At some point in their lives (16-24), most people will make a sex mixtape — a collection of songs to set the mood during lovemaking. Nick Cannon and Mariah Carey had a playlist like that, only theirs was nothing but a loop of Carey’s song about how real heroes never go soft halfway through.
In 2012, during an interview with chain-smoking grandmother Howard Stern, Cannon revealed that when the then-couple had lovin’ on their minds, there was nothing that got the bodily fluids pouring like queuing up a couple of her tracks and going to town on each other. Their favorite Carey anthem? Her soft and sweeping “Hero.” Maybe it’s because of encouraging lyrics like And then a hero comes along, with the strength to carry on. Or maybe it’s because Cannon doesn’t have any music of his own worth listening to while you’re trying to bump uglies. Either way, this should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with Mariah Carey, who insisted on giving birth while listening to a recorded live performance of her own song, “Fantasy,” so she could hear her fans clapping for her.
But unlike most of us, Cannon was getting off on his wife’s singing long before they were married. In the same interview, he also told the world that he jerked it to the very same song, which might be the most loyal version of masturbation anyone has ever admitted to. After their divorce, Cannon admitted that sharing those tidbits had gotten him into trouble with Carey. Maybe telling the world that he needed two Mariah Careys to whisper in his ears might have contributed to their split. At least he has her music to keep him company at night.
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Few areas of life lend themselves better to the documentary format than music. The life of a rock star is undeniably fascinating: alien to the likes of you and I, a little scary at times, but undeniably desirable. They do and say outrageous things, they perform before baying crowds, they often end up doing something out of order – what’s not to love?
There are rock docs, though, and there are rock docs. These days everything merits a camera presence – an album launch, a tune on a film soundtrack, a tour which needs that little extra oomph to get it over the line. Candid footage is commonplace these days.
Some docs, though, will stand the test of time and have cemented themselves as classics not just of the subgenre, but of non-fiction film full stop. A good rock doc can capture a time and a place, shifts in society as well as the inner thoughts of some of the culture’s greatest icons. They’re a window not just into the stars themselves, but the worlds they inhabit and sometimes affect.
And if they’ve got a whole bunch of smashing tunes, well, that’s just an added bonus.
The tragic tale of Amy Winehouse is hardly a new one in the music business – star after promising star has succumbed to the temptations of substances and the pressures of fame. Few have done so as publicly as Winehouse, however, whose 2011 death felt at the same time heartbreaking and somewhat inevitable.
Asif Kapadia’s documentary is a sensitively made look into the life of a star who looked like she could be one of Britain’s best in many years (and perhaps, even in such a short time, still was). It takes a simple biographical approach, but crucially builds a deeper image of Winehouse than the troubled and self-destructive hellraiser of her public profile. She was all those things, of course, but there was far more to her than that, as the tremendously affecting interviews with her family and close friends go to show.
For Winehouse novices, the film provides a great life and career retrospective that ably demonstrates why she’s so beloved; for those already enamored with the late singer, there’s great early and rare footage of a woman who wasn’t around for long but left an indelible mark on modern music.
9. One More Time With Feeling
This isn’t a watch for a cheery night in. The death of Nick Cave’s son in 2015 came after the majority of his 2016 album Skeleton Tree had been written, but he was yet to step into the studio with his band The Bad Seeds.
Naturally, the loss cast a shadow on the entire production. Rather than subject himself to press junkets and interviews, Cave and Andrew Dominick collaborated on the masterful One More Time With Feeling, through which the singer could explore and explain his grief, as well as give fans a sneak preview of the upcoming record. Skeleton Tree’s sparse, haunting songs made their debut in the gorgeously shot black and white film, and they capture their singer’s feelings of distress, emptiness, and ultimately hope, better than words ever could. Cave doesn’t spill his guts to the camera, but the performances, weary yet driven and brilliant, tell us all we need to know.
