“The city of love,” Jacque says as he aims his hands at my face. His fingers and thumbs form a rectangle. The cityscape around us is a metaphor for romance is how he puts it. Every music video director I ever met thinks the city they chose for location is the city of love so long as the moon is full. Budapest, Istanbul, Venice, Zurich, of course, New York and Paris. None of them are afraid to squander half the night explaining why. Fans blow night-cold across the roof of the Museo de la Revolutional covering my arms with goose flesh. It’s been two days since my last meal. So excuse me if I don’t go all to pieces about how Trieste, Italy is so doomed.
Jacque keeps telling me: “You are like the city herself. Your beauty is of another time.”
Which is an utter lie. Half my day is spent with a team of people whose only job it is to make sure my beauty matches this moment in history precisely. Hate me because I accept my beauty. False modesty is for religious leaders and politicians not rock stars with multi-million dollar product deals. This is no game. In a given year I bring down the kind of money that dwarfs small, island nations. Forgive me, if I don’t have time for humility.
I pay my team top dollar to make sure they never miss a detail. Okay, I don’t get pay anyone anything. I don’t have money. Not the kind of paper money people trade for distractions sold in stores. I have worth. I’ve read about my worth in Forbes Magazine.
It might be hard to believe, but I have never carried so much as a dollar-bill in my pocket my entire life. There’s this funny story actually. I was doing a string of dates in some fly-over state somewhere, and I just had to have Coffee Bean. I don’t know how so many places get on in the middle of the country with out Coffee Bean. It’s criminal.
After the show, I come down off the stage and it hits me. Like out of the blue, this over-whelming desire for Coffee Bean takes hold. In my dressing room, two of my favorite people are hanging out, waiting to tell me how great I did on the last song. That’s the one. It’s the crowd killer. All the lighters come out. The water works start up. It swear if I could see any of their faces through the lights and the fog machines their cheeks must have been shining with tears. Sure it’s the lyrics that get’em but my voice is the nail in the coffin. I have this break in my voice. I don’t need to explain it. When it happens its like a hole opened up in the night sky. As though all the light of an event horizon blinks for an instant. Even though I know all this, it’s still nice my friends like to wait around my dressing room to remind me.
I come into the dressing room all fired up. I can’t wait to tell them my brilliant scheme. I was just waiting for them to flip their lid. We’ve been doing a real stretch between the rust belt and the corn husker states so I know the prospect of a mocha java chip will blow their tiny little brains apart.
They start screaming before I finish the sentence. They’re excited. But also they are a little dumbfounded because they realize that means we’re getting on the Leer. They can’t believe I’m proposing we fly all the way to L.A. just for a Mocha Java Chip with extra whip.
That’s what we do. I walk off the stage and onto my private jet and twenty minutes later we’re flying away from America’s heartland at top speed. My friends are still laughing an hour into the flight.
Pre-dawn landing. Limo across town because there’s no traffic and everybody thinks all the Coffee Beans are all the same but the one on San Mateo and Wilshire brings the magic. Just as the limo pulls into the handicap space across the street some kid with a total Point Break haircut—best movie of the last five years hands down—unlocks the front door. We’re the only people up at this hour because people in this town are subject to the whims of the sun and moon. This poor guy has no idea what is about to happen. Kids takes one look at who walks through the door and power of speech gone. I’ve seen every version of this crisis over the past couple years. I’m well practiced. There are a number of ways this goes down. Not always are they speechless. It might be easier if more of them are this way. You get the screamers, the hyperventilators, the I’ll-pull-my-hair-out-in-the-middle-of-the-street ones, the criers. There are a hundred types. This guy happens to be the one who can’t speak. My heart goes out to him, it really does. He started falling all over himself behind the counter. It’s early. Nobody in their right mind or this part of California gets up this early, so the place is deserted. The poor guy dropped cups all over the place. I wanted to help him out but that would be a whole lot worse, believe me. Even though the three of us had just spent five hours on a jet together and had barely anything left to say we tried to act like we weren’t paying an attention to him working back there. It would be better to give him space, we figured. How would even finish the drinks if we were staring at him?
It might have been a year later by the time Point-Break-hair put our drinks on the counter. Then I noticed him turn to get one of those cardboard holders. On a normal day those things are impossible to deal with. I don’t want to put Point-Break-hair through that trauma. I just want to pay and get back in the limo. We still have to fly back to the middle-of-nowhere. There was another show that same night—rehearsal in the afternoon, makeup, the whole business. I reached into my purse, this little gold cube of a thing cost more than a Sentra—I watch The Price is Right—I know these things. When I open it, there isn’t a dollar in there. Not even an empty gum wrapper, that’s how little use my purse gets. The three of us are just off a privet jet. The limo blinks its hazards in a NO STANDING zone across the street. How am I supposed to explain to Point-Break-hair how I don’t have a dime to offer for the three mocha java chips with extra whip he just slaved over?
When some French-Canadian guy sticks a camera in my face and sets the lights to make the blue in my eyes sparkle just so starts spouting-off about timeless beauty my love tank should be full.
When record sales reach a gazillion and everybody genuflects before you as the new rock god you don’t need the people close to you to remind you how beautiful you are because everybody else already does. The reason I hired Jacque to direct this music video was because he wore his passion on his sleeve. When we were alone he told me his secrets. That’s the thing that nobody tells you once you get really famous. Not fake famous. Not almost famous. Not just famous enough. But once you get full blown, nobody can question you status famous, nobody will share their heart with you. This isn’t some BS-line about how it’s lonely at the top. This is no pity-party. I like being famous. I like fame better than I like being loved. In order to hold onto my fame, which is ultimately what I want, I need passion, genuine, full blooded passion. That’s why I fought to have Jacque as part of this project.
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