It was at Club Harvey’s where I first heard them.
Club Harvey’s, – a little nightclub buried within a Jacksonville NC hotel – where once a week all the pseudo punks and drunks, all the closet Goths and the geeks, all the Wilmington art fags and hags would come out to play, while DJ Jane Doe spun her wicked mix of subculture cacophony. I was a personal friend of “Jane” (Brenda being her actual name), and though it would be years yet before my own DJing Cherry was popped, she occasionally allowed me into the beloved, albeit claustrophobic, red carpeted booth in order to hand-select some of the – I must say – choicer cuts that were played.
I wasn’t in the booth the first night I heard them, but I wish I had been. As the first night they were played over the surprisingly good sounding speakers (for a hotel nightclub at any rate), there was a club boy in attendance. Just your normal average “douche about town” club boy. I’m sure in reality that he wasn’t dressed nearly as disastrously, but I recall that at first notice I thought to myself that his style had an uncanny resemblance to that of Vanilla Ice. And no, I don’t mean the “I resurrected my career through tattoos and bench presses” Vanilla either. Were his eyebrows replete with carefully shaven hash marks? I’m pretty sure not, but it wouldn’t have surprised me had they been.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m quite sure that he was a nice enough kid. And over the next several months that he spent bonding with us during our weekly temporary Punk O Rama hootenannies, this indeed proved to be the case. But that first night I absolutely hated him. Loathed him in fact.
You see, here was this average run-of-the-Chess King club kid. One who carelessly busted up well more than one fondling couple, all in an effort to get his skinny white ass to the dance floor when first their song came on. And he then spent the next six plus minutes or so simply obliterating every move. All while us supposedly more seasoned and “in the know” types stood there, simply dumbfounded. No industrial stomps, no voguing, no Gothic posing came from us in response, no sir. In fact, all but none of us even knew what this strange new – albeit decidedly alternative – sound was. No, it was left to just this one plain old (young) Vanilla Icean to show us all how it should be done. With almost every single part of his body at one point or another touching the floor – and I could have sworn in at least one instance – the ceiling as well.
The first time I heard them, this is what I remember.
I’ve honestly no idea why the memory is so strong. And I’m equally perplexed as to why I seem to feel the need – all these years later – to now regale you all with the tale, unless of course somewhere deep within me, I felt that maybe you too could also use a simple and inconsequential diversion for a spell.