It’s one for the fans primarily, but the lush camerawork, beautiful music, and terrible but universal story can appeal to a far wider audience. It’s an exercise in grief, but a wonderful and strangely uplifting film, too.
8. Amazing Grace
Blessed with one of the greatest voices music ever produced, Aretha Franklin’s legacy was guaranteed long before she was immortalized in this 2018 film (shot in 1972, but held up by legal proceedings until shortly after her death). Sydney Pollack’s Amazing Grace is a masterfully made concert film and a gift for a younger generation who can appreciate the power of Franklin’s awe-inspiring talents the way an audience should.
Backed up by a community choir, Amazing Grace is a testament to the healing powers of song and faith. You don’t need to sit Franklin down and interview her to get to the heart of the woman. You simply need to watch her perform and listen to her sing. At this time especially, her voice is astonishing and appears effortless. Her early life was far from easy, and she has spoken previously of the release music gave her; Amazing Grace is her opportunity to give that back to the world.
There will be others who can sing with the same technical proficiency or range or control as Franklin, but it’s hard to imagine there will be many if any who can access so naturally the purity of emotion that Pollack unobtrusively captures in Amazing Grace.
7. The Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson
An underrated figure in UK rock, Wilko Johnson was the guitarist for pioneering pub rock act Dr Feelgood. With his distinctly aggressive playing style and imposing physical presence (he played Ilyn Payne in the first few seasons of Game Of Thrones), he was hugely influential, a trailblazer.
When he was diagnosed with terminal cancer, this was unsurprisingly an eye-opener for the taciturn axeman, and he allowed Julian Temple, key documenter of UK punk, to chart his final days. Johnson faces his mortality with trademark humor and an admirable calm, reflecting on his life and his achievements, and concluding it time well spent. He embarks on a goodbye tour, rocking venues like old times, bringing together friends and collaborators to say farewell to fans and well-wishers the only way he knows how.
Then, the twist – the cancer which seemed so final suddenly goes into remission, and Wilko is given another chance – more time than he knows what to do with. The film celebrates life in all its forms, but it’s clear that Johnson will go on rocking and creating until the real final curtain.
6. The Decline Of Western Civilization Part 2
The first film in the Decline series was a relatively serious look at the often-po-faced world of hardcore punk. For the follow-up, director Penelope Spheeris cast an eye on the hair metal scene of 1980s LA, where things were a little wilder.
The documentary is a riotous look at acts famous and otherwise, from the heavyweights of the rock and metal scene to upstart bands hoping to make it as big as their idols (spoiler: none of them do). Highlights include Ozzy Osbourne making a colossal mess in his kitchen as he concentrates more on his anecdote than pouring juice into a glass, and Chris Holmes from W.A.S.P, who floats around his pool drunk off his head while his disapproving mother watches on. They put on a brave face, the folks of the scene, but many are stricken with sadness (others still are outright creeps).
While there’s the suggestion that elements of the film are a put-on, Spheeris captures an accurate portrait of one of music’s most indulgent and tacky scenes. Everyone involved is keen to show just how rock ‘n’ roll they are, and to one end up making prize fools of themselves in the process.
5. Beware Of Mr. Baker
Cream drummer Ginger Baker died in 2019, and while his passing is a great blow to the world of rock and jazz, after watching this captivating documentary, you’ll be amazed a man so gnarly was even capable of death.
Director Jay Bulger traces Baker’s musical journey from South London to South Africa, where he now lives on an imposing compound. Baker’s career is a remarkable one, having pioneered a jazz/rock fusion style with Cream, traveled to Africa to drum with Fela Kuti, and kicked and taken up heroin enough times to kill most ordinary men. Ordinary Baker most definitely is not, though: he is a fascinating but utterly cantankerous individual, ultimately clashing with and physically assaulting Bulger after a line of questioning is not to his liking.
The man lived hard and fast and achieved an incredible amount, and it’s great that his life story was aired in such an engaging piece of work. Formally inventive and ever engaging, this is proof if proof be needed that the devil has the best tunes.
