don Henley just sounds like he's patting himself on the back for bothering to watch the MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour. Plus, "Rockin' In The Free World" has those blistering electric guitar solos, whereas "All She Wants To Do Is Dance" has ... a keytar? The whole thing kind of sounds like Q*bert and Donkey Kong making love in a Trans Am, but I guess it takes all colors to make a rainbow.

For the video, Henley apparently traveled to a genuine war-torn Central American nation and commandeered the local hideout. Hmm. I didn't know Manuel Noriega was an Eagles fan.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Zrbo's Least Favorite Song of 2014

As a preamble to my favorite songs of the year, here we are with my least favorite song. Overall 2014 wasn't my favorite year in music as you'll see once we get to my favorites (spoiler: it's all Top 40). There was nothing that really swept me away. That being said, there sure was a lot of shit out there. Even then, it was pretty easy for me to choose which song annoyed me the most. After consulting with PricewaterhouseCoopers the winner is....

Meghan Trainor's "All About That Bass" is a textbook example that just because a song is catchy doesn't mean it's any good. Don't get me wrong, it is quite catchy, but dear god does it annoy me. To begin with, Ms. Trainor's vocals are gratingly nasal. It's like she had a cold the day the went to record the vocals. The throwback doo-wop motif is a novelty that quickly wears thin. Her white-girl-rapping is just annoying as hell. The lyrics are about body positivity, which I don't have a problem with per se, but as others have pointed out fall completely flat when put under scrutiny. To top it off, her follow up song sounds almost exactly the same. Finally, as for the video, they went way overboard on the pastels, ugh. Ladies and Gentlemen, here's your one hit wonder of 2014.

Now for something more positive...

Favorite Song/Video Combination

You may remember Kimbra from Gotye's massive hit "Somebody That I Used To Know". Kimbra is kind of like the southern hemisphere version of Bjork. She's from a small island nation (New Zealand), has an eccentric sense of style and taste, it's difficult to pin her to any specific genre, and her music works much better in tandem with her music videos. Not to diss Bjork but I've always found when listening to Bjork's songs on their own that they never enchanted me as much as they did when accompanied by one of her zany videos. I feel the same way about Kimbra. Watching her video for "Miracle" I can't help but feel the good vibes (she's effervescent in the enthusiasm she shows in this video) but when taken on it's own the song doesn't quite have the same pop as when it's accompanied by the video. And she really does pop in that bordering-on-risque red outfit, but once again, she really looks like she's having fun. The choreography reminds me a bit of fellow southern-hemispherian Kylie Minogue's video for Love At First Sight. Go ahead, watch, and have fun:

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Phil And His Danish Dealer's Little "Misunderstanding" AKA Put Up Your Duke

Even by the dawn of the '80s, Genesis still couldn't quite shake that pesky prog rock thing. Duke has a total running time of 55 minutes, and half of the songs are at least five minutes long. Come on guys, what did you think you were making here? Art? The people had spoken, and you knew what they wanted to hear: Phil Collins singing about his marital problems! Nobody needed a closing mini-suite titled "Duke's Travels/Duke's End." This was the '80s - get with the times. And don't take my word for it. Just listen to a man who surely must speak for all '80s music aficionados: Patrick Bateman:
I've been a big Genesis fan ever since the release of their 1980 album, Duke. Before that I didn't really understand any of their work ... all the albums before Duke seemed too artsy, too intellectual. It was Duke (Atlantic; 1980), where Phil Collins' presence became more apparent, and the music got more modern, the drum machine became more prevalent and the lyrics started getting less mystical and more specific (maybe because of Peter Gabriel's departure), and complex, ambiguous studies of loss became, instead, smashing first-rate pop songs that I gratefully embraced.
Yeah, OK, Bret Easton Ellis is trying to be a dick, but you know what? I sort of agree with the psychopath here! First of all, I love how, in Bateman's world, qualities like "artsy," "intellectual," "complex," and "ambiguous" are somehow undesirable in music. My problem isn't with "complex, ambiguous studies of loss." My problem with Peter Gabriel-era Genesis is that I never realized those songs were actually supposed to be "complex, ambiguous studies of loss." So is that what "The Battle of Epping Forest" was about? Now, Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here - I mean, that was a genuinely complex, ambiguous study of loss. I should mention that plenty of Phil Collins' songs were ostensibly studies of loss; they just weren't very, you know, complex, or ambiguous.

