I Only Stare This Way At You

Stewart Copeland's Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out played at Hollywood's Egyptian Theatre this past Thursday night as part of the Mods & Rockers Film Festival. I missed seeing it at Sundance in January, and even though it will start running on Showtime this weekend, I was really happy to see it on the big screen. The film is a must-see for fans of The Police. As Stewart explained in his introduction, it really isn't a typical documentary and you won't find "analysis of the creative process." It's his home movies, plain and simple. He tacked on an informative narration and a really cool soundtrack of Police music that he restructured.

Stewart Copeland
Stewart Copeland

Okay, most of my readers know about my love for Duran Duran. Only a couple probably know that even before I became infatuated with The Fab Five, my favorite band was The Police.* I bonded with a girl at my new school in 6th grade over the blonde trio. She would write notes to me with lyrics from their songs, having me give the title back to her. When I moved again, after 7th grade, "Every Breath You Take" was in heavy rotation. We heard it many, many times on the drive from Virginia to Texas. I remember where I was, in the upstairs corridor of my middle school, in 8th grade, when a friend broke the news of the group's break up to me. I was stunned and may have even cried a bit. I honestly don't remember, but it seems like something I would have done. It breaks my heart a little that I never got to see The Police live. In spite of begging my parents to take me, when I was in 6th grade, it never happened.

*I have a scrapbook of The Police and a folder full of articles and photos that is quite comparable to my Duran Duran collection.

More memories were sparked during the film that ran after Everyone Stares, Urgh! A Music War. I had never seen this awesome collection of live performances from 1981, which included various artists from The Police to X to Klaus Nomi. There was the "the beat" t-shirt Sting wore in their performances (oh, how I wanted that shirt!), footage of XTC performing live (alone and later with The Police!), not long before that was never to happen again, and Gary Numan pouting and posing in a motorized coffin he drove around a stage with lots of lights and gadgets. Some of the groups, like the Surf Punks, were just silly and fun, while others, like Dead Kennedys, were truly punk. The guys in OMD looked like cute little kids (and sounded amazing performing "Enola Gay"), while the lead singer of The Cramps frightened me. Exene's yellow eye shadow reminded me of time in 9th or 10th grade when I sported the same shade. Now come on, does that color look good on anyone's complexion?

Young Ian McCulloch took me back to a bizarre love triangle I was part of, but didn't fully understand until years later. I'll call the other two parties Matt and Jake, to protect the not-so-innocent. My family moved around a lot, so once again, at the beginning of 11th grade, I was in a new state and a new school. While waiting around for gym class, Jake said to his friend Matt, "hey, get that new girl to go out with me Friday night." Matt came over and talked to me. We ended up having some other classes together and struck up a friendship. After a couple of months, we realized we were spending a lot of time outside of school together and should maybe be "more than friends." Apparently, Jake was not too happy about this, as he still liked me. We were all friends and hung out together, often going to local punk shows, but Jake would do things to try to cause problems between Matt and me. This included inviting me, alone, to go to an Echo & The Bunnymen concert with him. (In retrospect, I sort of wish I'd gone, but if I had it would have crushed Matt). And then there was the friend that Jake sent to hit on me while I was working at my mall job, in hopes I'd "cheat" on Matt, which Jake could happily tell him. What completes this triangle, and what I did not realize at time, was that Matt liked Jake. Yep. In.that.way. I had no idea at the time, but I should have known.

It's pretty amazing how music can transport you back to such specific times, places, memories. When I see a lot of cool footage of live shows, like Oingo Boingo, from the 80's, I sort of wish I'd been a teenager in Los Angeles. But then again, if my parents had still been as strict as they were with me in Virginia, Texas, and Pennsylvania, I still wouldn't have been going to the Roxy.


Joanne said...

When I was about 13 I went on my first 'date.' We went to the movies and then waited for our parents to give us a ride home. It was all innocent smalltownness. Fast forward to my 10 year high school reunion. I didn't go but heard from a good friend who was there that the guy showed up with his partner. Hindsight being what it is, I look back and think yup that all makes sense now.

Kristin said...

Man, I love me some URGH!
When I went all-CD in the early '90s, I sold my vinyl copy, thinking 'Oh, it will be out on disc soon enough.' The follies of youth...

Anonymous said...

I lived "Behind The Orange Curtain" during my formative years - I saw a lot of those bands you mention - your description takes me right back there! I saw shows at Fenders Grand Ballroom in Long Beach - X, Chili Peppers, etc. Firehose, Social Distortion played free at Cal State Long Beach...those were the days! My very first concert ever, by the way, was Duran Duran, I think it was 1984. Thanks for the memories!

K. Marie said...

The love triangle: Now THAT is a story.

Actually, swap out the genders and it's a play, isn't it? Still, a good story.

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