Manafonistas

on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2021 24 Mrz

Teenage Angst Chronicle – a Tale of Jimi and Judy

von: Brian Whistler Filed under: Blog | TB | 5 Comments

 

 

 

It was New Year’s Eve 1969 and I had tickets to see Jimi Hendrix and the Band of Gypsies, the evening they recorded the live album at the Fillmore East in NYC, but it was not meant to be. You see, I had a bad case of strep throat that was keeping me home on that cold, snowy winter’s night. I was 17 years old and my entire family was out partying, even my little brother. So I was left alone in our New Jersey suburban house, gazing out the window at the flurries of snow and the icy driveway illuminated by streetlights, imagining all the revelry I was missing down at the Fillmore in the East Village.

In the midst of feeling terribly sorry for myself, the phone suddenly rang. I picked it up and it was one of my friends who happened to live in the house I grew up in down the hill. He told me that a girl, Judy, whose boyfriend was visiting his parents back in Wales for the holidays, had asked about me. “Judy is here and is apparently very horny – she pretty much told me she wants to sleep with you tonight,” he informed me. “You should come down – this is probably the only chance you’ll ever get with her.”

Judy was an artist, a gorgeous black woman hailing from Britain. She was sophisticated, older by at least three years and had reportedly dated Stevie Winwood – in other words, she was way out of my league. My friend handed the phone over to her. “Brian, you just have to come down. We’re having quite the party and it would be lovely to see you.” I mumbled something about being ill but she pressed me to come over. “I promise it will be worth it,” she purred seductively.

I had to go – What else could I do? I gathered myself together, took a hot shower and dressed for the cold weather. The ice made a crackling noise under my feet as I made my way down the hill to my childhood home. It was always weird revisiting the home where I had spent a good portion of my wonder years. When I arrived I was greeted by a group of hippie friends who were of course already quite high, giggling and embracing me in the doorway. They guided me to the back den which had once been a screened in sunroom when I had lived there. They were playing the Jimi Hendrix album, Axis Bold as Love. My friend had lived in England for a year and had returned with some great records, including the British version of Are You Experienced. He had turned me onto Hendrix and all things fab from the British Isles. And now he was turning me onto Judy.

I walked into that now enclosed sunroom, a room I had almost burned down as a child when a science experiment took a bad turn – and there she was, sitting in the corner on the couch looking radiant, wearing a black dress and a beautiful gold necklace with matching earrings. She was stunning – with her high cheek bones and her hair plaited and pulled tightly back, to me she looked like a model. She was flirtatious and when I told her I wasn’t feeling well, she immediately dug into her purse and brought out an Alka-Seltzer. Dissolving it in a glass of water I dutifully drank it down. Feeling no better, she proceeded to ply me with alcohol, a dirty martini as I recall.

After hanging around listening to the Stones Aftermath and the latest Traffic album, she invited me downstairs to my friend’s bedroom. This was really odd for me. As a young child, I never had a bedroom of my own, having shared a room with my older, then younger brother. It wasn’t until I turned 13 that my parents remodeled the sub-surface playroom, the only window which was at ground level. I remember feeling somewhat isolated from the rest of my family who lived two flights of stairs up from me, almost as if I lived in the basement, although it certainly had afforded me plenty of privacy. I noticed it was still the cheery orange color it had been when I first moved in. There was a small double bed and a chest of drawers. A small desk was tucked away in a corner. Judy lit a candle, sprawled out on the bed and motioned to me to join her. She then proceeded to try everything in her repertoire to arouse my interest, but I was just too ill. To tell the truth, she intimidated me, and besides, it was just too weird being in a room I had lived in as a 13-year-old. Childhood memories kept flooding back, distracting me from her amorous efforts.

After exhausting a good number of pages from the Kama Sutra to no avail, Judy and I went back up to join the group. It was then that we got a call from another friend who lived further down the street in an old Victorian. He invited the group of us to make our way over for a hookah full of hashish and the newest Who album. We carefully picked our way down the slippery sidewalk, a couple of us nearly falling enroute.

Tom’s room was a hippie dream – Candelight flickered against the high embossed tin ceiling and on the classic psychedelic posters that dotted the walls; tin foil had been artfully laid in just below the crown molding, giving the room a mirrored appearance, and the antique windows made everything outside look like an impressionist painting. The centerpiece of the room was a low brass Persian table on top of which sat a hookah. Underneath the table lay a luxurious Iranian rug. We sat on floor cushions and took turns taking hits off the hookah. My friend put on Tommy and as was the custom in those days, we sat back and listened in silence.

Not that the hash did much for my condition – instead of being sick, I was now very high and sick. Taking a cue from Judy’s obvious determination to seduce me, everyone tactfully left the room. Once again, she tried everything she could think of to interest me, but alas, her ministrations were all in vain. Eventually she gave up and decided to drive home. New Years Eve was over. I honestly don’t even remember the long, cold walk back to my house.

A couple weeks later, I was on my way to school in NYC. I was walking through the uptown NY Port Authority Terminal on 178th St when I spotted a beautiful woman carrying a rather large black leather art portfolio. It was Judy. I made my way over and after chatting for a couple minutes I mumbled an apology for what had transpired, or rather, what had not transpired on New Years Eve. “Umm, Do you think we umm, might get together again, uh, now that I’m feeling better and all?” I asked, my voice trembling with trepidation. Judy gave me a cool look and uttered, “I don’t think so. Take good care luv.” And that was it. She wandered off towards the subway and disappeared into the crowd. I never saw her again.

This entry was posted on Mittwoch, 24. März 2021 and is filed under "Blog". You can follow any responses to this entry with RSS 2.0. You can leave a response here. Pinging is currently not allowed.

5 Comments

  1. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Oh, this text requires deep reading, and that will happen when I will finally be on my island in the north again, soon. But no respinse can come close the goose bumps I had while reading the first paragraph. In these hours, I‘m on the road, on German highways, facing north. As I said, soon here again, my friend.

  2. Brian Whistler:

    I don’t know about „deep Reading,“ but it is an accurate recounting of a night that was unforgettable for what could’ve been but didn’t happen.

  3. Jan Reetze:

    Thanks für sharing this, Brian! It’s always interesting to see what kind of personal memories people connect to certain records. I never had this phenomenon; I always connect records to the feeling the music gave me when I listened to it the first time. Of course I have this kind of personal memories too, but they are mostly connected to movies.

    And by the way, thsi was the first Hendrix album I owned, it was a birthday present. I still like it.

  4. Brian Whistler:

    Thanks for reading Jan. I do have specific memories of the first time I heard a number of albums, especially from my youth. Perhaps I will write another piece on another album. At any rate, I seem to enjoy writing autobiographical pieces that are vaguely connected to music. Reviews? not so much.

  5. Michael Engelbrecht:

    This comment has been transferred to the blog diary, March 29. The text is quite a vivid response to part 1 of your chronicle😉.

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