359. Living in Video

I don’t have anything exciting to tell you about Letterman. It went by so quickly. The whole day was a blur, with a press confab at the BNC offices, a promo photo shoot, a stop at the MTV offices to shoot some little segments for them, and then we got stuck in traffic trying to get back to the NBC studios to do Late Night. We got to do one half run-through of Wonderland for rehearsal, and then they stuck us in the green room, where Ziggy kept me distracted by working on a song, and then we played the actual segment in front of the live audience, and then we got out of there, back to BNC to regroup, after which we were supposed to head to dinner with some of the bigwigs.

During the regrouping, I think Digger and me and Mills were supposed to sit down to a meeting of some kind, but when we got there, Digger and Mills were already in pow wow and not to be disturbed. Which suited me fine. I hate meetings. But it meant cooling our heels for a little while.

Jonathan and I had round two of our fight-that-wasn’t-a-fight in a men’s room on the eighth floor of the BNC offices. It was nearly seven and almost everyone in that department had left for the day.

J. was washing his hands when he asked, “So if I write about the success of Wonderland for Cashbox, how much of what you told me about the behind the scenes stuff can I include?”

“Doesn’t that kind of depend on what you include?” I asked in return. “Anything anyone said in front of other people today is obviously fair game, right?” There had been some talk about the song charting at the press conference earlier.

“Right. I mean of things you said to me directly, in private.” He pulled paper towels out of the dispenser and dried his hands, but then stood there holding them, damp and crumpled. “I don’t want to get this wrong, D.”

“Me either. What did I say and can you help me figure out whether any of it should be a secret?”

“Ha ha, very funny.”

I hadn’t meant it as funny. I was quite serious. My staring at him while I tried to figure out what to say next clued him in somewhat.

“You said it was Mills’ idea to do a video for Wonderland,” he said tentatively.

“That’s probably not going to cause a controversy, is it?” I really couldn’t guess. “I mean, that’s an A&R rep’s job, right? Helping steer a band’s moves to sell more records?”

“Yeah.” He finally threw the paper towels in the trash, but didn’t go anywhere. “Maybe I’ll ask him casually about the video for the story and see what he says, though.”

“Because you can’t take my word for it?” I felt confused.

“Well, as a reporter I really shouldn’t, even if I personally trust you. But that’s not what I meant. If he offers the story of his own accord, on record, then it would be obvious he’s okay with that being public knowledge, if you see what I’m saying.”

“Ah, yeah. Makes sense.”

“Why did you tell me about that whole thing anyway?”

“Um.” I had to think for a second, and then I wondered if I was saying the wrong thing. “Because people talk to their boyfriends about what’s going on in their lives…?”

It wasn’t the wrong thing. He smiled and gave a glance around like he was aware this was not the best place to either talk about this or for public displays of affection. “I’m glad you tell me things. I don’t want you to feel like you have to shut up around me. I’m going to try to be careful, though. I don’t want industry politics or something like that to come between us.”

“How about you show me what you write before you turn it in?” I suggested.

That was the wrong thing. I saw him bristle before he rubbed his chin like he was thinking about it. “Sometimes that’s not possible, though, if I’m on a deadline and you’re God knows where. And some of the places I write for have a policy against it, because they don’t want the articles to become mere publicity vehicles or propaganda, if you see what I’m saying? Publicists always think that what you’ve written should be more flattering to their clients, in other words, less truthful.”

“I don’t want to get in the way of you doing your job,” I said. “But one, I’m not a publicist, and two, what’s more important, my feelings or a policy?”

It must have come across much more prickly than I meant it because he took my hands in his. “Your feelings are much, much more important. That’s why I’m asking about this in the first place.”

It was very, very nice to hear that put forth in such a clear way. “Okay. And I get that you can’t check every word with me in advance. But anything you think could be… sensitive? Could you try?”

“I can try.”

This was completely not the right place to be having this conversation. But if I didn’t say this now, I never was going to. “I think a lot of people read a lot more into that profile you did of us in SPIN than you intended for them to.”

His cheeks reddened a bit.

“It’s half the reason I finally came out to Remo,” I went on.

“What’s the other half?” he asked, half in a whisper.

“That it was about fucking time.” My palms were sweating suddenly but he didn’t let go of my hands. “I… I had sort of forgotten about the whole article. Until now.”

“I didn’t know you at all, then,” J. said softly.

I should have let it go. I should have accepted that as a kind of apology and we should have gotten out of there. Instead, I pressed. “You knew us well enough that you knew—but didn’t directly say—that something was going on between me and Ziggy.”

“A blind man could see something was going on between you two.” His hackles were going up again. “I didn’t write anything that any writer who spent an hour with you wouldn’t have picked up on.”

He might have been right about that. I thought about the Music Time piece. Had it been as packed with innuendo? I couldn’t remember now.

