Tales of Rock – David Bowie Thinks Witches Are Stealing His Semen

In fall 1975, David Bowie went into the studio in Los Angeles and made Station To Station, one of the best albums of his career. It saw him transition from playing conventional if fantastic rock and roll to recording a series of genre-bending masterpieces that set a template for ’80s pop and whose influence is still being felt decades later. Pretty impressive, considering he was doing so much coke at the time he later couldn’t remember recording the album at all.

According to David Buckley, the author of the book “Strange Fascination: David Bowie: The Definitive Story,” Bowie’s diet at the time consisted of cocaine, peppers and milk, and he lived in “a state of psychic terror.” Interviews published in Playboy and Rolling Stone depicted Bowie surrounding himself with burning black candles and Egyptian artifacts and believing that bodies were floating past his window, witches were stealing his semen and that the Rolling Stones were sending him secret messages. He lived in fear of Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, owing to his supposed practice of witchcraft. In Station To Station‘s title track, Bowie yelped, “It’s not the side effects of the cocaine; I’m thinking that it must be love,” which was definitely the wrong diagnosis.

If Bowie wanted to clean up after this album, he made the wrong move by decamping to Berlin with Iggy Pop. Still, the trio of albums he recorded during this period—Low, Heroes and Lodger—honed his legacy. This trilogy along with Station To Station was cherry-picked to create a perfect soundtrack for Christiane F. We Children from Bahnhof Zoo, a German film released in 1981 that captured the harrowing lives of teenage junkies in West Berlin.

Check it out. I saw it at a midnight showing in LA in 1982. It’s great!

 

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Clarice – 2016 – Chapter 6 – Happy Birthday, Baby – Part Two

Another tale of one man’s journey navigating his way through the dating scene in Philadelphia.

So it feels like we’re driving forever. I feel like I’m a million miles from the city. I really love living in center city, despite its problems. Driving through the rolling countryside of Pennsylvania this time of year, sort of bums me out. I’m just going by all of these big houses all isolated out here. It reminds me of the suburbs in South Jersey. Another depressing time in my life. I don’t like being out here. But again, I’ll be good because it’s her special day.

We finally get to the park. It’s a nice place and it’s not too cold out. It’s a pretty huge park. You can walk through it, but it actually has a road through it. So you’re not walking on any dirt paths. There’s a few people around. Mostly couples, families and people jogging or walking their dogs. Walks in the park in the winter aren’t really my cup of tea. Walks in the park anytime aren’t really my cup of tea. I’d rather be in a bar in the city, having a drink and a cig.

As we walk further into the park, I can feel a mix of anxiety and depression wash over me.

I think it was because all of the trees are bare for the winter, and I’m in a strange place.

There is actually something comforting about being in a city. I have some of my happiest memories back in Philly. I also am starting to get a very real vibe that I have to find a restroom soon. Brunch is starting to work on me. Not good.

We were out there for a while and I did see a port-o-potty out there. It almost beckoned to me off in the distance. But I just didn’t want to go in there. I figured I could make it back to the main area and find a restroom there.

During our walk through the park there was some good conversation and laughs. I also kissed her a few times. That was nice. She tells me how she’s had Bells palsy before. She feels like it has affected how her face looks and moves. I didn’t even notice anything.

Find out more here: http://www.webmd.com/brain/tc/bells-palsy-topic-overview#1

But now that she’s mentioned it, I see it. Normally it clears up after a few weeks and your face goes back to normal, but it appears in her case some of the paralysis has remained. I don’t mind, because it’s hardly noticeable and she’s still attractive.

We finally get back to the beginning of the park, and I tell her I need to use the restroom. I head over to the little building, praying to God that the door isn’t locked yet. Because the sun is nearly down and it’s getting dark.

Thankfully, the door is open and I make it to the stall. It’s a huge relief when my cheeks hit the bowl, and I’m sort of glad that it’s an outdoor bathroom. I’ll leave it at that.

I return to my lady, and we walk around the main property. There is a mansion there. It really looks cool. We stroll around the property and there are some more kisses exchanged.

I have been with her for five hours now, and I’d be fine with just going home. I’m also kind of dreading waiting for the train at 69th street. She wants to take me to her house for a drink. I’m fine with that, we’ll see what happens.

Her house is quaint. She lives on the first floor, and rents out the second floor to a retired gentleman.