At any rate, although the band was still partially perching itself on the prog rock fence, fortunately Phil brought in a couple of simpler, more concise tracks left over from a potential solo album (yeah, like that was gonna fly), and donated them to the cause. For some reason Phil really wanted to turn one of them, a tender chronicle of a man trying his hardest to avoid admitting he's on the wrong end of an affair, into a slowed down cover of Led Zeppelin's "Fool in the Rain," while throwing in some Beach Boy harmonies in the back. And of course, let's not forget that impeccable, impeccable drumming:
There must be some misunderstanding
There must be some kind of mistake
I waited in the rain for hours
You were late

Now it's not like me to say the right thing
But you could've called to let me know
I checked your number twice, don't understand it
So I went home

Well I'd been waiting for this weekend
I thought that maybe we could see a show
Never dreamed I'd have this feeling
But seeing you is believing
That's why I don't know why
You didn't show up that night

Since then I've been running around trying to find you
I went to the places you always go
I rang your house but got no answer
Jumped in my car, I went round there
I still don't believe it
He was just leaving

No Phil, there's no misunderstanding at all. Your woman is doing you wrong, and you're gonna have to deal with it!

Or at least, that was the angle at the time. But courtesy of In The Air Tonight: The Secret Life And Twisted Psyche Of Philip D. Collins, we finally know the real story:
We were remixing some tracks in Denmark. I found out the hard way, as the saying goes, that five Frederikssund prostitutes is about four too many. At any rate, I had a connection at the Copenhagen zoo, a guy named Hans, he was supposed to hook me up with some heavy equestrian juice, if you know what I mean. We were talking some primo, primo shit. It would've turned Mr. Ed into a fucking unicorn. So Hans promises me that it'll be waiting for me in my hotel room the minute I get back from the studio. I can already taste the tranquilizer in my veins. I get back around 10:00PM, and sure enough, there's a box on the dresser. I was gonna need the needle for this one. I pulled out my custom-made horseshoe - you can do it with a normal spoon, but they say you really should cook it in a horseshoe to get that perfect "flavor." I opened up the box and grabbed the bag, but, God damn it, it was the wrong color. Forgive me for getting a bit technical here, but pure horse tranquilizer, in liquid form, is sort of a golden brown, whereas this was like a light grey. Hans had screwed me over - big time. I checked the print on the bag, and in the midst of several "oxides" and "amyls" were the words "giraffe anesthesia." I grabbed the phone.

"You sent me the wrong shit!"

"Who is this?"

"It's Phil! So what the fuck is this, Hans? I got a bag of ... giraffe anesthesia!"

"You did? No, I told them what you like, they were going to get you the good stuff."

"Well there must've been some kind of misunderstanding!"

"Look, Phil, I'll sort it out."

"Damn straight you will. I'm just supposed to sit around all night without my fix?"

"No, I don't know what to tell you, there was some kind of mistake, that's all."

"Yeah, like me trusting a fucking zookeeper, that was the mistake. Now get your puny little Danish ass over here and make sure you bring the right shit."

Copenhagen was about 45 minutes from the studio. I figured I could hold out that long. Rot Rot popped out from underneath a sweater in my duffle bag.

"What's the matter, Philip?"

"Oh nothing, they just sent me the wrong stuff, that's all. Now I've got to kill some time until they get here."

"How about another round of Riddle-Diddle?"

"No Rot Rot, I'm sick of Riddle-Diddle. You always win anyway. I was just watching the telly, but I turned it off."

"Well ... turn it on again."

So I caught a couple of episodes of Are You Being Served?, dubbed in Danish. Where the fuck was Hans? My back started itching. I almost thought about trying the giraffe anesthesia, but Rot Rot talked me out of it. I got impatient and walked down to the lobby. It was raining fairly steadily, but I decided to stand outside by the taxis. I didn't care. Finally a cab pulled up. Hans ran out with a box in his hand.

"Construction! Can you believe it? They're doing construction in Lillerod! Anyway, sorry Phil, here it is."

I raced up to my room, poured a solid dose into my horseshoe, let that lighter do its magic, and sank back on the bed.

"Philip, aren't you a bit concerned that your little 'hobby' is getting out of hand?"

"Listen Rot Rot, I've got it under control. I know what I'm doing."

"I saw the panic in your eyes tonight."

"You know what? How about I give you a dose of hedgehog anesthesia? How does that sound?"

Just then a car drove by, blasting "Fool In The Rain." That's when it hit me. I got up from the bed, stumbled my way to the piano, changed the whole scenario around to make it sound like a kind of adultery thing, and there you go.