11 January 2007

In My Life

In addition to the usual foofaraw about the promise and portent of a "new year," 2007 has a special significance for me: come this (northern) autumn, I'll be 60 years old.

I've never met anyone who's reached a milestone like that (or, for that matter, a mere 40 or 50), who didn't profess to be surprised, even amazed, that such a thing could happen to them. A bit ironic, of course, that we can observe the aging process happening to every single person we know and yet somehow fail to suspect that we ourselves are subject to it.

Although I've always tended to look (and, almost anyone would tell you, act) a bit younger than my actual age, I've felt old ever since I turned 20. Having promised everyone, especially myself, that I would die a fast, shocking and spectacular death before I was old enough to drink legally, I realized on the day that I was no longer a teenager that life just might turn out to be a longer and harder slog than I had dared imagine.

And so it was, though things have gotten progressively easier and more enjoyable with the passage of time, to the point where I can honestly say that my life has never been so good as it is today. Whether that's a comment on how great I'm doing now, or how badly I was doing a decade or three ago is a matter that I could mull over for days if not years, but I probably won't bother doing so.

When I was about to turn 50, I toyed with the idea of staging a big party, inviting everyone, friends and enemies alike, that I'd ever been closely involved with. Having only recently departed from my role as head of Lookout Records, I was well positioned to call on some outstanding bands to provide the entertainment, and had enough money to hire a decent-sized hall for the shebang to take place in. One friend even offered to help organise things, but ultimately I decided it would be just too much work and stress (I'd organised and promoted shows before, and never particularly enjoyed any of them), and ended up spending my 50th mostly on my own.

Perhaps my reticence was based on the experience of my 40th, when I actually did have a real shindig planned at my then spiritual home, Gilman Street. My own band, the Lookouts, were set to play, along with MDC, Isocracy, I think Operation Ivy, and one or two others, but Tim Yohannan, dictator of both MRR and Gilman Street, nixed the plan at the last minute because he had a chance to book a "really important" band from DC called Scream. I was no more a fan of emo then than I am now, so suffice it to say that said "importance" was lost on me. I think a few friends and I spent the night wandering through the streets of Berkeley, Albany and El Cerrito drinking forties instead.

So, here I am again, with about ten months remaining before the actual event, faced with the same decision: do I put myself through all the work and possible disappointment trying to put on a big rock and roll party for everyone I ever knew? It kind of seems like now or never, since by the time 70 rolls around, I question whether I'll want anything more than a warm cup of cocoa and an early night. Naw, actually, I wouldn't be surprised if I still want to rock and roll even at 70, but I question how many of the bands I know would still be up to it.

Compounding my dilemma is the question of where this party might take place, and who/how many would be invited. I could make a good case for any of the three cities that have been most important to me, namely Berkeley, London, or New York. My first inclination would be to go with New York, but whichever I choose, somehow I'd have to figure a way of getting bands and people from everywhere else to the chosen venue. And while I'm willing to kick down a fair bit of money to make this thing happen, I think I'll draw the line at chartering private jets and the like.

Also, given some of the bands that I'd like to have play, it's possible that there might be a considerable degree of interest from the general public, i.e., people who I don't know and who don't know me, but would be happy to crash the show. Would I need to have bouncers and ironclad guest lists and all that crap that normally makes me uncomfortable even when I'm attending someone else's party?

Anyway, it'll probably never happen, at least not unless someone decides he or she would like to organise it for me, and being that my mother just doesn't know the same bands I do, chances are slim. But you never know, so just in case you were debating whether to be mean or nice to me as part of your New Year's resolutions, you might want to opt for the latter if you're hoping to get an invite.

P.S. And before you all decide to post a comment stating the blindingly obvious, yes, I am aware that I am getting really old. Thanks for noticing.


Dave said...

Uh Larry, Scream wasn't an emo band. Rather, they were a typical DC hardcore outfit, except they could actually play and their singer could actually sing. They strayed more into reggae/ska territory later on, but I really wouldn't call them emo. Unless I've missed an especially low point in their later years.

erika said...

What Dave said. Also, we'll need a chartered jet if it's anywhere but Berkeley (or the east bay).

Larry Livermore said...

In 1986-87 anything from DC was emo as far as we were concerned, "emo" being short for "I don't wanna hear it."

Joseph said...

60 is the new 18. Thanks to the miracle of modern medicine, you are nearing your sexual peak.

I've never met you, but I vote for Berkeley - assuming I'd have any chance of securing an invite.

Christian said...

Great post. I just HAVE to tell you how much I loved this sentence: "Having promised everyone, especially myself, that I would die a fast, shocking and spectacular death before I was old enough to drink legally, I realized on the day that I was no longer a teenager that life just might turn out to be a longer and harder slog than I had dared imagine". From this moment on, I will be talking about dying a "spectacular death" myself. Haha.

Deb's Lunch said...

hey Larry - Dave's big sister (that would be me) is a terrific party organizer, tho she doesn't know the same bands as you (because instead of living in New York or SF or London, she's been in Pittsburgh, Chicago & Madison WI), but at least she's familiar with them. She/me had a big 50th b-day bash in '05 with music by a locally loved band, Honor Among Thieves, and the card drawn by PS Mueller Anyways, I might work cheap for an invite ...

Larry Livermore said...

In the unlikely event that this party actually comes off, you (Deb) probably wouldn't have to work hard at all for an invite. In fact, you could probably come as your brother's +1 (or +3 or whatever). Although I've never met you, you instantly assumed legendary status in my mind many years ago when David told me how you planted that cookie-cutter in his forehead and left a permanent scar. I have a similarly feisty sister, who, when I was 12 and she was 10, decided to cure me of my cheating-at-croquet habit by taking a mallet to the top of my skull and attempting to pound me into the ground. No permanent scar, apart from to my ego, but it raised a very large bump, and, all involved will be pleased to know, I never cheated at croquet again.