I make myself a vodka and ginger ale, and she’s making some sort of cosmo or something. We retire to her living room. We’re just hanging out on her couch chatting and sipping our drinks. She then gives me a tour of the house. Now, this house is pretty cozy, and I’m assuming built maybe back in the forties or fifties. But she hits the lights in her bathroom, and I am blown away. It’s been completely remodeled and redesigned. Against the back right corner is a huge glass shower, with a stone floor. The commode is across from it. In the center of the room is a huge jacuzzi type tub. Along the south wall is a huge double vanity, and get this; the floor is heated. It’s one of the greatest personal bathrooms I’ve ever seen. Had I known this before, I may have been able to hold it until I got here so I could have dropped a deuce like a king!

She said it was a present from her father. She had purchased the jacuzzi tub and then didn’t have enough money to finish her dream lavatory. She said it sat in a huge box in her bedroom for a long time, and her father kicked in a bunch of money to finish the bathroom. It’s a killer bathroom, but it’s an over improvement to the house. I can’t for the life of me understand why one older woman would want a bathroom this nice. But maybe someone out there does. I guess if it makes her happy and she spends a lot of time in the bathroom, it works. But it’s just a weird purchase. It’s obvious she doesn’t have much money.  She’s sixty-two and her daddy is still buying stuff for her house. He’s got to be well into his nineties, so maybe he doesn’t give a shit about the money at that age. I guess if I had a tub like that, I’d be in there with a bunch of booze, and get a flat screen in that bathroom.

We had another drink and hung out in her living room again. I wasn’t getting a vibe that sex was happening, and frankly I didn’t care. It shouldn’t be something I was wondering about, or deciding if I think it should happen. It should be a spontaneous celebration of how we feel about each other. And I’m just not feeling it.

She volunteers to drive me home. I am overjoyed that I don’t have to wait at 69th street station tonight. It doesn’t take as long as I thought it would, and soon I am on my street in front of my building. We kiss goodnight and I thank her for the ride, and for choosing me to spend her 62nd birthday with her.

She drives off. Tomorrow she’ll discover the black and pink scarf I hid in her dashboard. It’s wrapped in a little black bag. Just a little something extra for her birthday.

But, I don’t really want to go out with her again.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 9am EST.

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Johnny R – 2009 to Present – Dive Bar Blues

Johnny came into town recently. I hadn’t heard from him the entire day, and was concerned he would bail. I had just come off an exhausting evening with a lady, and was pretty tired. I had to work at the salon all day and then go meet with him. I wasn’t burned out because I hadn’t drank or smoked anything the night before. She simply wore me out. “Junior achiever, had the old bull by the horns.”(As Steven Tyler would say)

I kind of was hoping he’d bail, but thought it better to text him. It was the end of my shift and he told me he had just arrived at Mcglinchey’s. Being Sunday afternoon, I knew even if we hung out neither of us would last long.

I lock up the salon and headed over. When I get there some seats had opened up at the end of the bar and I beckon him down. I love this place. The staff is surly, the jukebox is good, and the drinks are cheap and you can smoke in this bar.

Perfect.

Johnny’s not happy. So what else is new? He’s always a little disgruntled about something. Currently, he’s pissed that the bartender is hanging all the way at the other end of the bar chatting with her boyfriend.

The bar has somewhat emptied out. There are just small clusters of drinkers at the bar. The jukebox is blasting country music. Which just adds to Johnny’s rage. I don’t care for country music either, but that shit was relentless. He blames the guy that he assumes is the bartender’s boyfriend. She’s not our usual girl, but I can tell she knows us. Johnny is making his faces and doing his hand gestures of disbelief about the poor service.

“Dude, It’s McGlinchey’s!” I tell him. But it does seem way off tonight. It’s not busy enough for us not to be getting the attention that Johnny thinks we so richly deserve. The country hits keep coming and it is getting on my nerves too. I should go over to the jukebox and play a block of Lamb of God, but I don’t know if we’re going to be around long enough to hear any of it.

We have a few rounds and catch up. I tell him what’s going on with work, life and this blog. I even show him in my phone his first chapter. He becomes suddenly giddy and loves that I’ve included him in my story. But, he’s still sore about the poor service and shitty music. “I have an idea. I’m going to hit the head. Be right back.” He says.

I’m still feeling a bit worn out from the previous nights nocturnal exploits. But this always happens. I’ll just go to bed early tonight and be as good as new tomorrow.