4. 20 Feet From Stardom
A celebration of some of the music business’ unsung heroes, 20 Feet From Stardom is all about putting a name to the voices you’ve heard so many times, as Morgan Neville’s Oscar-winning doc digs into the world of backing singers.
Featuring the likes of Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, and other incredible performers whose names you may not know but whose vocals you’ve certainly danced to, 20 Feet From Stardom is a melancholic look at a business that can be so rewarding, and so frustrating, all at the same time. There are incredible anecdotes from those on the periphery of the world’s biggest rockstars, and superb performances, like Clayton’s isolated vocal track from the Stones’ “Gimme Shelter”. Many of those interviewed are jobbing musicians who accept their status, but it can’t help but feel cruel that their contributions so often go uncelebrated.
With talking heads from bonafide A-listers like Bruce Springsteen, this is a star-studded production, but more than anything else it’ll give you an appreciation of the sheer physical graft that goes into the singing business. You may just be harmonizing on a chorus, but it’ll take it out of you.
3. Gimme Shelter
An era-defining documentary, this still-harrowing film captures The Rolling Stones at their world-conquering finest as they tour their incredible run of records between the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. It also pinpoints the moment the hippy dream died and something altogether more sinister settled into American counterculture.
Gimme Shelter serves as a concert film for a band who, at the time, may have been the world’s greatest. This ultimately pales into insignificance, however. The documentary is most famous for its recordings of the Stones’ 1969 concert at the Altamont Speedway, during which 18-year-old Meredith Hunter was fatally stabbed to death by a member of the Hell’s Angels, who the UK rockers had hired as their tour security. Co-directors Albert and David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin adopt a hands-off approach to their film making, simply observing the chaos that unfolds as a peaceful scene turns ugly.
The ‘60s ended literally and metaphorically around the time of Altamont, but if there are lessons to be learned, it’s a stroke of luck that there was a camera there to record the destruction.
2. Don’t Look Back
D. A. Pennebaker’s 1967 masterpiece invented the rock doc and the myth of Bob Dylan in one fell swoop. Following the Nobel prize-winning songwriter on his 1965 UK tour, the documentary was one of the first opportunities an audience had to watch a rock star simply exist in his natural environment.
As a subject, Dylan couldn’t have been much better. He is riding the crest of a wave, writing and playing some of the best music of his career, and coming to the tumultuous end of his relationship with Joan Baez. He is captivating but unprecious with his public image: indeed there are moments in which he acts like a real jerk, one-upping Donovan with a bravura performance just because he can, and needlessly abusing a poor jobbing journalist. The opening scenes serve as a music video for the track Subterranean Homesick Blues, another of the film’s groundbreaking moments.
Dylan has been documented and hagiographed half to death by now, but Pennebaker’s passive camera catches him in the flesh, and at a pivotal point of an incredible career. Taking aside all it influenced, it remains a superb piece of work.
A friendly rivalry turns into an all-out indie war in Ondi Timoner’s wild documentary. The director shot over 10,000 hours of footage as two upstart bands, The Dandy Warhols and The Brian Jonestown Massacre, came up together before dramatically falling apart.
The narrative comes down to jealousy, as the Massacre, arguably the better band, stew over their former friends’ sudden burst of success. Petty swipes turn to open hostilities as one band rises and the other turns in on itself. The subjects are fascinating, most notably Massacre frontman Anton Newcombe, whose musical talent is outstripped by his self-destructive street. He has the aura of a cult leader but the temperament of a stroppy child, and slowly alienates those around him and blows chance after chance at the big time.
Musicians from either camp have refuted the realism of the finished product, but that hardly matters when the documentary is this outrageously entertaining. Dig! may not hit as heavy as some other acclaimed rock docs, but few films can match the uproarious fun – and killer tunes – of this bonkers film.
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Legendary music producer Phil Spector — who was convicted in 2009 of murdering actress Lana Clarkson — died Saturday at age 81. His death was announced Sunday by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, which said that he had died of natural causes. His official cause of death is yet to be determined.
