The angels are having a hell of a week

They say these things come in threes and after the last week and change, I’m beginning to think there is some cosmic truth to such a thing.

First it was Bowie. He was the maestro of my younger days, back when big hair, attitude and cute girls were a matter of waking up. One of my favorite Bowie moments is from the summer of ’84. I was seventeen and right in the middle of having the whole world figured out. I’d gone into town with a girl and we ended up going back to my Aunt’s apartment building in Long Island City. We grabbed some Chinese and a six pack and I figured out the piss poor lock to the roof and we made camp up there, me and her and Bowie with the panorama of Manhattan smiling back at us from across the East River. We ate and we drank and we laughed and then we slow danced to Bowie, and sometimes it feels like all of that happened on Mars. And sometimes I can still feel her pressed against me as Bowie did his thing and we moved into ours with the Trade Center keeping watch. It was always going to be that way, and Bowie was always going to take us home.

Then Alan Rickman went and left us. This brilliant scoundrel of a man was on loan to us from the other side of the pond for works that spanned decades, creating moments that will only prosper with time. I was remiss- unfortunately so- for not including Rickman in my recent list of “Bad Guys I Love”, but the truth is, Rickman was nobody’s foil. It speaks to his incredible talents that he could not be typecast in spite of the fact he made a wonderful badass in flicks such as Die Hard and Harry Potter. His work in movies such as Love ActuallyAlice in Wonderland, Sweeney Todd, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Bob Roberts- to list just a few- stands as testament to his range and his mercurial ability to take the words and transform them into flesh and blood and heart and soul. As with all great thespians, his voice does not go quiet simply because he is gone. His talents get to be enjoyed by the rest of the galaxy, because now he’s on loan from all of us.

Glenn Frey was from a time when songs were so much more than a collection of lyrics and melodies pieced together into an agreeable enough thing. Frey sang stories, great big ones like Hotel California that made us think on the mysteries; and simple ones like Take it Easy that throw us back to a time when picking up and taking off was a very real part of our everyday existence. Frey could sing a small club to closing time and he could close down an eighty thousand seat stadium the very same way. Because his message and his talent was honest as a summer rain, as strong as a prayer in the desperate hours. His ability to take us on a trip to wherever he was going speaks to the magical qualities of music, and why it matters so very much. I was emailing Christy when she brought up Frey’s passing, and I could feel the sadness in the brief passage she shared with me on how much his music meant to her as a young girl. She talked about how she and her Aunt would belt out Eagles songs in her Aunt’s jeep as they moved down the road and I remember thinking to myself how beautiful a thing it is, to have memories that come out of nowhere and hang on like that. Forever.

The angels won the week. I’d damn them for stealing from us, but I can’t rightly say I blame them for wanting such fine company.


29 thoughts on “The angels are having a hell of a week

  1. You and Christy knocked it out of the park with the Glenn tributes today.

    I was on an airplane all day yesterday, and didn’t know he was gone until I sat down in the hotel bar and started working on e-mail. I texted Christy right away, and then the flood of memories came.

    I talked to my husband, my college roommate, and then texted the friend who sang Tequila Sunrise at the top her lungs with me. It was Spring break, my high school boyfriend had just dumped me, and as we crested that mountain in New Mexico, I knew I’d find another. The next day graced us with a stop in Winslow, AZ…on the corner, of course. The Eagles helped me make sense of my life more times than I can count, and I’m truly sad. Crazy how we can miss people we’ve never met. xo

  2. Yeah, I told Christy that I am in a very emotional place right now and her post left me in a puddle of my own tears. It was so beautiful, and I love the photographs she added to the tribute. Absolutely wonderful.

    So you were standing on a corner in Winslow Arizona, huh? I bet you were such a fine sight to see.

    I agree as to that connection you have with someone you only know through songs and stories. Something magical happens when a person lets you see into their soul, they cease to be a stranger. These talents became a part of our lives, forever.

  3. And now it’s my turn to cry.
    Such a vivid painting of the rooftop scene…do you remember what song you danced to?

    Did you know Frey started writing “Heartache Tonight” while listening to Sam Cooke? I didn’t, until I read it here:

    In a weird way, it was nice to be emailing each other after Frey died. As morbid as that sounds. It helped. I’m not sure I would’ve gone on to finish that post if you and Michelle hadn’t nudged me forward by zeroing in on that half-finished jeep memory. Pursuing it, like I said, was like a domino reaction. And I thank you.

    Starting episode one of narcos now. 🙂

    • I finished Narcos this morning. I am on full binge mode right now. Went to see Revenant….and it was stunning to be certain, but man….lots of scenes I had trouble sitting through.

  4. Aiyiyiyiyi, such a tough week of losses. I was not a Bowie music fan growing up, but I learned to deeply respect him as I got older and discovered the struggles he’d endured — and overcame.

    Alan Rickman, hands down, one of the best bad guys evah! I can still hear his voice in my head, such a unique quality in his tone that you could pick him out blindfolded.

    And Glenn Frey, oh man. The Eagles are my favorite band. They have been my favorite band since middle school, and I hated when they broke up, and swooned when they got back together for Hell Freezes Over. I went to that concert, too — killer show and I’m so glad I had the chance to see them all playing together again, even if it was just for that brief stint.

    Wonderful tip of the hat to 3 great ones, Cayman.

    • The reach the Eagles have is remarkable, really. Everyone, and I do mean everyone has felt this loss. My sister and me were on the phone last night when she brought it up, and my father who has about as much interest in American music as I have in knitting, talked about Frey’s passing with me this morning in a phone conversation. Unreal.

      Alan Rickman was a classic, wasn’t he? The man had so much range it was ridiculous, which is why I don’t feel TOO bad about leaving him off my Bad Guy list, since he was so much more than that over the course of a brilliant career. Besides, I will have other Bad Guy lists happening down the road. . .

      Bowie was my time, my music. Growing up in New York, he was everywhere. His was the music that aspiring bands culled from, his was the style we all adopted in our own different ways. He was not simply transcendent as a musician, he was a great actor too. And writer. His music was always original and I think that’s what I loved most, the honesty to his music.

      Rough week indeed, Bahstan.

  5. All true words! Love the story and the images you dragged forth in my mind! I try hard not to think about things on purpose that make me sad because there is enough in day to day life to bring the tears. These were all great men and it is a sad time to lose such special talent to the stars. But at least we still have their words and voices to take us forward! Thanks Caymen! 🙂

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