I dreamt last night that I was flying in an airplane to some place. I don’t remember where. I don’t think it was ever explicitly stated where I was going. All my friends and family were on the plane, too, along with the cast of season four of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Best show on television, really.
I was standing near the Emergency Exit when, suddenly, it opened up and a man walked in. He was in his 60’s, with a shaggy gray beard and a bald head. He was wearing a t-shirt and jeans that had some white paint splattered on them. Basically, he looked like an electrician from Santa Cruz.
In REAL LIFE, the image of the paint-splattered Santa Cruz 60-something makes me think of Richard, a man I met my freshman year of college. I was downtown one night doing some shopping when I heard someone playing Bob Dylan songs on guitar. I walked over and sat down on the sidewalk and watched Richard for about 45 minutes. He played “Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again” and “Idiot Wind,” for God’s sake. Of course, he kept forgetting the lyrics, so I kept having to sing loudly to get him back on track. He was absolutely HORRENDOUS, but I was in heaven. For an encore, he sang some Alice Cooper. He fell to his knees every time he slurred, “I’M EIGHTEEN!”
It was a great night. I mean, it was completely weird, but, okay, whatever. The DREAM.
So this Santa Cruz-like man stepped onto the plane while it was 30,000-some-odd feet in the air, and he started kinda babbling at me. Being immune to strange men babbling at me (IE: Richard), I tried making conversation with him. He pulled out a gun. I fell to the floor and rolled underneath some seats. I grabbed a blanket and wrapped it around my body, then I wrapped my arms around my head. I somehow figured that maybe, if Richard actually decided to hunker down and shoot underneath the seat, it would be better if he got me in the arm than in the head. I began pondering the possibility of my arm bone actually stopping the bullet before it got to my brain, when I remembered, “Wait a second, this is all gonna get worked out right away. All the queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race are training to become policewomen!”
I waited for one of the queens to come to the rescue. Nothing happened. Then, I heard a gunshot. I peaked out from my hiding place, and it appeared that Richard had fired a warning shot in the air. I got up and ran to the back of the plane and hid in the small space between the bathroom and the little kitchenette area where the flight attendants hide the coffee. You know what I mean.
I waited there for a few seconds, and FINALLY, thank you JESUS, the incomparable Sharon Needles stood up from her seat with her gun in her hand.
Now, the best part about dreams, really, is that certain things take place that only make sense to the person who is doing the dreaming. You see, in my dream, Sharon Needles looked like Megan from Mad Men. Oh, she was definitely Sharon Needles, but she appeared in my dream as Mrs. Draper herself.
In REAL LIFE I’m a huge fan of Mad Men, and I really, really like the new Mrs. Draper. Sometimes, though, I forget her character’s damn name. To make it easier for myself, I often refer to her as “Sharon Needles.” I’m okay with the fact that I’m the only person who thinks they look alike.
It’s stupid, I know. Anyway, Sharon Needles was played by Mrs. Draper, aka: Sharon Needles.
She stood up, held her gun above her head, and, with trademark Sharon Needles confidence, she bellowed the dumbest freaking drag pun I’ve ever heard in my life:
“CUNT OR QUIT, PEOPLE!”
Yes. That was what my subconscious came up with. In real life, I hardly EVER use THAT WORD. In fact, I really only use it while driving in terrible traffic. I’m never the girl who shows up somewhere and says to her friends, “What’s up, you stupid THAT WORDS?” I find that behavior rather deplorable.
But anyway, Sharon Needles used THAT WORD in her rallying cry. (I like that she used THAT WORD as a verb. Ya know, in the way that you can BE a “bitch” and also participate in the act of “bitching,” which is “to bitch.” I suppose she meant that in order to survive, someone was going to have to step it up and get things done. To take some serious action. To THAT WORD.) She then ran down the aisle to the front of the plane and shot the unwieldy Richard.
We landed. I don’t know where. I have a vague memory of standing in the hallway of the on-campus apartment I lived in my sophomore year of college and having a very heated discussion with Sharon Needles about whether or not I liked her. I kept insisting to Sharon Needles that she was one of my all-time favorite human-beings to ever walk the earth and I had no idea what gave her the impression that I ever, for one second, felt otherwise. Eventually, she believed I was being genuine. We stopped fighting.
Suddenly, I was on a plane again. This time, not only was I joined by my friends, my family, and the gun-toting queens of season four of RuPaul’s Drag Race, I was also joined by my other favorite freaking people, the Bad Seeds. Not Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, just the Bad Seeds. That’s right — Nick Cave was not on the plane. He was somewhere else doing Lord knows what.
I remember talking to him earlier in the dream outside of Pink’s Hot Dogs in Hollywood. We were having our picture taken together, and the photographer told us that the flash of the camera might kill us. We were both scared, but we let the photographer take pictures anyway. The photographer seemed to really enjoy taking his time while counting, “One…two…three…”. I was tempted to run away a few times, but somehow I mustered the courage to stay put. Nick Cave and I both felt somewhat rejuvenated when the photographer finally thanked us for our time and walked away. That is all I remember about any interaction with Nick Cave.