Johnny returns from the bathroom with a twinkle in his steel-blue eyes, and a spring in his step.

“Well this is a change in attitude. Did you meet a guy in there?”

“Ha ha. I just did a little bump of coke.”

“Oh nice. Maybe you’ll be in a better fucking mood now.”

“You look a little tired. Want some?”

“I’m good, Johnny, but thanks.”

I like Johnny on either adderall or coke. Stimulants help him focus and actually sober him up a bit. He’s Irish and he loves his Bud bottles. If he has a little something extra, it sustains him at the bar longer. However, things aren’t improving at our beloved McGlinchey’s tonight. I’ve had a couple of $2.60 glasses of wine with ice and he’s throwing back the beer and coke, but the vibe is off due to the music and poor service. Normally this is a bar we’re happy to camp out in for hours on end, but it’s just not happening.

I tell him we should leave and go to one of my favorite spots. He’s fed up as well and agrees. We cash out and hit the trail. The better bar is only about four blocks away. He’s complaining about the cold and doesn’t want to be out in it too long. I assure him he won’t die of frostbite. Plus his nose must already be frozen from the blow.

We get there and take a seat at the bar. Totally different vibe. Warm and happy. The bartender comes over to greet us with an open hand. Roman is one of my favorite bartenders in the city. There are better mixologists with more knowledge in the city, but Roman brings personality and creativity to his bar. He’s part of the experience and makes everyone feel welcome.

Johnny is happy when Roman hands him an ice-cold Bud bottle. It’s a nice upscale place, but there is something for everyone. Roman is letting me test out some new cocktails, and Johnny is feeling much better. After a while I no longer feel as tired as I did earlier. Just good energy flowing from all around.

Johnny’s girlfriend calls him. He thought maybe she’d be picking him up but she says that she’s not. He’s usually in two different places with Rachel. Aggravated or frustrated. They’ve been together for over eight years and that seems to be the way they love. Who am I to judge? Johnny talks about writing a blog again. I tell him, I’m not going to bring it up again. He says he has all of the information in his head. He just needs to let it out. It’s easier than ever to release your thoughts onto the page. The trick is to actually do it. Thinking a lot of great and wild thoughts is cool, but actually bringing them forth is quite another, and no easy task.  I think if Johnny would make the time, and could be on the right cocktail of drugs and alcohol, he would write some fucking great shit. But the only way to do that is to sit down and write.

Write everyday if you can.

After a while, we’re both feeling good, but Johnny needs to get home and feed his cats. He says that maybe the coke will put him in the mood to write. I don’t mind if he never writes a word. I just enjoy having him in my life as a friend. I know you were hoping we’d get into some vice this time, but again, we have behaved ourselves.

Maybe we’re both just getting older.

 

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Church – 2013 to Present -Seizure Salad

I’m sitting in my go to bar with Church. It’s our spot and it’s what we do. He’s sipping a Sailor Jerry and Coke, and I’m having my usual Chardonnay with a side of ice. He orders a salad and I go with the sliders. There is a couple a few seats down from me to my right. I know the guy, his name is Brian, but I don’t know the lady he’s with so I wave but don’t approach. He could be working.

On the left of Church, is a brunette in her thirties and an older gentleman. Looks like a lawyer. We don’t really pay any attention. We’re chatting and doing our thing.

Daphne rolls behind the bar and says hello. She tells me it’s a slow night. Not much happening. She goes back to her hostess stand and it’s just another night in paradise.

Suddenly, the woman who was sitting to Church’s left, goes off the bar stool and hits the floor. Normally, I’d call that Thursday night.  We see so many banged up people around the city losing their shit. But this woman was having a seizure. People within visual range are shocked and the bar goes quiet.

I point to the phone on the wall, because the bartender on duty didn’t see one of her patrons suddenly vanish from the bar. “Liz, call 911.”

She starts dialing. Church, with his cat-like reflexes, springs into action and goes from sitting next to me sipping a drink to all the way around the other side of her on the floor holding her head to keep her steady. I get down there and untangle her leg from the lower rail of his bar stool. I have the legs. Church is focuses on the poor woman’s head. She’s thrashing about, and Church is barking commands to those around him. He’s literally single-handedly coordinating the effort to help save this poor woman, and keeping her from injuring herself further.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but Church was formerly a Corpsmen in the United States Navy.

