September 6, 2007

Lou Reed Hates Me

The theme for my writing group this month is "Enemies." This memory came to mind. I am aware it shows me as a lousy prat but I hope it's still a good story...

I was 15. My dad had gotten our family tickets to see Laurie Anderson perform "Songs and Stories from Moby Dick." It was the hot show that summer and we arrived early to ensure we didn't miss a second of it. I didn't know much about Laurie other than she was a true original. Anything could happen tonight. We eagerly took our seats.

While looking through the program, I was distracted by a ruckus behind me. A woman was jabbering, "do you think that's really him? I can't believe it! I wish I could get his autograph! I just can't believe it's him - he's my idol!" My ears snapped to attention. A celebrity sighting? Who could it be?
The woman's friend piped in, "well they are married. Why wouldn't Lou be here? You should go get his autograph!"
"Do you think I should? Can you imagine? He's my hero! Oh no, I couldn't!"
"Just go ask him."
"I couldn't do it! It's Lou Reed for heavens' sake!"

At this point I was hopelessly invested in the conversation. I'd never heard of Lou Reed before but I couldn't believe this woman would let shyness come between her and a passionate desire for a simple autograph. I turned around and faced the two women. "I'll get it for you. Where is he sitting?"
The women looked at me in surprise. "Really? You'll go get his autograph for me? But..."
"I don't even know who he is, so it's no big deal. Where is he?" I asked. She pointed across the auditorium.
"There he is, at the end of the isle, wearing all black, do you see him?"
I squinted down the isle and found a tiny little man sitting quietly with his hands folded in his lap. "Give me your program," I said.

I marched around the outside of the aisles until I came up to Lou. His head was still down, focusing on his program notes. Luckily for me he was in an outside seat. I crouched by his side.
"Excuse me," I asked, "may I have your autograph?" No response.
"Excuse me," I said a little bit louder, "I don't know who you are but the woman behind me really wanted your autograph, would you mind signing this program for her?"
He looked up. Disgust was oozing from his dark eyes. "I'm just trying to watch the show," he said with exasperation and turned away. The lights began to dim and the audience quieted for the show to start.
"Just sign it," I snapped impatiently and shoved my program under his nose.
We glared at each other for a few seconds but Lou finally broke and grabbed the program. He yanked a pen from his pocket then angrily scribbled something on the cover. He thrust the program back without even looking at me.
"Thank you," I said and marched away with my prize.

The women were in a fit when I returned. "What did he say? Did you get it? What was he like?"
"He was great," I replied and handed the woman her autographed program. "Really great."
I feared for when the lights came back up and the woman could see Lou's writing. I was pretty sure it would just be a angry scrawl of expletives. But I had done my part. I settled back and for the next two hours was subjected to Lou's wife howling and shrieking along to a didgeridoo while being plastered with strobe lights. No wonder Lou was in such a rotten mood.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Shame on your parents for taking a young sweet 15 year old girl to such a show. What kind of people are they and what were they thinking???

Love...Dad

Sue said...

You are awesome. Someday I'm going to run into you in a restaurant or something, and I'm totally going to make give me your autograph. "JUST SIGN IT!"

Melissa said...

You've got guts! I probably would have cowed under his angry gaze... yeah. I'm a coward like that...

Amy said...

Ummm....who's Lou Reed?

Mary said...

That's hilarious! Didn't you even peek at what he wrote? Stinking grumpy Lou!

Sarah said...

Mary, the lights were pretty much out by the time he handed the program to me so I couldn't make sure he hadn't written something to make the woman cry...

Amy, Lou Reed was the Lead Singer for The Velvet Underground and pretty much began the whole "Alternative" movement with his different sounds. He was a major figure in music in the 60's and 70's and continues to be a influential person in the industry. He's big stuff. Who knew?

Susan M said...

I love Laurie Anderson, I can't believe your parents took you to see her. That is SO cool.

I had a chance to meet Lou Reed once (he walked by me on the sidewalk) but I was waiting for Bono. I had my priorities straight when I was 16.

Susan M said...

Oh, and I had no idea Lou Reed was married to Laurie Anderson. That makes him cooler in my book.

Abby said...

How did I miss all these entries? Vacation has its consequences. I am rolling over the candy-junkie Penny post. Dying.

Marie said...

What GUTS! Holy cow. I'm a coward about autographs even from nice people, but a 15-year-old forcing an autograph out of Lou Reed? Mr. Morose Himself? Impressive. I bow before thee and thy fully-formed spine. That's a terrific story.

I love Laurie Anderson (sorry to hear the show was shrieky), though I'm most familiar with Big Science and The Ugly One with the Jewels. I have tried very hard to like Lou's music. I like a few Velvet Underground songs, but the bottom line is -- I think a singer should sing. Call me nuts. The only person I make an exception for is Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady. :)

Amy said...

Maybe Lou Reed hates you, but I bet more people read your blog than his.

Anonymous said...

These things happen, but at least you got your autograph... Last year, I was visiting Buddy Guy's Blues Bar in Chicago and I was told he was standing at the bar... I discretely walked to him and waited for him to be alone and explained I was a fan from Europe, having all his records and that it was an honor for me to meet him in person and asked his autograph... He looked at me, sent me to the gift shop and told me to go and buy one because he is not giving any... A few minutes later he was on the stage, telling us he loves us all... definitely with a limit...

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