dispatches from the pop scene...minus the corn syrup.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Madonna's 2,687th Birthday & My List Of Firsts Revolving Around Ye Old Vampyre

Oh, Madonna, you Olde Vampyre — we've had such a long, long history together, and you've been imprinted onto my life since I was 9 years old. And so today, in honor of your 5,963rd birthday, here's a lists of "firsts" you played a role in, as they relate to me. It's always about me.

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MADONNA'S FIRST ALBUM: My mom bought it for my dad for Christmas 1983, and followed that up as a gift the next Christmas with Like A Virgin. I remember watching the "Borderline" video a lot on MTV in those years and thinking the song was boring. I also have lots of memories of being a young kid in those two years and reading comic books with those two albums playing a lot in the background.



FIRST SONG I TRULY LOVED BY MADONNA: The video for "Into The Groove" was in heavy rotation on MTV in 1985. I was still a kid, and really had no concept of album or single campaigns or how artists moved on from one project to the next. When my family finally brought a VCR into the household in 1986, my dad and I rented Desperately Seeking Susan, and when "Into The Groove" played it sounded pretty, um, "shiny and new," a whole year-plus later. It's still one of my favorites.



FIRST MADONNA SINGLE I BOUGHT: I spent some hard-earned allowance money (I hadn't started hooking yet — that came later, at age 13) on the "Papa Don't Preach" 45 in summer 1986 (along with Pet Shop Boys' "West End Girls," Nu Shooz's "I Can't Wait," Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" and Steve Winwood's "Higher Love').

FIRST MADONNA ALBUM I OWNED: My friend Amanda and I hung out in her bedroom all the time in late 1990 (she was 13 and I was 16), and we'd play her Deee-Lite, INXS and They Might Be Giants CDs and sneak out onto her roof from the skylight window in her bedroom ceiling. I used to unhook her bra a lot and then throw it on the roof in places she couldn't get to it. One time I even put one of her bras under the cold water from the kitchen faucet, then hid it in her mom's freezer. That was a good one. ANYWAY, despite all this torture, my friend gave me The Immaculate Collection for Christmas that year — of course, she couldn't hold out that long, and she gave it to me like the first week of December so we could play it constantly in her room.

FIRST MADONNA SINGLE I HAD ON CASSETTE: The summer after I graduated high school, I went with two other friends on a road trip to Ocean City, Maryland for a week. I met this guy on the beach (or as one of my friends on the trip said at the time, I "picked up a stray") named Jason, who lived nearby, and we struck up a friendship. My friends and I had him over to the condo we rented and all got drunk while off in the background the very first episode of Melrose Place was playing on the TV. I picked up the cassette single for "This Used To Be My Playground" on that trip, and after we said goodbye to Jason at the end, I played the song over and over on my walkman during the four-hour drive back Western Pennsylvania. Christ, was I a sap. (I wrote more on this whole story here.)



THE FIRST GUY I EVER, WELL, YOU KNOW...: He's married (to a woman) now so I'll keep it vague, but he was this soccer player college freshman who lived on my residence hall floor my first year living away college. We met and formed a friendship pretty quickly that fall semester in 1994, and a sexual attraction never came into play because I had no idea he was into guys...until he bought Madonna's Bedtime Stories CD that October, the day it came out. Then I had an idea that something was up, because, like, Madonna. Anyway, we got drunk at a party one night, went back to his room and played his Enigma "Return To Innocence" CD single on repeat while saying goodbye to innocence. "My baby's got a secret..."



THE FIRST MADONNA ALBUM THAT REALLY MOVED ME: In 1998, I was out of college and working a shitty job with insane hours at a hotel in Pittsburgh and in a shitty relationship. In hindsight, I was also probably really depressed. Ray Of Light didn't save me, but it lived up to its title, for me at least, in that time period. It was the beginning of me turning things around. A year later, I had moved to Los Angeles and shaken life up a bit.

FIRST MADONNA ALBUM I THOUGHT TRULY SUCKED: Music. Sorry, but after Ray Of Light — what a fucking letdown. Of course, I didn't realize American Life was waiting in the wings.

FIRST TIME I SAW MADONNA IN CONCERT: I still haven't. I had tickets to see her in 2012, but the bitch canceled the show show the day before because she had "laryngitis."

There are probably many more firsts I could list here that revolve around Ye Olde Vampyre, but screw that — it's a beautiful, sunny Saturday out, and I'm taking off.

Happy Birthday, Bitch.

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