Hey, are you guys working today? The day before a three-day weekend? Silly wabbits — hardly anyone else is. So today seems as good a day as ever to kick off a new Friday feature, which I’m calling Embarrassing Pictures, because, well, you’ll see.
Long-time readers will recognize this one, which I’ve used before, but not for a few years, so it’s fresh to most of you:
Just another self-portrait before a Saturday night out, c. 1981-82, around in there. Columbus, Ohio. I’m not in this one, but let me introduce you to the group. At left, some girl named Jeanine, who was friends with the other two girls in the picture — Lynne (with the champagne bottle) and Janet, known as Tall Janet for obvious reasons. The guys, in the back row, Jeff, Paul, Craig. Jeff and Craig were brothers. In front, Dan, known to all by his nickname, Futz. And at far right, in the Wayfarers, our very own Jeff Borden. I like this picture because it’s entirely a happy accident — Borden put the camera on a a tripod and used the self-timer, bounced the flash off the ceiling, and everyone just sort of assembled themselves. No one directed the pose or styled the outfits.
Details: Both Jeff and Craig were gay, lending support to the genetics argument, but both were natural performers, and I love the way Jeff is looking at Jeanine, like he’s about to throw her on the floor and ravage her, when in truth he couldn’t have been less interested. I love the way the ash on Jeanine’s cigarette is thisclose to falling. Futz and Paul are wearing buttons — buttons were big, back then. I still have my favorite from the era in my jewelry box. It reads VICTIM OF THE PRESS. I picked it up from a LaRouchie at one of their airport tables. I don’t know what was going on with Lynn’s sparkly disco vest, but she rocks it, I think. Borden’s wearing a hat because even then, barely 30 years old, he was stalked by the curse of a receding hairline.
Also, this: Jeff, Craig and Paul are all dead. AIDS. As I mentioned, Jeff and Craig were brothers. In the years immediately after they died, I thought a lot about them. Since Kate was born, I think mainly of their mother. Imagine losing two of your children, in subsequent years, to that disease.
Anyway, even though I wasn’t there, I was there. I think of this picture as exhibit A in the life I led at the time, when Borden and I lived across the hall from one another, left the doors open all the time, ran speakers from one apartment to the other, and had some great parties.
That’s it for me, I think. Long weekend ahead, and I won’t be back until Tuesday. Discuss what you like in the comments and enjoy summer’s kickoff. Let’s hope it’s a long one.