Anyway, back to the plane.
I was not all that upset by Nick Cave’s absence, because I was seated next to a very young and very cute incarnation of Bad Seeds guitarist (drummer, bassist, organist, backing vocalist, freaking tambourine shakist…) Mick Harvey.
So, okay. In REAL LIFE, I haven’t stopped listening to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds since February of this year. I picked up a copy of Let Love In at Rasputin’s in Berkeley, California during a totally weird and utterly fantastic road trip I took by myself after quitting my job. Ever since listening to “Loverman” on repeat from Alameda to San Francisco, I really haven’t found any reason to listen to any other band. Like, really. There’s just no reason. I mean, I listened to both Grinderman albums and I liked ’em just fine, but it’s hard for me to declare myself a Grinderman fan. Had it not been for the Grinderman side project, Mick Harvey may not have left the Bad Seeds. For as much fun as it is to put on “No Pussy Blues” and jump around, nothing beats grooving to “Dig, Lazarus, Dig!” (Well, okay, it’s only fair to mention that based on what I’ve read, which is mostly speculation, the musical rift between Nick Cave and Mick Harvey began to take form as early as The Boatman’s Call days. Seriously, though, The Boatman’s Call is worth a hundred rifts — the same just cannot be said about a Grinderman album.) Now that the only long-standing Bad Seeds left are Nick Cave and Thomas Wydler, I worry that the next Bad Seeds album (if there is a next Bad Seeds album) will just be, well, a Grinderman album.
So anyway, in REAL LIFE, I’ve been paying more attention to the other Bad Seeds lately, especially Mick Harvey. I’ve determined that while I have absolutely no right to judge any of the Bad Seeds as human-beings because I’ve never met them and they don’t know who the Hell I am and my relationship with all of them only exists in my head, it’s probably somewhat safe to say that Mick Harvey is one of the more modest Bad Seeds. Look at him.
He’s just a baby right here. Look at that sweet little face. Now look at him during his Birthday Party days.
Mick Harvey is in the middle. Now, the Birthday Party days were dark days for everyone in the band, but Mick Harvey consistently looked the most conservative. I mean, this isn’t that wild of a picture, but this is still a good example of what I’m talking about. For instance, I’m sure the hair product was mandatory, but Mick Harvey’s hairstyle is definitely the least ostentatious. Also, observe how he isn’t looking into the camera with either Nick Cave’s “You want me SO BAD” look (with which I have no problem — he’s the freaking frontman), or Rowland S. Howard’s “I’M A COLD ASS ROCKSTAR” look. He’s just like, “Take the picture, please.”
And look at him now. He’s aged very well. He’s just a cute Australian man.
ENOUGH OF REAL LIFE AND REAL LIFE MICK HARVEY. BACK TO MY DREAM.
So, I was sitting next to young Mick Harvey. Again, I don’t know where we were going. Mick Harvey and I were having a lovely conversation when a voice came on over the speakers announcing that our plane was being hijacked. Yes. Mick Harvey and I were concerned, but not too concerned — after all, we both knew we were on a plane full of drag queens with guns. It was only a matter of time before someone saved us.
SUDDENLY, our plane took a freaking nose dive. It was seriously just falling out of the sky, face first. Mick Harvey wasn’t able to hold it together — he started to freak out. I closed my eyes and tried to remain calm. I was terrified, of course, but if I was going to die, I didn’t want to spend my last few seconds in an agitated state of mind. Instead, I wanted to die knowing that I was on a plane full of friends and family. And Bad Seeds. And drag queens. And that the Bad Seeds and the drag queens were all [somehow] close, personal friends of mine. I mean, I had everything I wanted, really. Why be too upset?
One of the men hijacking us (another old white dude with a gray beard) started running up and down the aisle threatening to shoot anyone who moved. Now, that did upset me. I didn’t wanna get shot. I was fine with the plane crash because there was nothing I could do to prevent that from happening. But getting shot? I wasn’t gonna give up without a fight. I grabbed Mick Harvey and led him to the back of the plane. I locked us in the bathroom and instructed Mick Harvey to stay quiet. A few seconds later, we opened the door and peaked out. Who was strutting by but Miss Congeniality herself, Latrice Royale.
In REAL LIFE, Latrice Royale is too good for this world. She may not have won the competition, but she won my undying affection, that’s for damn sure. She was in prison, dude. She has seen some serious shit in her time. And she’s FIERCE.
She really never got bitchy to anyone. Sure, she had moments of unrivaled sass, but she didn’t cause any damn drama. During the Drag Race reunion, she offered some of the best advice I’ve ever heard in all my 25 years. You really should watch this; it’s short:
Trust me, I’ve had Latrice Royale in my head a lot during the last few weeks.