“And the public will always imagine there is more going on between a lead singer and a guitarist than you write,” he said. “I don’t mean sexual, necessarily. But it’s one of those relationships that people are fascinated by and draw their own assumptions about, like they do with cop partners. It’s why there are so many cop movies about partners.”

“Then why imply anything at all? If people are going to fill in that blank on their own, why go there?”

“I didn’t think I implied that much, Daron.”

“The first words of the article, if I remember right, are ‘love at first sight.'”

“A direct quote from Ziggy,” J. said in his defense. “And that doesn’t come until the second page.” He was cringing a little.

“What’s wrong?” Besides the fact we were having a sort-of fight, I meant.

“The actual first words of the article look really incriminating now,” he said. “Not on you, I mean. On me.”

“What were they really?”

He swallowed and then spat them out. “‘Nowhere to hide.'”

We stared at each other for a long moment then, while I think we both had some serious thoughts about whether we needed to break things off. And then I had a sudden chill when I wondered what Ziggy had been implying when he said those words. Ziggy didn’t say anything by accident, especially not to a reporter.

J. spoke first to end the staring match. “I’ll check with you. I promise. Anytime I can. I’ll try to run things by you. But you have to promise only to ask for changes that you think would actually hurt your career somehow or violate your privacy. You can’t be editing me all the time.”

“I promise,” I said.

I squeezed his fingers and he squeezed mine and neither of us was ballsy enough to risk anything more than that at that moment in that place. And then we left the room before our absence together became incriminating.


  • Connie says:

    Paranoid much? But definitely a reason for it.
    This has two issues, doesn’t it? What goes on politically behind the music scene and what goes on personally behind closed doors.

    So there are careers as well as hearts at stake here.

    I gotta remember it was a different time than today. If I’m remembering right, Elton John actually got married once and Freddie Mercury died saying he wasn’t gay.

    Also, first loves are hard, especially when there’s a triangle involved.

    Yeah, this is gonna get tricky, especially when someone (looking at you, Daron) has trust issues to start with.

    Kudos for both of you for talking about the privacy/print issues. Much better than that mind reading thing you often expect people to do.

    • daron says:

      And I’m starting to learn I suck at the mind reading thing myself.

      This is the first time I’ve thought it isn’t just “privacy” stuff like being outed, either. Band politics, industry politics… for some reason it’s all becoming scary-clear that a career can be deep-sixed by stuff that isn’t even true. Someone just has to think it is.

      When you’re jaded it’s hard to admit that you’re actually naive. I’m getting un-naive now.

  • Connie says:

    Hey Cecilia! Got caught up w/ the whole story so far. Wow! Just wow!

    This story sounds like it’s one of those that is channelled more than written. Whatever muse you’re plugged into, you’ve certainly hit a deep and rich vein.

    Lovin’ how your telling this story. You are making this so real to me that I’m talking to your guys in my head. I am so sucked in!

  • I have a very bad feeling about all this. :,

    • daron says:

      I thought Jude would say that, but you got there first.

      He doesn’t want to hurt me. That counts for a lot in my book.

      • I’m not buying it, Daron. If Jonathan is at all passionate about journalism, that this situation is forcing him into a “art vs. love” choice. And you know, true artists? Don’t do compromise very well when it comes to their passions.

        I don’t see this ending well.

        • sanders says:

          This. Exactly this.

        • daron says:

          I couldn’t tell you if J. is passionate about journalism. I kind of get the feeling it’s what he’s doing until he finally gets his head out of his ass and finishes the novel he’s been working on for years. He’s good at what he does, he’s worked hard to get into an elite position, but I don’t get the feeling he loves it.

          But then again, I haven’t asked, so what do I know.

  • sanders says:

    Ugh. Jonathan, your relationship is not an interview. What you’re doing, screwing Daron and writing about him using private conversations, that’s called a conflict of interest and it’s usually considered terribly ethics for a reporter.

    Daron, maybe you need to do some more of that serious thinking about breaking things off, because this is just another form of getting jerked around. Milder than Ziggy, yes, but with far more public repercussions and potential damage to your career, especially when Jonathan’s using you as a stepping stone for his own.

    • Connie says:

      Then again, what’s Jonathan supposed to do, ethically? He knows he can help Daron’s career by reporting about it–and that he can hurt his career by NOT reporting about it. And reporting is his job. It would be unethical to the magazines that count on him for stories NOT report what he knows, wouldn’t it? **Just playing devil’s advocate from a journalistic point of view. (I’m still not a happy camper that Jonathan has done so much PDA when he knows it’s not good for Daron.)**

      • ctan says:

        And a nice devil’s advocate job you do. 🙂

        Jonathan never intended to get into a compromised situation. But while his own career aspirations are dominating his forebrain, his heart is taking any excuse to be near Daron. It would hardly be the first time the “go to” writer with the “inside track” on a band or celebrity turned out to be “intimate” in more ways than one. Ethically it’s against principle… and yet so many have gone down that road. He’s doing his best to keep it all above ground, but it’s a minefield.