Back in 2009, NPR reported about Spector’s murder conviction for shooting an actress named Lana Clarkson. Spector had vanished from the music industry for decades and had not completed an album since the 1970s.
Shortly before the shooting that led to Phil Spector’s arrest, journalist Mick Brown taped the reclusive producer’s first interview in years.
“Almost as soon as I sat down with Phil Spector, he started to talk about his mental state,” Brown told NPR in 2007.
“I have devils inside that fight me,” Spector told Brown. “And I am my own worst enemy. And for all intents and purposes, I’d say I’m probably relatively insane.”
Insanity and insecurity haunted Phil Spector’s entire life. Spector’s older sister had to be institutionalized, and his father died by suicide when the boy was nine years old. The traumatized family moved from New York to Los Angeles. Spector’s first hit song, at age 18, was inspired by the inscription on his father’s grave: “To know him is to love him.”
Spector sang in the background of that song, harmonizing with The Teddy Bears. His perfect pitch and knack for a melody soon made Spector an A-list producer. He was only 21 when he co-founded his label.
“Every Phil Spector session was a party,” session drummer Hal Blaine recalled in an interview with WHYY’s Fresh Air in 2001. “He used to be in the booth and he’d run back and forth, like he was conducting a symphony, and use certain symphonic movements, the way a conductor would do. Certain times he would look at me and he would say, ‘Now’ — which meant, ‘Go for it.’ ”
Spector’s trademark “wall of sound” propels “Be My Baby,” the hit song performed by The Ronettes. The group’s lead singer, Ronnie Spector, married her producer.
She told NPR in 1990 their songs were love letters. “We always rehearsed them alone,” Ronnie Spector said, “so we had this romance between my singing and him teaching me. It was like the best feeling in the world.”
Those feelings began to be spiked by abuse. Spector wouldn’t let her wear shoes in the house for fear she would run away. He bought a glass-lidded coffin in which he threatened to display her if she left. Still, Spector produced an extraordinary string of hits, too many to name.
But the song he considered his personal masterpiece, “River Deep — Mountain High,” performed by Ike and Tina Turner never achieved the success he expected.
By the 1970s, Spector’s career was in shambles. He produced the legendary Concert For Bangladesh. But Mick Brown says his mounting obsession with guns signaled a psychic free-fall.
“He was drinking very heavily,” Brown says. “He wasn’t a man in control of himself. He’d even wear guns on the phones with record executives — in order to give himself a bit of an edge, it seemed, over the telephone.” When Phil Spector produced the 1980 Ramones album End Of The Century, he reportedly pulled a gun on the group in the studio.
Spector soon entered near-seclusion. He tried to record albums with Celine Dion and a British group called Starsailor, but ended up fighting with them. Music, it seems, was only a temporary balm for his pain.
“He had this one priceless gift, which was a musical ability,” Brown notes. “And he was able to create out of this gift these extraordinary records, these grandiloquent dreams of romance and love and escape, and fling those back into the face of the word. It was flinging them at his father, who killed himself; flinging at the kids who wouldn’t talk to him at school; flinging it at the record industry, who thought he was a madman. These records were Spector’s revenge.”
Her husband, entertainment lawyer Doug Emhoff, will be the first “Second Gentleman.”
Harris has said she expects to work closely with Biden, offering him a perspective shaped by a different background.
“It is about a partnership that also is informed by one of the reasons I think Joe asked me to join him, which is that he and I have – we have the same ideals and values but we have very different life experiences,” Harris said during her final fundraiser for the campaign.
President Barack Obama has called her an “ideal partner” for Biden who is more than prepared for the job as “someone who knows what it’s like to overcome barriers.”
Only the second Black woman to be elected to the Senate, Harris was the first Black woman to be elected district attorney in San Francisco and attorney general of California.
