237. Do You Want to Touch?

I don’t think there was a single person still working at Tower from the days when I’d been there. Michelle had been one of the last ones left, and since she’d quit, I was pretty sure I didn’t know anyone. That didn’t stop nearly everyone on the staff from acting like they’d known me all along. Apparently the film crew had pre-arranged to film a segment there, and what was funny was from somewhere they got someone to bring us a second guitar, and the next thing you know, Bart and I ended up doing that duet of “Just Like Heaven” in front of an impromptu lunchtime crowd. What was funny was that we couldn’t remember which of us played the solo and which the backing version.

“You played the solo, it had to be you,” Bart insisted.

“I think you’re wrong. When we used to play it at school, I swear, it was you.”

“Well, you’re better at faking that kind of thing than I am. Man, that was like four years ago. I can’t remember it.”

Then we played an all acoustic version of Candlelight, which is pretty acoustic-y anyway, and the fact that we didn’t have a singer with us didn’t matter because the people all around us sang. That was a pretty cool feeling. We played Wonderland, too, and then finished with another cover. It took Bart a moment to figure out what I’d started playing, maybe because I was confused myself. I was trying to hit the riff that opens “I Love Rock and Roll” but I missed and I ended up on the one that opens “Do You Want to Touch” instead.

Neither of us knew the actual lyrics to that song, but the key thing is that the chorus is basically just “Yeah, oh yeah” over and over, and so it worked out because that’s what the crowd sang, and once he was well established with the chord progression, I just played a solo on top of it and everyone was happy.

“Okay, back to the hotel grab something to eat, and we’re going to swap crews,” Cameron said, as we went back into the Green Line. He filmed a bit of us waiting for the train and riding it, and a bit of us walking past the Boston Public Library. Then he stopped us and we sat down and he filmed a couple of minutes of me sitting on the steps of the library, playing guitar.

The crew did tech-related things while we picked over a typical cold-cuts spread in the suite. “How was Wonderland?” I asked Ziggy.

“Cold. It’s too early for the beach, man,” he said, as he flopped down into an armchair with a plate of food, looking tired.

I washed down a bit of sandwich with some Coke from a can. “Question for you. That day we met in the park, what song were we playing?”

He thought for a minute. “Was it ‘Close to Me’ by The Cure?”

“Couldn’t have been Close to Me,” Bart said. “I don’t think we ever did that one…”

“In Between Days, then,” Ziggy said, and started to sing a snippet, “‘Go on, go on, just walk away….'”

“Yeah, that’s it,” Bart said with a nod. “You were right, Dar’.”

“We could do a completely killer cover of Just Like Heaven, though,” I said. “If we made that solo line into a bass line, and changed the time signature.”

Bart’s eyes lit up. “OOh, you know…”

Next tour,” Ziggy said, getting to his feet again. “Come on.”

Out we went again, this time each of us with a single cameraman, hitting a checklist of places. I didn’t know until later where the others went. Cameron stuck with me, which suited me fine. We went to Kenmore Square and they filmed me in front of the Rat, and on my suggestion we did some in front of Hi-Fi Pizza in Central Square.

By four o’clock we were headed back to the hotel and the director finally spoke to me directly other than the quick introduction we’d had that morning. He was another young guy, or at least looked it, named Antoine Brevard. Everyone on the crew called him “Tony,” but since he had introduced himself as Antoine, I didn’t feel like I knew him well enough to call him that. But he wasn’t enough older than me to be Mr. Brevard, you know?

“Well, when we got here, we didn’t know exactly what we were going to do,” he said, while he and I were standing by the window, drinking soda from cans. “But a kind of cool story has emerged, and we’re going to run with that. We need to just knock out a couple more scenes, and then I wanted to ask if we could get some footage of you guys playing as an actual band.”

“Well, we have a rehearsal space all set up in a community theater, so there’s a little stage and some lights and stuff. We’re in there for a few more days before we do a run through in a bigger place,” I told him.

“Perfect, perfect. We can do that after sundown. Let’s get everyone together.”

So he ran a production meeting, then, with his whole crew and all of us, Lacey included. “So what we’ve got is this love story developing. It’s a love song, right? Right?”

He seemed to be waiting for one of us to answer. “Right,” I said. Well, it is a love song, just not the kind that people usually dedicate to each other on American Top 40, if you know what I mean.

“So here’s this beautiful girl, she goes walking all over the city alone, she never finds the man for her. Until the very end, when she ends up at Wonderland.”

That wasn’t really the story of the song, but that didn’t matter very much, I didn’t think.

“I want to get back out to the beach for a sunset shot with Ziggy and Lacey,” Antoine announced.

“Hang on, waitasec,” Chris said. “She’s my girlfriend, why can’t I be the one she finds in the end?”

Antoine looked him up and down. “You’re what, the drummer?”

“Yeah, does that matter?”