      • sanders says:

        Yeah, I’m with you in still not being happy about the PDA. It makes me really wary of Jonathan, especially when it’s paired with moments like this when he’s really mining their relationship for a story.

        I don’t actually think it’d be unethical for him not to tell everything he knows. No reporter does. But reporters who want to keep their jobs don’t sleep with sources. If that ever gets out, Daron’s career could survive it (it being his sexuality). He’d struggle but in a few years musicians start coming out and staying out in a trickle and then by the truckload. Jonathan, though, will have blown his credibility with any publisher or editor who might want to give him an assignment. He has a whole lot more to lose professionally, and that means a lot more motivation to use Daron.

        The ethical thing, if he’s going to keep reporting on Moondog 3 would be to also keep it in his pants and call this thing with Daron off. If he wants to keep seeing Daron, he needs to stop turning their conversations into fodder for articles and say he can’t do stories on them.

    • daron says:

      But I like him. And I use him as much as he uses me. We’re two cogs in the same machine, really.

      • sanders says:

        If it came down to it, would he pick reporting on you or caring about you? Because he might say your feelings matter more but when it comes to a paycheck and a job you’re passionate about, your feelings might start to matter a whole lot less in comparison, especially when you’re not standing in front of him.

        • daron says:

          I don’t know which he’d pick if forced to choose, and I don’t think he knows, either.

          I also don’t know if he’s passionate about journalism or if it’s just what he does, you know? He’s always telling me about these other Ivy Leaguers who have fallen into these elite jobs almost like someone’s got to be the lucky ones and they all happen to be it. Half the execs at MTV went to Brown with him. But I don’t see them being passionate about it so much as they just want the most glitzy job they can get and they’re the ones who can get them, so they do. Spoiled isn’t the right word for it but I’m not coming up with the right one. These are the same people who when they get tired of the rat race of the glitzy job they’ll get a book deal to climb Kilimanjaro and eat nothing but wildflowers for a year or “find themselves” or whatever.

  • winenegress says:

    Nice work, but I remember from my daze as a music journalist that what Jonathan is doing is a serious no-no, especially running quotes and whether a conversation is on the record or off by the source, especially if you’re sleeping with him. Jonathan is playing with fire, but I suspect you know that. Now I have to read the rest.

    • ctan says:

      Oh yes. Jonathan knows he’s playing with fire and how sketchy the whole thing is. Not as sketchy as, oh, the whole Petraeus/Broadwell affair. But he’s in love and Daron doesn’t always make it easy to think clearly. Daron imposes his own logic on situations.

    • daron says:

      The irony is that my least-complicated sexual relationship is so complicated in these other ways. Sigh.

      Hey, if I remember right, you did your time in the garden state, too. Which reminds me to check the liner notes poll. 24% of readers are either from NJ or did time there at some point!

  • Joe says:

    I think the right thing would be for J to stop reporting on MD3. I was, and I think still am, a big supporter of the D&J show, but not if things keep going like this.

    Kudos for talking about it all, for sure, but having had the conversation, it’s time to face the facts and deal with it. IMHO. YMMV.

    • daron says:

      See, if J. stopped writing about us, that makes two possible problems. One is we just don’t get written about, which is bad. Two is someone out to rip us or sensationalize writes about us instead, which could be worse. J. at least writes the truth.

  • http://www. says:

    esadnie, – Dogadaliśmy się?
    – iso 14001 treść Jednak przed chwilą niż http://szkolenie.
    angelfire.com w środku tydzień, – Wagner z roztargnieniem kiwnął makówką.

    – Zwinnie, zwinnie, Wiem, najsampierw musisz wstąpić do lasu, do własnej.
    popatrzył mu prosto w fizjonomia zimnym wzrokiem. Szmuglerz
    się zmieszał.
    – Ja lecz…
    – Nie zwlekaj struny, Pukiel. Gdyż jeszcze się rozmyślę.

    Który, wszetecznica, niewielki, pomyślał kontrabandzista, dyskret.

  • Maynard says:

    olejną ociupinę Oraz mężnie osiągać
    sukces ponad nieprzyjaciołem. ziemi do dołu, Otarł spocone pierwsze szeregi, Maynard rozmazując
    nadal z większym natężeniem gnój. – Maleńko się
    przebieg zdarzeń… Owe nie sposobność, owo nie
    przechodzi o naszej firmy
    czy też interesy Kędziora. O owo, która facja lepsza, czeczeńska to znaczy
    Powiedz szczyptę, kurde…
    Wagner vivace wbił łopata w świat, Naskórkowy grobowiec został poprzednio zasypany.

    Dosyć tego udeptać dodatkowo ogródek będzie na kształt odkrywczy.

  • s says:

    Daron probably shouldn’t read this one… I’m ready for J to go home and D and Z to open for the band. I’m chopping at the bit for that scene! I have a feeling it’s going to be a good one. And then (hopefully) we can get back to Daron and Ziggy lovin’!

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