The Friday Morning Listen: Empty Glass
brianinatlanta2001 at yahoo.com
Sat Jan 29 09:41:10 CST 2005
>From Blogcritics.org at:
The Friday Morning Listen
Posted by Mark Saleski on January 28, 2005
Yesterday, fellow Blogcritic Wally Bangs posted The
Punk Rock Mid-Life Continues, a perfect illustration
of the power that art (visual art, music or, in this
case, books) can have on our memories.
This got me to thinking about something that I wrote a
while back. My 'important' Records described several
albums that had made an impression on me, partially
because of their musical uniqueness...but mostly due
to the particular circumstances surrounding the
Well, I forgot one very 'important' record: Pete
Townshend's Empty Glass. Ok, I didn't really 'forget'
it. It's just that the attached memories were so
intense and bittersweet that, at the time, I didn't
have the strength to revisit them.
During my first year of college I discovered that a
friend of mine (who was still in her last year at our
high school) had developed an interest in me beyond
'just friends'. This kinda thing has always whacked me
upside the head a little. Really? She does? Wow.
So me & Shelley had one of those romances that can
only happen when you're young and, well, full of being
young. We reveled in being young, in music and in each
other. One particular night I remember picking up a
bunch of food and heading over to her house (this was
back when I was in my gonna-be-chef phase). I cooked
us a sort of Japanese beef on the grill thing. After
that we spent the rest of the night blasting records
and becoming more and more horizontal (don't ask me
where her parents were...off on a trip somewhere I
I can't quite express what a match we were. Back then
I was as much of a music geek as I am now. The fact
that some of her favorite records were The Who's The
Kids Are Alright and Who Are You just added to the
seeming perfectness of the situation. So on that one
night we played Pete Townshend's Empty Glass over and
over and over. The 'mystery' of some of that album's
lyrics were all over the rock press. "Rough Boys",
"And I Moved"....what the heck was he talking about?
This made no difference to me because the memories of
that evening were chemically bonded to Townshend's
music and words. What he was getting at was irrelevant
as those sweet and perfect recollections took
The next year Shelley began attending my university
and we continued on.
But then something happened. To this day, I'm not
really sure what it was. The final straw involved me
making an emergency trip to her dorm room after a
frantic call from her roommate. There was a mostly
empty vodka bottle and a lot of confusion. After that
we went out separate ways.
For years and years, Empty Glass remained on the
shelf. I had no interest in revisiting that time
period. When "Let My Love Open The Door" came on the
radio, I had to change the station. Then, around the
time of my (gulp) twentieth high school reunion, I
somehow managed to get back in contact with Shelley
via email. We had a nice 'what the heck happened'
discussion. We came to the conclusion that we were
both young and foolish and ended up treating each
other the way we did for all sorts of reasons that
were more or less out of our control. Then we got to
really reminiscing. Now that was fun. Interesting the
stuff you can remember from so long ago. We've both
been through so much stuff over this time gap but some
things remain fresh.
Years after that reunion of sorts, I am finally able
to listen to Empty Glass without the pain...and a fine
record it is.
-Brian in Atlanta
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