some reviews – #4, absolute sandman

Dear Robert Smith,

I don’t normally write to celebrities; I’m not big with the fangirl, unless the object of fandom is a friend or friend-of-friend who writes excellent SF or fantasy and has a LiveJournal. It’s nothing personal – quite the opposite: I soured on corporate rock after waking up from a bad infatuation with an Irish rock quartet I won’t name here, out of pocket for five albums I haven’t listened to voluntarily in fifteen years and with a nasty taste in my mouth. And that was years before I covered the Napster trial and got to know the record labels and their business practices better than anyone ever should. These days I listen to lots of mashups and nerdcore. I hope you understand.

My point is, I got the shiny new Sandman collection from Jeremy for my birthday, and it’s hard to write an interesting review of something that everyone else already read ages ago, and loved, and told me that I would love. I mean, what: Newsflash! Sandman genuinely terrific! Major influence on all the other graphic novels I love! Stop the frickin’ presses. No.

So I got thinking instead about how Morpheus reminds me of you, dancin’ around in those early Cure videos, Lovecats and Why Can’t I Be You (the sideways lips! So funny and wicked) and my favourite, Just Like Heaven. You with your spiky black hair and eyeliner and white high tops. How iconic you were! And how well those old songs have aged, how well they evoke those confused and crazy and complicated years. And I remembered the story about you, and realized that would make a way better blog post than Yet Another Sandman Endorsement, Yawn.

I bet you don’t even remember that particular concert in Sydney, Australia, sometime in the late eighties or early nineties, I don’t even remember exactly when. You came out of the stage door and signed programs for everyone, and at the end there were three young Australian men left, and you. You chatted for a while – it must have been close to midnight – and then you said “Wanna go for a drink?” Now THEY were diehard fans. They’d loved you and dressed like you since they were twelve. You blew them away.

That would have been kind enough – beers and a couple of hours chewing the fat with these guys. They were nobody really, just fans; no one would have blamed you if you’d shrugged them off. But when the bar on Oxford Street closed, you said “Hey, I have keys to a studio near here – wanna come listen to me lay down some tracks?” Could they have jumped at the offer any more eagerly? When the sun rose they were still there listening to you noodling around on your guitar.

Two of those guys were friends of mine, and the third is my big brother Al. He’s a fantastic brother and I love him to the moon and back, and he’s never in his life had one quarter of the luck he deserved. I wish I could say that night changed his luck for ever. It didn’t. But it was an incontrovertible good thing, a shining adventure, something he can still look back on and grin. Thank you for that. It was extraordinarily decent of you.

I was going to say that under the circumstances I could make an exception for you, and sign myself your undying fangirl in spite of the whole unfortunate corporate rock thing. And then I realized I don’t even have to do that. I already outlined the personal acquaintance exemption above, and so I can go ahead and be the undying fangirl of your great songs and human kindness, because you are, after all, a friend of my brother’s.

Lots of love,

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