It is a long time since I was wholly psychologically in thrall to Lou Reed, but for a number of years (from 17 to 21, maybe?) I think I listened to VU and LR more than pretty much anything else.
I remember hearing "Venus in Furs" on a mix tape playing on a battery-powered boombox that sat on the front seat of my friend Lee's big boat of an American car. It was so arrestingly lovely and like nothing I had ever heard before that I could not rest until I heard the whole album.
It is possible that The Velvet Underground (the book, not the album) was the first thing I ever requested via Interlibrary Loan as a first-year student at Harvard.
Lou Reed is known in recent years to have resembled a lizard. I have seen him at various new-music performances: he was a benevolent presence on the scene, with a much stronger interest in the music of young artists than many of his peers.
My obsession with Lou Reed was still running hot enough c. 1990 that when my then boyfriend (we were living in New York, in a studio apartment on 23rd St. down the street from the Chelsea Hotel) called me up, on a Friday afternoon when I'd gotten home from work a bit early, to say that Lou Reed was standing across the counter from him in the dingy 8th St. computer store he was employed by, I thought it was a joke. Once persuaded the sighting was for real, I raced over and saw the Great Man with my own eyes. I may still have, somewhere in a box, the crumpled credit card receipt, signed by Lou Reed, for a wholly unglamorous desktop computer. It slightly shattered my notion of the rock-star lifestyle that Lou Reed would buy a computer of that ilk in a store of that genus, but on the other hand he was known for his frugality in certain aspects of life.
This is one of the saddest and loveliest songs ever written.
I have probably listened to Berlin at least fifty times, maybe more.
Lou Reed's transsexual muse. (Via Larry LaF.)
There are many reasons I would never do karaoke, but one of them is that it's hard to imagine one of the options would be this, one of only a handful of songs I'd be willing to sing solo in public in a bar, no matter how much alcohol might have been consumed.
Finally, the Daily Mail misses the boat once again, in a recent piece about tattoos gone wrong. Their caption for the picture below: "One couple found a fruity - and permanent - way to show their love for one another." What it should say: classic Warhol banana from the cover of the best album every made!