The Outline of my Life
22 years old.
The OP-P club opens, the Oui-Oui Twins disband. Our first night is a big financial success, but the wild partying of the Oui Oui Twins and the criticism of their performance makes the rest of the band decide to hook up with local legend Chuck Declue instead of the girls. I'm furious with Rommie for almost getting me in trouble with her wild ways anyway, so I reluctantly give up my dream of being a rock Svengali for the more straight forward punk of our new band, the Obvious.
Metro the Tabloid started to take up a lot of my time, and thanks to my unemployment money, I was able to learn the basics of layout and production by helping to put out a free magazine that came out roughly once a month. There was nothing quite like Metro, and it was popular around the West End and Clayton. The publisher, Richard Wachter, became one of my best friends, and published my first articles as a writer and taught me how to lay out a page.
Mort and company decided they don't like me being in charge of the OP-P club, so they left, taking the name with them. I carried on as the Change Club for a few more months.
Tracy White, the daughter of some important lawyer for the City of Clayton, goes out with me for a while. Eventually her father threatens legal action because of her age, which was 16, and I become aware of the fact that I'm suddenly old enough to get in trouble for fooling around with teenaged girls. When finally I'm just starting to get girls to notice me, I'm too old.
Yet, it was all so ridiculous back then, more laughable than any other crime. It was never enforced, and everyone did it. The girls - who could imagine stopping them from going out with older boys?
Don Green, Brian Stoller, Jim Saltsider and Paul Beasley all moved in with me above the club for a while, and it's like there's this guitar army up there, with all these local punk rock guitarists crashing in one sloppy pad. We published complaints about how poor we were in Jet Lag magazine, this local fanzine for the punk scene, and a couple of Nerinx girls brought us two bags full of groceries, which was eaten immediately, even the Dog Biscuits they put in there as a joke. I remember Don Green, the only guy with a job, would give me a dollar every morning so I could go down to Triple-A Donuts on the corner so I wouldn't starve.
During this time I met so many people that I couldn't even begin to list them all, but some of the more important friends were Dan Wool, the guitarist for one of the great punk bands around town, The Strikers, and Jeff Roth, the drummer for my favorite ska/funk/reggae band, Riot Act.
I had to close the club after Duke, my dad's friend who was watching the place for him, evicted me. After all, I never even made enough money to live on, much less pay any rent.
With nowhere else to go, after 7 long years, I ask my Mom to take me back in, since my little sister has just moved out. I've decided I've had just about as much of the bohemian life as I can stand. I get a job at the Empire Cafe, my very last restaurant job.
Things go pretty well with the Obvious, and I quit my job at the Empire Cafe to work full-time at the main competitor to the Metro, the more financially successful Riverfront Times. My job there, ironically, was designing the lousy little ads that the clients too small to have advertising agencies (practically all of their clients) had us do for them, according to their unsophisticated standards of taste. But I learned more about the production of print media than a lot of people who went to school to learn this same trade. I was supposed to be able to slap together an ad every 15 minutes! What a joke!
That summer I shot a little movie to go with our most popular song, "Surf's Up Gang!" a parody of surf-punk music set on the dirty old Mississippi riverfront instead of some pristine beach. It was aired on a special about local filmmakers on the local PBS channel in the fall. This was probably the height of my fame as a local celebrity. We put out a cassette tape with some of our best songs, including "Overgrown & Undersexed" "Dot Pop" "Lights, Camera, Action!" "I Lost My Club (Down on the Stroll)" "Back to Beat" "Venturesque" and more. I think we sold maybe a dozen or so tapes before we broke up.
This was the winter of the big snow.
I lost my club down on the Stroll
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