Biden had faced tremendous pressure to choose a woman of color as his running mate because of the large role African Americans – and particularly Black women – have played in the Democratic Party and because of the racial issues thrust into the foreground by the coronavirus pandemic and the deaths of Black Americans at the hands of police.
“There is no vaccine for racism,” Harris said during her vice presidential acceptance speech. “We’ve got to do the work for George Floyd, for Breonna Taylor and for the lives of too many others to name.”
Announcing his choice, Biden called the former prosecutor a “fearless fighter for the little guy, one of the country’s finest public servants.”
Only two ran before her
Harris was only the third female vice presidential nominee of a major party ticket.
Her debate with Vice President Mike Pence was the second-most watched vice presidential debate, after the 2008 matchup between Biden and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who was running mate to Republican nominee John McCain.
Harris’ response when Pence tried to cut in on her time, “Mr. Vice President, I’m speaking – I’m speaking,” sparked a meme. T-shirts, face masks and other products emblazoned with those words were quickly available for sale on the internet.
Biden’s age contributed to the public’s interest in Harris, as his 77 years increase the chance that he might not serve a full term or seek re-election.
Republicans sought to characterize Harris as member of the “radical left” who would control the more centrist Biden.
Voters had a divided opinion of Harris, with 46% “very” or “somewhat” favorable and 47% “very” or “somewhat” unfavorable, according to a VoteCast survey of 110,405 voters by The Associated Press. The difference was as polarized as the rest of the election. Those viewing her favorably almost entirely – 93% – supported Biden, while 87% of those viewing her unfavorably supported Trump, according to the survey.
Breaking barriers of race and gender
Biden’s selection of Harris gave the campaign a big fundraising boost. Backers sent more than $34 million immediately after Biden announced his pick, and she headlined numerous fundraisers throughout the fall. Members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., which Harris belongs to, began donating $19.08. The sorority, the oldest Greek-letter organization established by Black college-educated women, was founded in 1908 at Howard University, her alma mater.
Harris was often dispatched to energize voters of color, particularly Black Americans. The first candidate on a major party ticket to have attended a historically Black university, Harris campaigned at HBCUs, barbershops and other places of significance for communities of color. For many virtual campaign events, Harris broadcast out of a studio set up at Howard University.
“I say it’s about time a graduate from a state university and a HBCU graduate are in the White House,” Biden said of himself and Harris at a drive-in rally in Atlanta.
Who is Doug Emhoff?
Emhoff was also a regular presence on the campaign trail and formed a bond with Jill Biden, who preceded him as the spouse of a vice president.
Emhoff, who will be the first Jewish American in the vice presidential residence, was a regular Biden surrogate for campaign events targeted to Jewish supporters. He was also “sent all the time to probably the hardest spots,” Biden senior strategic adviser Greg Schultz said during an October campaign event.
Emhoff has been offered lots of advice on how to tackle his new role.
“Everyone’s got an opinion on this, which is nice to hear,” Emhoff said during the campaign. “Which means people are actually excited about the prospect of someone like me in this role – and I get that.”
He hopes to tap his legal background and focus on justice-related issues, particularly “access to justice.”
Emhoff still has the voicemail of a congratulatory call from Biden after Harris and Emhoff got engaged in March 2014.
It was Harris’ first marriage and Emhoff’s second. His son and daughter – named Cole and Ella after jazz legends Cole Porter and Ella Fitzgerald – came up with their own name for their stepmother: Mamala.
“To my brother and me, you’ll always be ‘Mamala,’ the world’s greatest stepmom,” Ella said in a video montage introducing Harris before her convention speech. “You’re a rock, not just for our dad, but for three generations of our big, blended family.”
During an appearance on Hillary Clinton’s podcast, Harris described how she had been teaching Emhoff how to cook after the pandemic confined them to their Washington, D.C., apartment.
Harris’ own passion for cooking was often a topic on the campaign trail. She has described it as “one of my joys” and recirculated a video of herself making masala dosa with actress and writer Mindy Kaling last year.
