Sunday, March 14, 2010

Aimless Reading: The G's, Part 6.1 (William Gibson)

Count Zero
Originally uploaded by Michael_Kelleher
Gibson, William
Count Zero

This looks like it was purchased new, so I am going to say I bought it at Talking Leaves...Books.

I am having another attack of 1977 fever this morning. It began while I was reading an article about "The Runaways," an upcoming film about the eponymous all-girl band that spawned Joan Jett, Lita Ford, and Micki Steele (of The Bangles). This lead me to read the Wikipedia history of the band, which in turn lead me to read the Wikipedia history of Joan Jett. From Joan Jett I jumped to an article about Suzi Quatro, Joan's rock idol.

I hadn't heard of Suzy Quatro before, but it turned out I knew of Suzy Quatro because she played Leather Tuscadero, younger sibling to Pinky Tuscadero, girlfriend of Arthur Fonzarelli on the show "Happy Days," which was the number one show on television in the year 1977.

"Happy Days" was my second favorite show, after "The Six Million Dollar Man."

A few days ago, I was talking about my obsession with "Saturday NIght Fever," which was released in 1977. One of my other obsessions in 1977 was The Fonz. I had a Fonzie t-shirt on which he held up his two thumbs and said, "Ayyyyyy!" (I also remember that there were constant TV ads for the National Zoo in Washington, exhorting viewers to become Friends of the National Zoo -- the tag line was Be a FONZ).

We watched "Happy Days" every week. Happy Days followed "Welcome Back Kotter," I am pretty sure, and we were not allowed to watch that show. I think my parents did not like the image of delinquent and colorful urban students being broadcast into our suburban home. I think they were even a little suspicious of Fonzie, but he had been domesticated to a great extent by the Cunninghams. Even so, I may also have had a Vinnie Barbarino t-shirt. I remember the shirt, but it may have belonged to someone else.

"Star Wars" was released in 1977 and needless to say I was obsessed with that, too. I think I am wearing a Star Wars t-shirt in my fourth grade school picture. I don't think I have ever felt a more visceral need to see a film than I did the first time I saw a trailer for Star Wars. I somehow knew that the answers to all of life's questions could be found by going to see that movie. I did not see it 5,000 times, but I think I did see it three or four times at the theater.

I also remember the first of two world series between the Dodgers and the Yankees. I bet on the Dodgers, but only because my father refused to root for the team that had abandoned his home borough of Brooklyn, NY. I lost the bet two years running, mostly thank to Reggie Jackson. I remember I used to like to eat "Reggie" bars for a long time after that, until they eventually disappeared. In fact, I think I remember stealing them from 7-Eleven on more than one occasion. I was a big fan of Steve Garvey for a while. I was also a fan of the Redskins (football), The Bullets (basketball) and the Diplomats (soccer).

I vaguely remember the Son of Sam stuff happening.

I remember the blackout in New York, which formed the basis of my understanding of that city -- total anarchy -- until I moved there for school in 1989.

I remember owning Kiss "Destroyer."

I played on one of the greatest soccer teams in the history of Vienna Youth Soccer -- The Tornadoes. In 1977 we were the Maroon Tornadoes in the Spring and then just The Tornadoes in the fall -- every team wore reversible green/yellow shirts that year, so no one had their own color. In 1978 I played on The Darth Vaders. All three seasons I played for the Tornadoes we won the championship. Our success lead to the formation of a traveling league, which gutted the team and left me in the house leagues for several years, one of the only members of the Tornadoes not to make the elite team.

As you can imagine, I was crushed.

from Count Zero

They set a Slamhound on Turner's trail in New Delhi, slotted it to his pheromones and the color of his hair. It caught up with him on a street called Chandni Chauk and came scrambling for his rented BMW through a forest of bare brown legs and pedicab tires. Its core was a kilogram of recrystallized hexogene and flaked TNT.

He didn't see it coming. The last he saw of India was the pink stucco façade of a place called the Khush-Oil Hotel.

Because he had a good agent, he had a good contract. Because he had a contract, he was in Singapore an hour after the explosion. Most of him, anyway. The Dutch surgeon liked to joke about that, how an unspecified percentage of Turner hadn't made it out of Palam International on that first flight and had to spend the night there in a shed, in a support vat.

It took the Dutchman and his team three months to put Turner together again. They cloned a square meter of skin for him, grew it on slabs of collagen and shark-cartilage polysaccharides. They bought eyes and genitals on the open market. The eyes were green.


suzanne said...

I weathered a fantastic Suzi Quattro youtube odyssey a few months back, and just yesterday marked a Joan Jett vid & a Suzi Quattro vid as possible facebook companion posts. Let's see....

Michael Kelleher, Buffalo, NY said...

Yes, let's!