A Corpsman works in a wide variety of capacities and locations, including shore establishments such as naval hospitals and clinics, aboard ships, and as the primary medical caregivers for sailors while underway. Hospital corpsmen are frequently the only medical caregiver available in many fleet or Marine units on extended deployment. In addition, hospital corpsmen perform duties as assistants in the prevention and treatment of disease and injury and assist health care professionals in providing medical care to sailors and their families.

They may function as clinical or specialty technicians, medical administrative personnel and health care providers at medical treatment facilities. They also serve as battlefield corpsmen with the Marine Corps, rendering emergency medical treatment to include initial treatment in a combat environment. Qualified hospital corpsmen may be assigned the responsibility of independent duty aboard ships and submarines; Fleet Marine Service, SEAL and Seabee units, and at isolated duty stations where no medical officer is available.

Yea, pretty bad ass. That’s the guy you want next to you when somebody takes a header at your favorite bar.

She’s making what almost sounds like barking sounds, and staring wildly about. He’s got a good hold on her. He’s talking to her. But mostly he’s trying to keep her from bashing her face into the wooden wall of the bar. The bartender comes around, and some others have gathered. I grab a cloth napkin and ask if we need to put it in her mouth. I always heard that epileptics could bite or swallow their own tongues. Church says, no. He knows what he’s doing and has the situation well under control.

She seems to be calming down. I look over at the guy who was with her. He’s just standing there staring, and looking uncomfortable. The paramedics come and stabilize her. I feel so bad for her. It’s the holidays, and she’s out for a drinks and this horror befalls her. They get her onto the gurney and roll her out. The police are there and also ask some questions. Church is on point, he gives law enforcement the full report.

They also speak to the guy she came in with. He says he doesn’t know her very well. He met her over at DelFrisco’s steakhouse, and then brought her over here for a drink. That’s a big lawyer hang out. Not my scene. This guy didn’t do anything to help or comfort her when she had the seizure, and he didn’t go to the hospital with her. I don’t care if you just picked up the chick in a bar. Lady falls down, you go to the damn hospital with her. I’m thinking that weasel was married and didn’t want any problems. How would he explain to his wife that he was at the hospital with some other woman? I may be wrong, but I got the vibe something was definitely shady about that guy.

We go back to our seats at the bar and have another drink. Church is pissed because somebody was telling him to turn her head when she was foaming at the mouth and that’s not what you’re supposed to do. Me, I was just glad the lady was okay.

Daphne came over to chat and get a recap. I tell her what I know, and tease her.”You had to say it was a slow night and that nothing was happening, and look what you did, Daph…”

“I know, right? Me and my big mouth.”

Indeed…

 

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Robert & Laura- 2013 to Present – Rock Solid Vault

I was at one of the many rooftop parties of my former boss at a magazine where I formerly worked. I met Robert and Laura, and they seemed like lovely people. They had moved into his building a few months prior. So they became friends with him because they were neighbors. Robert and Laura were both from the midwest. She is a lawyer, and he worked in analytics. Just a really nice couple who got along, and were cool to hang out with.

You can tell how much Robert and Laura love each other. It’s just really nice to see that in a couple these days. Robert was a former tank commander, and did two tours in Iraq several years ago. So he is brave a and has seen some shit, and been in the shit.

Funny thing that bound us together, was that we all decided the night we met, that we all agreed about some of the same things. So I basically poached this couple from my old boss. I still have lunch with Robert occasionally, and they have me over to their house to hang and come to any parties they throw.

Best news is, Laura gave birth to a little boy last year. He just turned one year old three months ago. I was invited to the party, but I caught a little cold and didn’t want to infect anybody. They understood and I hope to see them soon.

This is simply an introduction to this lovely couple. They have some wild stories from their past, so as any tales, or new adventures pop up including Rob and Laura, they’ll make an appearance.

UPDATE: I met up with Robert recently at Mission for lunch. Mission is a new Mexican place that is on the second floor above The Oyster House on Sansom Street. It’s in the spot where Nodding Head used to be. It was great to see him, but his work is really stressing him out. He says he looks at spreadsheets all day long and works a million hours. That can’t be good with a one year old son at home. He said if things don’t improve by March he’s going to start to look for another job. I brought him up to date on all of my news and we are going to try to get together again soon.

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 9am EST.

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