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Entry date: 2-15-2024 – What’s a Title, Anyway? – Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

 

What a wild ride Valentine’s was in the least wild way. The day started off with a snorting wife, which was kinda cute because she snores in a somewhat adorable way. I had to go in early for a meeting that ended up being really good.

 

The kids were super wound up due to the holiday, so getting work done was a bit of a battle, but we succeeded for the most part. The Cocaine Baby was out of control, though, and that was kind of lame. Not kind of, actually, it was completely lame. He’s gearing up for something big, I know it.

 

At least, though, the school counselor recognizes it, too. It’s really nice to feel supported in that way. He didn’t have the best day, but that’s okay. He got into a fight and that’s a no-no. He did end up getting a few treats, so he was happy in the end.

 

The rest of the kids seemed to have a great day. I’m glad they did. I got a few nice Valentine’s treats, too, from them, so that’s always very nice. They are a pretty nice group of kids.

 

After school was out, I did a few interviews with my principal. It’s been a long time since I was on the hiring side of the table, so it was kind of a treat. In addition to journalistic stuff, I have interviewed a LOT of people in my professional career. I enjoy the process. Sadly, it doesn’t work the same in schools.

 

The teacher shortage is real. My principal asked me what I thought about the two candidates we spoke to, and I said I would probably like to see about five or six more and she kind of chuckled at me. There won’t be five or six more available to talk to, apparently, and she’s going to extend an offer to one of the candidates.

 

Sadly, though, she’s probably not going to accept as she told us she had interviewed with another school already and seemed to like it a lot. I forgot how much interviewees will tell you with their body language.

 

After the interviews were over, I headed over to have a really wonderful visit with my Granny. She likes me to fill her in on what everyone is up to, and we had a great chat about a lot of different things. One of our topics touched on how there are many similarities between my grandfather, Tom, and my father-in-law, Doug. We both got a tiny bit emotional during this conversation and it was really nice to hear her talk about my grandfather in a very loving way.

 

Having Doug in my life has reminded me so much of what I have dearly missed over the past 17 years since Grandpa died. They would have liked each other a lot, I think. I wish they would have gotten to meet.

 

*****

 

In 1984 or so, I started listening to the Cure. I picked up a copy of their Japanese Whispers compilation and loved the songs a lot. I was going to Tommy’s frequently, which was a teen club that happened on Friday and Saturday nights at 9th Avenue and Camelback, and they played a lot of Cure stuff.

 

Shortly after, though, my buddy Bill turned me on the Boys Don’t Cry compilation which had most of the songs from the Cure’s Three Imaginary Boys record on it with a few others. I think maybe it was something the record label did for the American audience, but don’t quote me on that.

 

Bill certainly did me a favor. As much as I loved my Japanese Whispers record (which I later sold for Rocky Point money), I really loved the songs on Boys Don’t Cry. In fact, it’s probably the Cure record I have listened to the most over the years.

 

To me, then and now, this was the Cure I needed. I love much of their other music a lot. Last year, Teresa and I went to see them in Glendale, and it was amazing. They totally blew me away and both of us were completely stoked when the show was over.

 

However, I love Boys Don’t Cry. It’s 44 years old this year, too, and has aged incredibly well. From the get-go, Robert Smith and the band are driving hard with “Jumping Someone Else’s Train.” As a teenager, I identified with this song a lot and it actually helped me stay somewhat more real than I might have been if I hadn’t heard it.

 

“If you pick up on it quick, you can say you were there,” is such a great line. It basically says, “Don’t be a poseur.” In those days, I so wanted to be able to say I was at all the cool shows I had missed out on from 1981 to 1985. I wanted to have been a part of things that maybe I could have been a part of if I had known the right people or had the freedom to roam more than I did.

 

Either way, I love “Jumping Someone Else’s Train.”  It’s followed by the title track, which is another stunner. “Boys Don’t Cry” is just a great song. Sure, the guitar line is a bit on the wimpy side, but the words are great. I love singing along with this record.

 

There was a time when Bill and I, as well as my buddy, Alex, and I had separate discussions about just covering this record sometime. I was super jazzed when Bobby and Michael agreed to cover the next song, “Plastic Passion” in The Father Figures. I think we did the song some justice, too.

 

“Plastic Passion” is my favorite song on the by far and has been ever since Bill played it for me almost 40 years ago. Something about it just speaks to me. When I interviewed Lol Tolhurst, who played drums on those tracks, years ago about this dreadful book he had written, I did have to fan out a little and share that I loved that song. He was perfectly lovely about it.

 

The hits just keep coming, though, and “10:15 Saturday Night” gives way into “Accuracy” and then, “Object.” Those of you who have been reading these love letters might be getting sick of my piling on the praise, but I ask you…is there a bad song on this record? There really isn’t. I love every second of it and I didn’t even really mention “Subway Song.” Another killer riff and dark lyrics.

 

I did notice that they don’t have the studio version of “Killing An Arab” on Spotify. I have to imagine that Robert Smith might regret these lyrics at this point, but it’s still a great song and it flows so well into “Fire In Cairo.” Both of them evoke distinct imagery.

 

“Another Day” drips with the flange pedal and foreshadows the Cure sound to come quite a bit. It’s a little more down tempo than the rest of the record, but it fits and gives you a little respite before “Grinding Halt” and “World War” amp up the post-punk/post-rock ruckus. As Smith bellows, “World War/No one would believe me,” you can hear the disdain in his voice quite clearly.

 

The last track, “Three Imaginary Boys” has always got me right in the feelers a little bit. Again, it was kind of just tapping into what I was feeling a lot in those mid-80s days. For years, I felt like I was kind of an “imaginary boy.” I suppose most of us do when we are growing up and don’t know who we are just yet.

 

I’m sure I will listen to this record at least five more times this year, if not more. I encourage you to listen at least once, even if there are Cure records you like more.

 

*****

 

See you tomorrow.



One of my students gave me this Batman for Valentine's Day. It's awesome.

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Fantastic post. As a former teacher I feel bad about the shortage. I also know I don't want to go back to doing that. Thank you to all the lame parents out there for creating that negativity.


"Boys Don't Cry" is a great compilation and I believe you're correct that it was put together specifically as a US release. Funny, a blog post I have ready to publish has that song on it. Love the FF cover of "Plastic Passion" and if I recall The Cure played "Three Imaginary Boys" at the Glendale concert. Maybe it was the Atlanta one I saw a month later but I'm leaning towards the Glendale show.

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They did play “Three Imaginary Boys” in Glendale. That show was sofa king good.

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