Nostalgia will lead me away

A large multi colored mural of a deranged unicorn above a set of stairs leading into an underground club
Drunken Unicorn, three years since I’ve last stepped inside

Despite my fear it helps to/ share my nostalgia with you

Nothing’s changed. Everything’s changed. Everybody’s changing and I don’t feel the same. This damnable decade is drawing its last breath and I’m left wondering if I should be cheering or crying.

The anniversaries are piling up hard and fast, keeping track becomes an exercise in futility. Ten years since we first met. Ten years since the structures burned. Twenty-five years since it first released. Nineteen since they played that song. Thirty-eight since they’ve been married. Six since the breakdown. All of them unrelated to the others except they were experienced by technically the same person.

We pulled up into the Drunken Unicorn on Wednesday night because our pal was on tour with Theatre of Hate. And because of our deep and abiding love of the Chameleons. Well, ChameleonsVox this go ’round. Or Chameleons UK depending on who you ask. Our friend has been on the road since September. Five countries now? A few thousand miles for sure. He’s tired. He’s lost weight. We’re tired. I worry that I’m boring.

Other friends start to arrive. It’s been a very long time since we were all together like this. New people are in the mix. Introductions are made (and not made). We stand through Jay Aston’s set. The man is muttering and mumbling his way through forty minutes, punctuating the drone with a sustained sung note now and then.

I find myself rearranging my points of view
There isn’t much I could do

I’m not comfortable. This is a group that, yes, I probably consider closer to me than most. But I’m always a bit on edge. Am I boring you? What am I to you? Why don’t you talk to me? Did you notice my hair? Is it cool? Am I cool enough? There’s always that pit I’m looking into that feels so much like when your best friend reminds you that you aren’t their best friend. Theatre of Hate is on. Our friend is amazing. Easily the best part of that set. The band itself is not my cup of tea. The saxophone player’s shirt is a violent green. He looks like he’s about to go bowling.

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ChameleonsVox (Mark Burgess of The Chameleons) @ Drunken Unicorn, Atlanta, GA
November 6, 2019
Photo provided by Jason Rogers

Tomorrow I remember yesterday
Tomorrow, remember yesterday

We last saw Burgess in the corner of a now-defunct goth hangout. The outside looked like a shopping center. He took requests. It was my first time hearing “Don’t Fall” from the original writer. It was seven years ago. It feels like forever.

He’s playing now. The room feels alive. The decade doesn’t matter. My thoughts turn off. It pulls you in. It’s just a trick of the light.

These songs aren’t so much burned into your memory as they are seared into your very DNA. Your fingers twitch in familiar patterns, fretting chords for the thousandth time. Throat constricted, trying not to yell out the lyrics that come so naturally you almost wrote them yourself. Heart breaking with every kick of the drum. Hiding in the back, anxiously avoiding teary eyes that never quite come.

The goodbyes are quick but loaded. Hugs all around. Things are different now. They’ve been different for a very long time. Where have you been that you haven’t noticed?

Tomorrow I remember yesterday
Tomorrow, remember yesterday

Everything is always happening. The tragedies and blessings of time are one and the same.

Tomorrow, nostalgia will lead me away

We get back home at nearly three a.m. It’s a ride we’ve done so many times before. Seventy-eight all the way back, strip mall towns blurring into one another, U2 playing softly in the background. I make a promise to myself as we pull into the driveway.

Time to let some of the past go. New adventures are on the horizon that demand attention. Time to keep becoming

If this is the stuff dreams are made of…

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1 Comment

  1. The Chameleons song “In Shreds” got me through a particularly brutal winter of psychic death. I hope I never feel so close to that song again. Great post.

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