Hey Dad it’s me, have you got minute?
I’m not a kid anymore but still I find myself addressing my elders with a title and their surname but after reading and thoroughly enjoying Unrequited Infatuations I feel like the author and I are firm friends, so Little Stevie it is.
I was fifty a couple of weeks ago – I know you always said you didn’t want old kids but it has happened. Like you though when asked how old I am ’27’ just trips off my tongue with. For my birthday Mum, sis and all the kids, asked what I wanted and each of them was offered the same one word answer ‘Books!’ I am so easy to but for it’ll always be books and now with Amazon Prime (It’s an annual subscription where you pay no postage and they guarantee you the purchase the following day, sometimes by the same evening you order. Oh, it’s rarely either.) Anyway one positive use of Prime is the shopping basket, it’s loaded with things you want to buy but have yet to pay for. Among these items with some searching a virtual pile of books can be found and it’s here Mum and sis head. And boy was I spoiled.
I received a dozen new books, including a bunch from Keith one, The Ipcress File by Len Deighton, blew my mind with his brilliantly witty description of life as a spy. Soared into my top ten books ever with ease.
Higher on that list was Unrequited Infatuations by Stevie Van Zandt the lead guitarist from Springsteens E Street Band, star of The Sopranos and spender of money. His story is as stunning as it is surprising, he was integral to the ending of Apartheid in South Africa and had Netflix’s first home-made television show; Lilyhammer. (I know, I know, you of all people do not need clues as to the identity of Little Stevie but other people may actually be reading this.) I laughed, learned and ‘listened’ I am so keen on alliteration I couldn’t bring myself to type read but it’s pretty much the same right?
The reason I find myself with the need to write to you Dad is you were firmly in my thoughts as I both perused Steve’s text and cleaned up my list. List? As I read I took pictures of exerts, yep, I am coming around to the modern tech ways of this world you left me in, so as I could share them in an attempt to help my new pal sell more copies of his book, I know I learn from every book and this is no exception and it was important for me to get the quote correct when I wrote this to you.
When talking about the bands drug habit Van Zandt wrote;
‘We all briefly became drug addicts…Except Bruce. He was the only guy I knew who never did drugs. He had his own vice which was mentally beating the sh$t out of himself.’
His chat with Muhammad Ali and Ted, the guy who ran Netflix, are both fab and too long to jot down here but luckily I took pictures.
I am five hundred and twelve words into this piece and yet to reach the point, although Stevie is also guilty of digressing…I took great glee in sending a pic to Keith. So often did Stevie wander from the point that he contemplated calling his book Unrequited Digressions. Now, hang on just a second, I need to write that down….
I can not speak highly enough about this book I think it’s one everyone would enjoy regardless of their gig or their knowledge of the writer, for me it has everything. It’s also got me back behind the laptop. Behind? That’s the right phrase but it makes no sense, like getting ‘on’ the train if you take it literally it just can’t be correct.
THE POINT PLEASE! You must be asking.
For my entire life pretty much all my reading and listening tips came from you so when you disappeared I was sad, of course, but I feared a few things. Selfishly. One, could I be a comic without you, you made me the comedian I am, taught me all the tricks and ensured I had the tools needed to be a success. So I guess I have answered question one. Two, what the hell was I going to read and listen to next.
Don’t panic Dad, I have found a bunch of stuff over the years, picking other peoples brains and making lists when I read; of books mentioned and albums played but as I cleared up these notes and images from reading Unrequited Infatuations I now have nine new books in my Prime basket, have downloaded countless albums from the likes of Darleen Love, Joan Jett, Tom Petty, Hendrix I really can’t list them all plus there are old magazine editions to find Spin, NME specifically. Radio station apps to subscribe to, a Springsteen album I DIDN’T have (see what happens when you’re not here!) and almost a dozen television shows and movies. 20 Feet From Stardom, The Irishman, Lilyhammer and anything by Chris Columbus.
The point? My point? Is there any point?
I miss you Dad, a lot, but fear not thanks to Little Stevie I am doing OK.
Talk soon, I love you.