So, back to the dream. There I was with [seriously cute] Mick Harvey, peering out of the plane’s bathroom. We saw Latrice Royale strutting down the aisle holding her gun over her head. She stopped, posed, and cried, “THE CHUNK RISES TO THE TOP OF THE CREAM!”
What the Hell, right? In REAL LIFE, my friend, Alison, showed me endless videos of Macho Man Randy Savage during the Santa Cruz phase of my kickass road trip. At one point, after my iPod was stolen from my car, I started to feel rather shitty. I even toyed with the idea of driving back home. I told Alison to put on Macho Man, and she selflessly indulged me.
That explains that. Yes. BACK TO THE DREAM!
Mick Harvey and I waited in the bathroom for something to happen. Suddenly, we felt someone gain control of the plane. Latrice Royale came on over the speaker and said, “All right, honeys. I am gonna land this plane, but y’all need to grab a parachute and jump out.”
Mick Harvey and I ran out of the bathroom and grabbed two parachutes. The Emergency Exit was already open, and the rest of the plane’s passengers — my friends and family and the Bad Seeds and the drag queens — were all hovering in the air, holding hands in a giant circle. Mick Harvey put on his parachute and told me to take his hand.
I was too scared. I didn’t know what string I had to pull to release the parachute, AND, to make matters worse, the parachute’s harness wasn’t fastening on me correctly. I told Mick Harvey to go without me. He jumped, and joined the circle with no problem at all. Everyone turned to look at me and begged me to jump. I was terrified. I was worried that maybe my parachute would fall off me and I would plummet to my death. I was worried that maybe I wouldn’t pull the right string…and I would plummet to my death. Death death death death DEATH. The weird part (yes, aside from all the other obvious “weird parts”), is that just a few minutes before, when the plane was falling out of the sky, I was able to remain calm. The same thing happened when that creepy photographer at Pink’s Hot Dogs told Nick Cave and me that his camera might kill us. In the face of actual disaster, I was somewhat composed. In the face of figurative “WHAT IF?” disasters, however, I was a total mess.
I looked out at my flying circle of loved ones. Mick Harvey was holding hands with Blixa Bargeld, the other Bad Seeds guitarist who sadly left the band. They both looked at me, let go of each other’s hands, and yelled at me to come join the circle. I looked down at my pitiful parachute. There were two straps in the front of the harness thingy that were supposed to stay together, but they kept coming unhooked. I took both straps in my right hand, took the parachute string in my left hand, and jumped out of the plane. My landing was somewhat bumpier than everybody else’s, but I still landed safely.
The next thing I remember is hanging out inside of what appeared to be the arcade of Circus Circus in Las Vegas. Blixa Bargeld and I were standing in line to ride the Merry-Go-Round. He looked rather intense. I was in heaven. I thought, “Maybe I’ll get to sit next to him on the next flight!”
Blixa Bargeld was not young, emaciated, oddly beautiful Blixa Bargeld…
…he was this era of Blixa Bargeld. And he didn’t give a shit.
The last thing I remember is sitting on yet another plane, next to my REAL LIFE friend, Veronica. We were talking about our near death experience with the hijackers, and I was telling her all about how Mick Harvey and I locked ourselves in the bathroom and how we saw Latrice Royale strut by on her way to save the day. Veronica and I laughed uproariously at what a character Latrice Royale is, and then we pulled out our finger puppets (which we do, in fact, own in REAL LIFE) and entertained Blixa Bargeld with a rendition of “The Origin of Love” from Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Of course, I use the word “entertained” rather loosely — I think we enjoyed our performance more than he did. Still, it was a thrill to be near him.
In REAL LIFE, I woke up in a frightfully good mood, and not just because of the dream. Everything is finally falling into place. Training for my new job starts in two days, and I couldn’t be happier. After months of feeling like a useless waste of space, I’ll finally have a reason to get up in the morning. I’ll have a reason to wear makeup. I’ll have a reason to shower. Like Latrice Royale said, it’s time to “Get up, look SICKENING, and make them eat it.” I’m so damn ready.
While my life seemed like it was spiraling out of control for a little while, I realize now that I had some incredible back up. Things got bad, but there was always something or someone reminding me to just keep going. I had my family. I had my friends. Excellent music. Excellent drag queens. What more does a person need, really? Eventually, when it was time to just stop it with all the, “I’m scared” nonsense, I [somehow] managed to psyche myself up and take a risk. The photographer didn’t kill me with his death camera and the parachute didn’t fail me. In the end, I made it through reasonably unscathed. I just had to trust myself, really.
I have to say one more time, though, that while I do give myself some credit for surviving the last four months, I probably couldn’t have done it without Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. That’s just a fact.
Here is a video of Nick Cave performing “I Had a Dream, Joe” on David Letterman. The LETTERMAN HOUSE BAND is playing with him. They are…they are not the Bad Seeds. The only other Bad Seed present? Mick Harvey.