Holding Auditions In My Head For My Potential Imaginary Friend

August 9, 2008

As I often remind Paloma, my childhood was spent in the hinterlands of the Midwest, right past where the flat Earth ends, amidst a lot of corn. Its charm is far more apparent given time and distance.

Paloma has heard me recount tales of my years in the wild. There was no MTV because there was no cable. And new music was not easily attainable. Life was often accentuated by imagination out of necessity and, yet, I never had an imaginary friend.

The last item came to my attention the other night when I happened across my copy of The Essential Calvin And Hobbes. The comic strip, which ran for a decade or so beginning in the mid ‘80s was drawn by Bill Watterson, whose been quite reclusive and rarely (never?) has licensed the use of the characters.

Calvin was a hyperactive and imaginative six-year old tyke; his constant partner-in-crime was a stuffed tiger, Hobbes who was as real to Calvin as anyone else. I can’t do them justice in writing, suffice to say it’s good stuff.

Reacquainting myself with the duo, I wondered if I had missed an important childhood trinket, so I held an audition in my head for such a sidekick.

The name Captain Erving popped into my head. I’m thinking it must be some subconscious homage to the great Dr. J, so I kind of like it. And, for some reason (perhaps some subliminal, nautical influence due to repeated viewings of Jaws), I envision Captain Erving, my potential imaginary friend, as a lobster.

It does seem like a lot of responsibility, though, this imaginary friend business. And, I’d much rather have a dog.

However, in honor of Hobbes, here’s some tiger music.

Manic Street Preachers – Send Away The Tigers
The Manics work since the sublime Everything Must Go has been erratic, so their last album was a wonderful surprise. It was lean, wiry rock and the album was the length of a vinyl release. The title track is fantastic.

Pink Floyd – When The Tigers Broke Free
This song was described in some review I read recently as the “holy grail” for Floyd fans. Appearing in the movie The Wall, it wasn’t on the album, and was unavailable commercially. I think my friend Brad – who turned me on to Animals (probably my favorite Floyd album) – had taped a version of the movie for me from the VHS.

Imperial Drag – Breakfast By Tiger (Kiss It All Goodbye)
As great as it is to discover new music on blogs, rediscovering music I loved – but, for whatever reason, I’d forgotten – is another benefit. The criminally underappreciated Jellyfish is one such band that received a lovely tribute over at My Hmphs. When that band came unglued after two spectacular albums, keyboardist Roger Manning formed Imperial Drag

Rosanne Cash – Dance With The Tiger
Speaking of underappreciated, I’d certainly put Rosanne Cash on such a list. Dance With The Tiger comes from her 1990 album Interiors which chronicled the dissolution of her marriage to singer/songwriter Rodney Crowell. The song was written with John Stewart, who recently passed away. In the late ’70s, Stewart had a hit with the song Gold which featured Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham and, though I’m certain that it’s not Buckingham on this song, the guitar work is certainly reminiscent of Lindsey.