Thursday, May 29, 2008

Oh L'Amour

At IML, I spotted Andy Bell at the Hyatt bar in Chicago. He's the lead singer for Erasure, and all I could do when I saw him was gasp, "I love Erasure!"

Andy Bell is second from left

What bothered me was that I didn't tell Andy Bell what an impact Erasure has had on my life. Essentially, I came out with his music. A show he did at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles back in 1993 was the first time I saw real live gay people (they existed!?) gathered together.

I wanted to tell him that I can't measure just how much he may have saved my life. Feeling very alone, and weighing teen suicide, I was kept afloat partly by songs of his like "Breathe of Life" and "Hideaway":

The boy he was rejected
By the people that he cared for
It's not what they expected But he could not keep it secret anymore
Far from home now
There's a new world You can make it on your own
Are you still proud of your little boy?

Don't be afraid.
You don't have to hide away

To this day, I sleep with Erasure on my sleeptime playlist, and his "Blue Savannah" is the one song I've insisted be played at my funeral.

Blue Savannah

So basically, when I told Andy Bell "I love Erasure!" it didn't properly convey how he impacted my life, and probably many others. So I vowed if I saw him again over the weekend, I'd tell him. And I did, I saw him again, and I told him all those things.

In retrospect, I kinda wish I didn't.

It was awkward (he just kind of nodded) for both of us, and besides I totally interrupted him while he was speaking with a friend.

I do feel it's important to let people know how they've made a difference, but how do you let them know? Should I have just bought him a drink? Written him a letter?

There's a difference between expressing gratitude and gushing. It's a difference I'd like to learn.


Matt said...

Every time I manage to meet someone I REALLY admire I make a point of simply thanking them for their work and that's it. Because you know how people hang around famous people yearning to latch onto their energy - I just think that's classless and it debases everyone.

I did it with Elaine Stritch, Bret Easton Ellis and Patti Smith. Well, I gave Patti Smith a bracelet and then she drew a picture of it for me but still, ultimately, I decided that that was the way to handle people like that.

You just thank them for their work and that's it.

Because I mean, that's the point really, isn't it? You keep your sense of self and it works out. Elaine Stritch didn't know what to do when I said, "Thank you so much for your work...your raw honesty really inspires me". She just smacked me in the shoulder and said, "Well, DON"T YOU LOOK NICE!"

It didn't reallly matter I don't think.

Lee said...

If I met Andy Bell I think I first of all would have done everything you did and to top you, I would have most likely burst in to tears.

I am THAT gay.

Jesse - remember when they came to NY last for Nightbird??? I remember calling you right before I went in. Good times.

Anonymous said...

Funny! For me it was the song 'Always'!


Larry (MChips) said...

That's a difference we'd all like to learn sometimes... I think that was so well said, and I can relate, all too well, especially with my gushing sometimes on myspace... there are times I wish I could take things back, and sometimes I do by deleting my comments... lol

Many a day I have felt like a complete idiot...

In the reverse, when I'm not gushing and trying to play it cool, I then wonder if they think I really don't care that much, because it seems some people actually like and appreciate the gushing...

Oh well, seems no way to win and I think it can be a double-edged sword sometimes... ;D

Larry :)

JPFreeman said...

Jesse, I have always admired and respected your energy, your love of life, your passion, your pride, your balance, your creative talent, your bravery and your conviction. My life is enriched because you are in it. Thank you.

And though I try to never gush over any of the high(er) profile people that my career has afforded me the opportunity of meeting, regardless of however impressed by that individual I am, I fucking gushed all over the fuck of Bret Easton Ellis. Holy Crap! I totally humiliated myself before him. I threw myself on his table, looked him directly in the eyes, batted my lashes, cooed and asked him for a personal inscription on the cover of his most recent book that credited me for one of his character's creation, and I regret nothing.

BTW, he totally did it. He wanted me so bad.

Mark in DE said...

I agree with you that its important to tell people how they've impacted your life, but I too, have struggled with the best (least inappropriate) way to do this. If you learn it, let me know!

Mark :-)

Anonymous said...

Maybe Bam would contact his mgr, and arrange for him to be suprise guest to a dinner at a restaurant, for your birthday...( with just the three of you) That works!


Anonymous said...

I wouldn't worry about it. I've met Andy a few times and he is always a lovely, genuine, caring person. This happens to him all the time and it doesn't phaze him. There's nothing wrong with telling someone you care about them (although some times and places are better than others) and I'm sure he was touched by your honesty. Don't you feel better for having had the chance to tell him how you feel, as opposed to walking on by and never getting that opportunity again?