“I Have A Twin Sister Named Libby”

July 10, 2008

Or so my friend Chris replied, when asked “how he was?” by another friend’s girlfriend. It was not long after Chris (and that twin sister Libby) moved to our small town. I think we were freshman in high school.

I was thinking about Libby the other day. Paloma and I have recently started a vinyl collection (I think we’ve purchased nearly 250 in less than two weeks, so it’s been harmlessly obsessive). Anyhow, I did snag a copy of Supertramp’s Breakfast In America and, seeing the cover in detail for the first time, I could see that the waitress’ name is not Bev, as I had speculated, but Libby.

Chris’ twin sister Libby was a sweet girl; in retrospect, she reminded me of Talia Shire in the original Rocky, but with more whimsy.

Oddly enough, not only was Chris, one of my closest friends in high school, a twin, so were two of our closest friends, Tom and Tim. Somewhere along the line, we chose to rechristen them Smart and Dumb, respectively (they were both extremely bright, but Dumb was more carefree – actually he was more carefree than all of us).

Chris turned me on to a lot of music and he was amazingly ahead of the curve considering the limited access we had to civilization – it was forty-five minutes to a record store, radio in the Midwest was decidedly (and endearingly) Midwestern, and we didn’t get MTV ‘til 1984 (although WTBS’ Night Tracks arrived a year earlier).

Maybe not so strange, but many of the acts that Chris turned me on to – The Cure, Thomas Dolby, Cocteau Twins – would prove to be favorites of Paloma’s.

Cocteau Twins – Carolyn’s Fingers
I can’t recall the first song I ever heard by the Cocteau Twins – it was either Memory Gongs or Sea Swallow Me – but I had never heard anything like them. It was otherworldly

Thomas Dolby – Europa And The Pirate Twins
Thomas Dolby was no secret in 1983, but after She Blinded Me With Science, there was little interest in the man. But Chris incessantly played his follow-up album, The Flat Earth, introducing me to Paloma’s favorite Dolby – namely the title song and Screen Kiss. Europa And The Pirate Twins is an earlier song, but a charming and touching bit of nostalgia.

The Cure – Siamese Twins
Pornography was my first exposure to The Cure courtesy of, yet again, Chris. I never bought into the gloomy sentiments, but I enjoyed the music. My favorites were The Hanging Gardens and A Hundred Years, but until I post something about hanging gardens or a century, this track will do.

Concrete Blonde – Les Coeurs Jumeaux
I sucked at French in college (I mostly remember my professor playing Roxy Music before class), but I believe Les Coeurs Jumeaux translates into “The Twin Hearts.” Whatever the case, I’d loved Concrete Blonde the first time I heard Bloodletting and own pretty much everything they’ve done. Walking In London disappointed me, but this unabashedly romantic song from that album ranks among my favorites of theirs.