The Guys Who Can Dance Always Get The Girls

I’d moved to America.  I didn’t know how long I was staying for but I was staying.  One of the first guys I met was Tom.  A white guy with a wiry afro.  Brown corduroy flares and an over sized pale green trench coat.  Mid 20’s.  A union member.  Irish descendant. Timid.  Always had a big bag of weed with him.  At first I thought he was a bit too quiet for my “up front” English attitude born of years of Madchester, London acid, speed, ecstasy and by then cocaine.  He offered me a smoke and me and my Lady happily obliged. Our first joint in the States. We enjoyed his company.  he didn’t say much but what he did say made sense.  He was amazed that a couple of Brit’s had moved to the USA.  He couldn’t understand why we would leave a country with such musical heritage.  I became friends with Tom.  Good friends.  Best friends.  When America started to grate on me Tom was always there.  Always with a bag of weed.  Always ready to share.  A joint became a night.  A night became a day.  A day became a week and soon he had pulled himself the prettiest girl in town and him and his girl and me and mine would party.  Long chilled days.  Driving for miles to nowhere.  Walking everywhere.  Watching the fall sunset from atop a mountain, with a spliff.  Scouring the record shops of New York, with a spliff.  A long seem-less blur. St Marks Place, Williamsburg, Kim’s Video, Thrift Stores. Dinners. Sliders and Coffee. Friendship.  I remember one night being stood in a bar in Brooklyn, while his girl was stocking up on her supply of Oxy that she used to buy from an ex Vietnam Vet who had a metal plate in his head and while we were waiting for her Tom asked me “Can you dance?” I said “Sure.  Maybe”.  He pointed to a guy dancing with a girl on the dance floor and said; “The guys who can dance always get the girls.  I’m not a good dancer”.  I reminded him he had the best looking girl in town.  Which he did.  As the weeks became months and the months became years music was the one constant in our friendship.  Even when we couldn’t afford to be high we always had music. I took them to see Underworld.  They took me to some blues bars.  They introduced me to Neil Young.  I played New Order B-sides.  They gave me Oxycotin.  I gave them ecstasy.  We enjoyed sharing.  One day Tom asked me “Do you know of Spacemen 3”.  I said that I did, for I’d recorded them on the Chartshow many years ago but that they weren’t a band I followed.  A couple of days later and Tom came to my apartment with a gift.  It was this album.  We smoked weed and rocked out.  He patiently taught me how to play the songs on guitar. We’d sit for days jamming along. A constant loop of feedback and laughs. Sitting in the big leather bean bags flying to wherever the music or drugs took us.  This album became the soundtrack for our next few months.  Things started to spiral out of control.  What started as a fun night being stoned soon became a heavy couple of days on coke.  Then people started dabbling with heroin.  I dabbled but the others sunk.  The parties we used to enjoy in someones lounge soon became a gathering in the bathroom.  Staying close to the toilet in case the rush was too much and you needed to vomit.  The long haired crowd started shaving their heads. Their locks no longer meaning anything to them. A few moths later and my girl and I left the USA.  We didn’t want heroin in our life.  Tom and his lady were now most certainly slaves to heroin over the music.  A year or two later I was in the UK and got a message from Tom’s girlfriend.  She told me armed police had just raided their house. Tom had walked into a bank the previous day. He handed the cashier a note which read “Give me all your money”.  He’d put his hand under his trench coat and pointed his finger to make it look like a gun.  The most timid, never hurt a fly, person I ever met being corrupted to the state of bank robbery in just a year or two of dabbling.  He ended up doing seven years for armed robbery even though he wasn’t armed.  He accepts his crime.  He still works for the Union.  He split up with his girl.  He still relapses.  I still consider him my friend.  We’d still rock out to this if we ever met again. Still think of you Tom!

(Written by Andrew Adams, as a comment on Youtube about Spacemen 3’s album Taking Drugs To Make Music To Take Drugs To, released in 1990 by the label Father Yod.)



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