She told Clinton that one of Emhoff’s own culinary attempts went awry, setting off a fire alarm. Harris had to wave her briefing book back and forth to clear the air. The couple subsequently agreed that Emhoff should stick to three dishes he knows how to cook – “and we don’t need to experiment with anything else,” Harris said.
Harris had competed against Biden for the Democratic nomination but ended her bid before the first primary votes were cast.
She struggled to place herself in an ideological camp, particularly on how far she would go to enact Medicare for All. She also faced criticism from some on the left for her prosecutorial record.
One of her campaign’s biggest moments came during a debate when she challenged Biden over his remarks about working with segregationist senators. She described herself as part of the second class to integrate her school as a child after mandatory school busing, which forced Biden to apologize for his earlier comments.
Although Biden didn’t hold a grudge, Trump immediately called Harris a “phony” after her selection. He frequently made fun of her first name – which is Sanskrit for lotus – and hurled insults at her from his campaign rallies, included calling her a monster.
Women’s groups spent millions on ads to “push back on disinformation and racist, sexist attacks” on Harris and show her in a positive light.
“She has taken on some of the toughest fights…and she’s done it all with a sense of style,” said the narrator in an ad called “Chucks” that included footage of Harris wearing her signature shoe choice and a young girl dancing in Chuck Taylors. “Someday soon, anyone will be able to see themselves as president.”
Daughter of immigrants
Harris was born in Oakland, California, to Shyamala Gopalan, a breast-cancer scientist who emigrated from India, and Donald Harris, a professor of economics who emigrated from Jamaica.
Her first job was cleaning laboratory pipettes for her mother.
“She fired me. I was awful,” Harris said.
Gopalan would also tell Harris and her sister, “Don’t sit around and complain about things, do something.”
Harris frequently mentions the “stroller’s-eye view” she had of the civil rights movement, as her parents marched for social justice – a central part of family discussions.
She wrote in her memoir that she was inspired to become a prosecutor in part because of the prosecutors who went after the Ku Klux Klan and because of Attorney General Robert Kennedy, who sent Justice Department officials to protect the Freedom Riders in 1961.
But she had to defend to friends and family her decision to try to change from the inside, rather than the outside, a justice system they saw as too often offering injustice.
Harris likes to tout a program she championed as district attorney to direct young people arrested for drug crimes into training and counseling programs instead of jail.
As California’s attorney general, she pushed for a tough settlement from five major banks accused of foreclosure abuse. One fellow attorney general who joined the fight was Delaware’s Beau Biden, the former vice president’s oldest son. The two developed a friendship before Beau Biden’s 2015 death from brain cancer.
After Harris joined the Senate in 2017, she put her prosecutorial skills to work grilling witnesses such as Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Attorney General William Barr and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
“I thought she was the meanest, the most horrible, the most disrespectful of anybody in the U.S. Senate,” Trump said of Harris’ questioning of Kavanaugh.
Breaking barriers means breaking things
When Harris found herself competing for the Democratic presidential nomination with three of her female colleagues, the rivals enjoyed lighter moments on the campaign trail laughing with each other and comparing notes on the still-rare experience of being a woman running for president.
“We have spent a lot of time together, sharing looks at each other across a room when statements are being made,” giving each other a “knowing look” like “Yeah, that just happened,” Harris said during a fundraiser that included Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.
Klobuchar recounted how, during one debate, the women had banded together to demand the technicians raise the temperature in the freezing studio.
“I mean, like you couldn’t feel your feet,” Klobuchar said. “And on the break, we’re sitting there huddled together … and we said to the technician from NBC: `You know what? Women do worse when it’s so cold. This isn’t fair. You have got to turn this up, right now.’ And so they turned up the heat, as we did.”
Harris said that women who go first know the sacrifices they’ve made and hope to make it easier for women to come up after.
Breaking barriers, she said, involves breaking things.
“And when you break things, you might get cut. You might bleed. It will be painful,” she said more than once. “It will be worth it, every single time.”
Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.
