Tuesday, August 14, 2012

So, did you hear about the Smashing Pumpkins?

I had been waiting for this moment for so long. It felt like I had been waiting for this moment my entire life, but to be on the train, headed to Seoul to see Smashing Pumpkins....my heart was pumping constantly and all I could think about was teenage daydreams, and being fourteen, and getting off to "Cherub Rock" or "Geek U.S.A.", or being fifteen and entertaining myself to the head-banging misery that was Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Or being in my late twenties and singing over and over again in my misery and loneliness and fighting through depression and getting lost in the refrain of "Ava Adore." Or being in my early thirties and jumping around, and fucking, and laughing, and drinking to "Today," and the refrain was still the same, and it was still the truth, that no matter when or where, 'Today is the greatest day I've ever known.' It meant as much now as it did then.

And it would tomorrow.

It was all I could think about. The concert had consumed my August. I needed it, I wanted it, I would not be complete until I had experienced it. This was to be my first Korean rock festival and I didn't know what to expect at a Korean rock festival, only that it would have Smashing Pumpkins and nothing else mattered.

It came aboutlike most things doin the Lonely Hearts Club. I was drinking with the Roller Girl and we had promised earlier that we would just drink and then go home. The night had started rough with a rather pointless aggravation from another friend, so I was feeling angry and selfish and needing a drink. At the time I was drinking alone and rather enjoying it, and as ten o'clock rolled around I considered just going home. Then the Roller Girl called.

"Where are you?" She had a way of emphasizing both the first and last word of any question that makes it both at the same time a question, a plea, and a command that you had better be somewhere in her vicinity.

"The Lonely Hearts Club. But let's meet at Buy the Book."

Only to get a call a few minutes later that Buy the Book was closed and she would meet me at the Lonely Hearts. So I drank another glass and got an empty one for her, and as she came in we proceeded to work our way through the bottle, giggling and talking, like girls do. Hyun came in much later than that, around one in the morning and we were both salty and staring at each other with mischievous looks, and my feelings about the evening were rapidly improving. Where it had begun with me being put down about my attitude and my looks it was quickly winding into a cheerful, caring romp with a friend who truly enjoyed my company, attitude, and looks, regardless of where they were.

Then Hyun spoke up.

"So, Sara, did you hear about Smashing Pumpkins?"

And in that moment my mind focused through my wine-tipsy-happy time like a laser sight and everything in my brain was Billy Corgan and "Bullet With Butterfly Wings," and "Zero," and "No, I haven't heard about Smashing Pumpkins." And I was thinking something awful had happened to Billy and my brain was preparing itself to feel the same kind of wailing loss it had felt at the death of Kurt.

"Yeah, they are going to be playing in Korea. The Sonic music festival. Do you want to go?"


"What about me?" Again the question was emphasized on both the first word and the last. We conspired, us girls. We would go together, leave our friends behind, and make a girls weekend of it. We would get tickets and the world could go to hell and be jealous of our good fortune when they heard that we had seen the Smashing Pumpkins live.

"Who else is playing?" I asked.

"Oh, yeah, it's the Smashing Pumpkins, New Order, and Tears for Fears."

I think my heart stopped.

We asked Hyun to put us down for tickets, and over the next couple of days, once we had gotten out of our rage at the world and at our friends, we let it slip to the Author and the Irish that there would be such a show and we already had tickets and asked them to join us, because really, when it came to music that defined so of your life how could you not share it? So the party had been assembled and we were off to Seoul, lunch, and literally 9 hours before I would see Billy walk on stage and sing for me, and I could barely contain myself with how much I was looking forward to it.

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