When I first moved into my basement apartment in Bucktown on Medill St. the previous occupant left me a 12-inch record with a note attached reading, “new tenant – like this shit.”
That shit was a 12-inch remix on vinyl of Sinead O’Connor’s “Jump in the River.” The precious, provocative version with dirty-mouthed Karen Finley. The one where she asks, “Mother, do you have a prick?”
I insisted that she masturbate me
The apartment had a little concrete entrance and nailed to the wall was the record. I took the record out and left the album cover because it made great art (Sinead looking bad-assery in black Doc Martens, shaved head).
Luckily I had just purchased a turntable with the intent of growing a vinyl collection and the first thing I did in that apartment was put my gift record on. I had heard “Jump in the River” before but never the version where Finley “insisted that she masturbate me.” I also learned via the song that Finley doesn’t smile when she cums.
I opened my first beer in the apartment and listened to the record again. And again. It’s a great version of the song, dirty and grungy and sexy, regardless of Finley’s wailing in the final three minutes (the way she kicks off the song with her female Joker, yodel laugh is a bonus too).
I played the song for Calla, the girl I was hooking up with at the time. We met outside a DePaul University bar when she took a cigarette out of her mouth long enough to tell me I “had cool fucking shoes.” After hearing the record Calla told me she wanted to do most of the stuff Finley wailed about to me or have me do to her. So it meant one of us was going to “twist that silky scarf.”
Once Calla and I went to Reckless Records. She kissed me in the store, out of the blue. And just as out of the blue it was when she threw a record at my head. I believe it was a Figdish album.
Chicago reclusive author Clive Javanski told me a record story of his own. He said he was at a place called Record Swap in the south suburbs and asked a worker if they had “2000 Light Years from Home” by the Stones. The worker returned with “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) from The Proclaimers – or as Clive referred to them, “Scottish fucks.”
Clive had a record player in his apartment and it was put to use during card games and Asshole Book Club meetings. Sometimes you’d hear on vinyl “The Very Best of Kim Wilde,” “This is Big Audio Dynamite” or the latest Pearl Jam. I think he even had the vinyl soundtrack to “The Ring” and played that once. The last time we were there it was Local H.
Then there was Norm, who would bring this vintage record player to Mickey’s bar down the street and play some 20s or 40s music or some shit. We would sit in there and listen to it and drink and ponder, much like those soldiers did to the German record near the end of “Saving Private Ryan.” Except we were assholes.
Calla brought me some Hooverphonic on vinyl once, and after we listened to it we put on the O’Connor/Finley record. “Jump-start me,” Calla said, echoing again, Ms. Finley. “Jump-start me.”
So I did.
UK Grief’s Non-Record Release Party was held at Chicago reclusive author (and keyboardist) Clive Javanski’s new Logan Square Apartment. Clive still had his place near Quencher’s Saloon in Bucktown, but purchased this as some kind of investment.
“A few years ago a strung-out coke whore was probably giving a two-dollar blow job in this exact spot,” Clive said. “But now we have Diamond-Eyes David Catzman in her place, sipping a Cuba Libre and wearing ruby red boots.”
I was never really sure who Catzman knew in our group, but he always showed up for a party. Catzman is what Aidan calls “a bi-guy,” which might explain why he has a gorgeous girlfriend with him yet grabs my ass in the kitchen.
Catzman was here along with many other assholes to celebrate what would have been a new release from the Bucktown-based UK Grief (myself, Clive, Sasha, Aidan, Franz). There is no record yet. But there’s still a party.
I looked around the room and saw Angela, an ex-girlfriend of mine who always wore construction boots on her tiny feet and looked damn good doing so. Her kisses tasted like undiscovered fruit. When she got drunk one of her eyes got smaller. How cute. It usually led to her hand in my pants, or mine in hers.
“Everyone’s at this fucking thing,” Aidan said. “The entire city’s walking weird is here.”
Band friend Mosquito came. He earned that nickname because someone said he “looked like an insect.” Also here was Devin, who said he worked at Violet Hour in Wicker Park and was starting a new Internet cooking/eating and restaurant show called “Food Assholes.”
I walked over to Clive, who in between bong hits was telling some DePaul girls how we were originally going to name the band Weird Asian Girls. None of us were girls (before Sasha joined), or Asian. But damn were we weird.
I walked the room. Someone called me an “IRA looking asshole.”
Things I overheard:
“The last tire fire I started, in unincorporated Indiana, you could see that motherballer from space.”
“At the last party this hillbilly enchantress turned Aidan into an exhaust pipe.”
I went looking for Sasha, because it’s times like these we usually have sex. But I found Angela instead, in the kitchen. She wore a black skirt and I got to see my favorite freckle of all time – the one just a few inches above her right knee on otherwise unblemished legs.
Angela was wearing an old Nitzer Ebb tee and kissed me on the cheek. I was going to ask what she was doing there but I decided not too. I thought about writing a song about her, called “Angie’s Eye.” We talked, we drank. Her eye got smaller. Someone’s hand was going somewhere. Hers or mine, it didn’t matter. It didn’t matter.