When I started writing Phicklephilly back in May of 2016, I never realized how much it would grow and flourish as I went forward. It began as an earnest effort to start writing again. After a few false starts through the summer, I finally decided that if I was going to start writing again, I should stop talking about it and just do it.
It began like most creative works. Slowly. Once I published my first post, I thought; how am I going to do this every Monday? I had no followers and no exposure anywhere. Instead of worrying about that, I decided to dig in and start to tell stories from my recent past. But since then it’s grown exponentially. It’s a dot com now and has hundreds of thousands of page views. I’ve monetized the site and secured advertisers that generate revenue to support my work. It’s been a lot of fun!
In the beginning, my inspiration was a server named Maria who worked at a local restaurant. I sort of had a crush on her but it never became anything. But it was enough to get me writing again. When I met her I had already been in Philly for almost ten years.
My first relationship with Michelle had only lasted about three years before she left me. She was approaching age thirty and the alarms were going off in her head to get married and make babies. I had already been married and divorced years before that and had a daughter. I wasn’t going down that painful and expensive road again. The odd thing about my relationship with Michelle was, it was the first time I had a girlfriend that after we broke up, stayed friends with me. We were best friends. Isn’t that the key to all successful and loving relationships?
Michelle reconnected with her former high school boyfriend. Normally that never works but I think this time it might. I think Michelle broke up with him, left Delaware and came to Philly because the guy wasn’t on the road to success. I think Michelle needed to explore the world a bit. She did that for a while and then met me. I was new and different and we had the time of our lives together in the city. But what neither of us realized was that was all we really were. A couple of people who loved the city and it’s nightlife. The drinks flowed and the laughter ensued. But once we got an apartment and moved in together it was the beginning of the end. We didn’t know it at the time, but domestic life never suited our relationship. We were best friends who liked the social excitement of going out, and being a deadly couple in the city. Once the adventure ended it was over.
We tried it for a while, and did all of the things that couples do. Celebrate the holidays, birthdays, family stuff, and all of the other grinding aspects of domestic life. But we just got to a point where Michelle realized I wasn’t going to marry her and give her kids. We remained friends for several years after that until she moved to California in 2013 to be with her former boyfriend. He had become the man she had hoped he’d be many years ago. She married him, and at the time of this writing has a baby daughter. So it all worked out for her. She achieved the American dream.
I on the other hand started dating Annabelle in 2013. Annabelle is a failed actress and photographer. She makes her living shooting head shots and weddings. The reason things failed with Annabelle was our obvious age difference, and absolute opposite lifestyles. I was the corporate sales guy, and she lived in a world surrounded by theater people. It was like oil and water, and the only thing we shared was our mutual attraction to each other. Annabelle served as a temporary stand-in for my friend Michelle. The relationship lasted a tumultuous nine months and ended. It was fun in the beginning, but all romantic endeavors are. Once the reality sets in that you’re not a match, normally the relationship dissolves. Both of these relationships are well documented in the first Phicklephilly book.
Michelle is long gone, but her memory continues to haunt me of what could have been.
Near the end of the book I met Cherie. When I started writing the blog I realized I had to get back in the dating game. So I did what most people do. I went on Tinder, Bumble, OkCupid, and whatever else was available. I went on a bunch of crazy dates, but things clicked pretty early on with Cherie.
I realized I had an ending to my first book. I had burned through a couple of relationships, and then met my love, Cherie. Everything was right in the world. She made me happy and we shared some wonderful times. Over the first couple of months we became close and Phicklephilly had a happy conclusion. It seemed like the perfect ending to a great story. I had reached my destination, and had found love in Philly!
Also, when I was with Michelle and Annabelle, I wasn’t writing. Their stories were told from memory, so it’s basically our greatest hits. But phicklephilly the blog was alive and well when I met Cherie. A rich history indeed!
But what happened after the end of the first book? We’re both in love with each other and things are going great. The story has to continue. I can’t just let the tale end there. There’s so much more to reveal.