He appeared to be seriously considering it. “You’re too tall. The shot will be much better if it’s someone closer to her size. And Ziggy is the singer. He’s the one whose face is featured the most. He’s the one the viewer will identify with. It’s just a story, Christian. It’s not biographical.”

Which made me wonder about all the “documentary” stuff we’d filmed with Cameron, which clearly was biographical.

Lacey spoke up next, though. “But I’m taller than him by like five inches, even without heels, No offense, Zig.”

“None taken,” Ziggy answered. He had one eyebrow up like the entire thing was highly bemusing to him.

“So put him on a box,” one of the PAs said.

“Or put her on a box,” Christian said. “Or I’ll get on my knees, whatever.”

“But this, this is the face,” Antoine said, framing Ziggy’s face with his fingers in the shape of pistols.

Chris shook his head, looking unhappy.

Ziggy yawned. “Why does it have to be a face, then? If it’s because viewers identify with me… why not have it be a mystery who she picks in the end? And we just see her hand and someone we don’t know? Then the viewer gets to imagine himself as the perfect match for this amazing woman, right?”

Antoine frowned, but appeared to be mulling the idea over.

Ziggy got up. “Think about it. Something like this.” He took Lacey’s hand, and then pulled away as if about to start swing dancing. “In fact, then you have all this footage and the viewer has been assuming all along she’s lonely or alone but in the end you could also interpret it as her perfect guy has been waiting for HER at the end of the train line all day. And that fits the song better.”

“Well… it’s possible…”

Then Ziggy delivered the death blow to the director’s plans. “Besides, there’s no sunset to speak of. We’re on the East Coast. The sun at Wonderland sets over the abandoned industrial buildings and the suburbs of the North Shore.”

You could hear everyone in the room kind of sigh at that point, for all different reasons.

“Yeah, okay, I see your point,” Antoine said. “Okay, people, let’s wrap this up. Cameron, you go with Lacey. Chris, are you okay with it just being some PAs hand we use? Like John, here?”

Chris nodded.

“Great. Then the rest of us, let’s get to this theater of yours, and bang out an hour or so of fake concert footage, and that’ll work.”

“Should we change our clothes?” I asked.

“No no, stay as is. That’ll be the kind of cool connection between the street bits and the fantasy concert bits. Because it’s like you’re only a band in your minds at that point. You’re imagining what it might be like if you all played together. Get it?”

“I get it.” That actually sounded kind of neat. I wasn’t sure, actually, that people who watched the video would think it was anything other than some footage of us playing together, some of us playing separately, but whatever.

I saw Chris clap Ziggy on the back of the shoulder on our way to the elevator. “Thanks.”

“No problem, man. This is for the best,” Zig answered.

We got into a multi-passenger van with the cameras and everything in back. Chris sat up front to give directions. I massaged my thumb a little, which ached from carrying the guitar case around all day, which I wasn’t use to.

I wonder what he was thinking–Ziggy, I mean–when he reached over and took my hand and rubbed it for me. Was he thinking about the fairytale ending he’d scripted for the video? Or was it just a coincidence? I was thinking about it, though. I was. Maybe that’s what I should worry about.


  • cayra says:


  • Terri says:

    I’ve canceled my Paypal account due to my disagreement with their TOS and censorship. How should I donate? Should I buy the e-books on Amazon? (I got the first volume when they did the free thing.) I love this story, and I want to contribute! 🙂

    • ctan says:

      Hi Terri! I don’t blame you — and I’m looking into trying to find an alternative to Paypal. The next liner notes post will talk about this. I figure if they’re going after “easy” but legal targets like they are, they’re just one step away from saying “we don’t like any gay content at all either, so we’re booting you.” Ugh.

      We do take checks and cash by mail to
      C.Tan, 39 Hurlbut St. Cambridge MA 02138

      • Lars says:

        Me too! Great story C. I only have debit card how can I help? Love the characters.

        • daron says:

          I ended up keeping paypal since they backtracked on their stupidity. If your debit card has a Visa or MasterCard symbol on it, you can still make a donation through Paypal without having to open your own Paypal account. But cash or checks can always be mailed to C.Tan, 39 Hurlbut St. Cambridge MA 02138.

          If you mail me something I’ll mail you back a Moondog 3 sticker. 🙂

  • Terri says:

    Well, now that I’ve looked at Amazon and don’t see the other volumes, I’m really at a loss!

  • Eric says:

    I bought the books from Smashwords.com – no probs.

    • ctan says:

      Awesome. I’ve really appreciated Mark Coker’s (CEO of Smashwords) reasoned responses to Paypal’s strong-arming. We need more publishing industry leaders to speak up like he has.

  • Autumn says:

    Aww, Ziggy can be so sweet sometimes. 🙂

  • Kunama says:

    “We went to Kenmore Square and the filmed me”
    the -> he/they? However many camerapeople there were.

    “We need to jsut knock out a couple more scenes”
    jsut -> just

  • s says:

    Dear Ziggy, I love you. That is all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *