(Lou Reed, I’m) Devoted to You…

27 Jun

“So Anne, what’d you do today? Talk to anyone interesting?”
“Oh, not really, just LOU FLIPPING REED.”
“That’s cool, never knew he had a middle name.” ;)

So, yes. Today Lou Reed was at The Strand bookstore in New York City and so was I (along with my dad). We breathed the same air. Me made eye contact. We TALKED. Let me explain…

In 2003 Reed came out with an album called “The Raven”, where he adapted parts of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven” and wrote songs base on the work and its author. It received mixed reviews (along with the adaptations, he rerecorded “The Bed” and “Perfect Day”- DRASTICALLY changing their vocals), but he loved it enough to take the album’s lyrics, organize them into a book, and add pictures drawn by The New Yorker cartoonist Mattotti.

During the event this evening, Reed read sections of the book with the pictures projected on to a large screen next to him. I can’t even describe how amazing it was to hear his voice for real, in the flesh. He could have been reading the dictionary and I would have been just as entranced.

My favorite album of his is “1969: Velvet Underground Live with Lou Reed” where the gang is reunited and sings some of the old favorites. Man, that group is perfect live, absolutely perfect. I own it on vinyl, and it’s actually one of the only ones that I really had to look for (and pay more than $5!). Since it’s such a special album to me I wanted a first pressing, mint condition baby. Auctions on the internet wanted too much money, and I had almost given up hope when Record Store Day (this past April 16) rolled around and my dad and I ended up in a record store that had exactly what I had been dreaming about.

(This is the album with  post-signing!)

Back to today, Reed was nice enough to sign everyone’s books after the talk. I had brought my album with me in hopes that he may scribble on it, and boy did he. When I got to the front of the line I had my million watt smile on and thanked him for coming and personally signing all the books. Oh, and if it wasn’t too much trouble, would he mind signing a record of his I had with me. His words exactly: “Sure, why not.” Never has a more noncommittal response given me so much joy. When I showed it to him, he was impressed that I knew what vinyl was- and even that I listened to the Velvet Underground. I don’t know if he was just being polite, but DUH! He’s the man! Of course people still listen to his jams! :P I told him that I had all of his records, that he’s the greatest, and we made lingering eye contact. It was beautiful.

I’ve heard that he can be kind of a tool, but after my experience with him tonight I have to say he really didn’t live up to that reputation. He was a cool dude in a leather jacket who, though pensive and a bit sullen, was just doin’ his thang. And tonight that thang included me. :)

Currently listening to: Waiting for My Man by The Velvet Underground, the live version of course ;)

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