Remember, Remember, the 19th Of November.
Or, Something Stupid This Way Comes.
Yesterday, the wind was howling here in my neck of the woods. The trees bent and swayed, dancing like giant, leafy goths listening to a black metal band covering Enya’s ‘Orinoco Flow’. There are moments on days like yesterday when it seems that sticks this tall couldn’t possibly withstand the forces pushing against them. It seemed like at any minute the highest limbs were going to snap violently and come crashing down, with an incalculable trajectory and crush anything beneath them. Sometimes they do, and our only option is to try and get out of the way. But somehow those occasions seem rare. Somehow, most of the time, these leaved, slow moving miracles come away mostly unscathed and are even stronger for it, after the invisible violence goes quiet.
I start today with the observation of the wind because it seems like it also stirs up storms in me. Memories, the feelings attached, and the inevitable dust that they create. I suppose with this brief “throat clearing” I could go anywhere, following the tendril into this cerebral maelstrom that has been kicked up, but one memory that is asking to be regaled around this veritable campfire concerns fame, cold sores, babies, a pop star, and the city of Berlin. Shall we?
It was November of 2002… I’m pausing here to swallow back the sheer disbelief that this event was two decades ago. Deep breaths, Brando. It was November of 2002 and my former partner, Carolyn, and I were on a trip to Berlin. At the time she was freshly at the top of her field and was invited to be a presenter at a fancy awards show. If memory serves, the event was The 2002 Bambi Awards. It was definitely a wild time in both of our lives as Incubus was also popping up above the fray and the cultural wind was indeed howling at our backs. So together we packed our least wrinkled garments, grabbed our passports and headed abroad. We were booked to stay at a beautiful hotel in Berlin called the Adlon. Some of you pop culture buffs will read ‘the Hotel Adlon’, see the date I typed above and may already have a sense of where this story is heading. But for the rest of you please know that, to my knowledge, no children were harmed in the making of this memory. The tense moments are brief and most of what was gleaned from this event was constructive - if only in the ‘what not to do’ department.
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