Tuesday, October 25, 2016

ABCs of My Vinyl Collection (Letter C, Part 32)

And now the musical skeletons really start to come out of the closet. It ain't all C86 and indie pop on the shelves, folks. I have a plethora of commercial-pop records from the early '80s, many which I have already skipped out of sheer embarrassment, but I have decided to include Culture Club because the band has a special place in the heart of someone else in the LTL abode.

There are four singles from Culture Club in my music room, all from either 1982 or 1983, but there are many more Culture Club artifacts around the house, from music to books to aged and worn magazine articles, that belong to Mrs. LTL. She had tried to see Culture Club many times through the years and to meet Boy George at personal appearances and book signings, but she was denied by cancellations of every ilk, from illness to visa issues, each and every time.

In recent years, Culture Club reunited, and I assured her she would see the idols from her youth. Near the end of 2014, the band was scheduled to tour America, but the closest stop from Seattle was going to be Oakland. We threw caution to the wind and bought five airline tickets and booked a couple of rooms for a long weekend in San Francisco. This included a ticket for my mother back in Illinois so she could watch our children during the show. It also meant pulling the kids out of school (good parents, huh?) and many other sacrifices. The day before we were scheduled to fly out the tour was cancelled. Boy George had serious throat issues requiring surgery. We took the trip anyway, but the air of disappointment hung there for Mrs. LTL, particularly on the night of the cancelled show.

In the summer of 2015, Culture Club returned to the Bay Area to play the Greek in Berkeley. Another big trip was out of the question, but the day before the show Mrs. LTL decided to go solo. She cashed in some air miles and bought a ticket on the secondary market. She stayed at a nearby hotel and flew home the next morning with a glow and no regrets.

Of course, after all that, Culture Club returned to America this past summer, and they played at a venue so near our house we could ride bikes there. Although I don't consider myself much of a fan. I figured I owed my wife for the dozens of shows I had dragged her to during our decades together. Everything fell into place. The kids were covered because it happened to coincide with my mother's annual August visit to boot. Mostly, I see sad-sack bands that play sad-sack music to sad-sack kids. My two-sentence review: Even though Culture Club's best days were in the rear-view mirror, I was taken by how much fun everyone was having... on stage and in the crowd. I had forgotten it could be that way.

"I'll Tumble 4 Ya" (Special Extended Version Remix)


charity chic said...

Glad Mrs LTL finally got to see them
Whilst never a firm favourite they churned out some great pop music
Boy George's autobiography is a great read also

The Swede said...

What a rollercoaster ride of cross country flights, cancellations and disappointments. I was out of my chair and applauding Mrs LTL's last minute decision to travel alone to Berkeley. The most recent show just down the road must've been a treat after all the previous expense and heartache. Like Charity Chic, Culture Club were never a big band in my life, though they certainly put together a handful of very good pop hits.

George said...

So you book a family trip and the band cancels, that's bad bad luck, Brian. In the music room here are the first two culture club albums, both mine, both bought over thirty years ago. And there is also the utterly brilliant single Church Of The Poisoned Mind, which gets an airing every now and then.

Brian said...

Thanks for the kind words, fellas. Was very apprehensive about this one. Anyway, the LTL family appreciates it. George, I think Church of the Poison Mind is as good as the band ever got. It has stood up very well. Unfortunately, my single hasn't. A few too many pops to post. Otherwise, I would have highlighted that one instead.

kevinpat said...

Ya know I never let "pop" or "commercial" cloud my view of a song or a band. My buddies drop a band as soon as they get play or fans. If the Backstreet Boys do a song I like...so be it. I have no musical shame, as you all probably have figured out. (I saw all your eyes roll at my mention of U2....) Hahahahaha. As Brian described, and Mrs.LTL knows, Culture Club is just fun. I remember listening to them with my discman on the Montauk beach one summer. Seemed perfect. Too bad they petered out after just a few albums. They had a sweet groove. Years later I remember Boy George put out a lovely song I think was called "Love In Reverse" about being gay. I thought it was a heartfelt honest 3 and a half minutes before the world "evolved" into acceptance. Good stuff. "I'l Tumble For You" and "Miss Me Blind" were also fun, fine songs.

Rol said...

I really hated Culture Club when I was a teenager. I've no idea why because they don't bother me at all now and I even like some of their songs. I'll Tumble 4 Ya is one of their best, I can recognise that now.

Having said that, I hated The Smiths when I was a teenager too...and ten years later, they were my favourite band.

JC said...

Boy George played a huge part in challenging homophobia in UK society and so I'll always admire his courage and bravery, even though I was never really a fan of the music. Just a wee bit too disposable for me.

Love the way Mrs LTL hung in there and got her just rewards after all those years. Love also that you went along the second time - that would have meant so much to her, and as you say, a small and very affordable price for all those years where your better half has been by your side.

Oh and I'll add to CC's comment about Boy George's autobiography being a great read.

friend of rachel worth said...

Can't beat a great pop song. Victims is the only thing I own by them and still love it. A few years back on UK there was a fly on the wall doc shown on UK TV about a reunion and recording of a new lp. It was car crash tv but fascinating watching 4 middle aged men with so much history and who couldn't help messing things up for themselves again.

Brian said...

FORW, That song is a biggie for Mrs. LTL too. They played it when we saw them over the summer. The crowd was mesmerized.