Saturday, October 25, 2014

1989: 'Halloween' and the horror of AIDS

"Halloween Parade"
A highlight and sad point of Lou Reed’s 1989 album New York, Halloween Paradeis as evocative as it is chilling even to this day. Through a processional cast of characters, the song chronicles the decade’s AIDS epidemic and the friends that Lou Reed lost to it. While most in show biz were running away from gays, Lou didn't forget or pretend to not know those who helped to create his life.  This song refers to the once-popular Halloween parade, which by 1989 was a death march for many who had suffered from AIDS.  It is a commentary on the sad times, between the LPs Romeo Had Juliette” and the Dickensian Dirty Blvd and tries to describe the horror that"everything is alright in my safe heterosexual world" attitudes of many, while the gay rights and victories of the 1970's were washed away by many who just wanted the sick queers to go away.

There's a down town fairy singing out "Proud Mary"
As she cruises Christopher Street
And some Southern Queen is acting loud and mean
Where the docks and the Badlands meet

This Halloween is something to be sure
Especially to be here without you

There's a Greta Garbo and an Alfred Hitchcock
And some black Jamaican stud
There's five Cinderellas and some leather drags
I almost fell into my mug

There's a Crawford, Davis and a tacky Cary Grant
And some Homeboys lookin' for trouble down here from the Bronx

But there ain't no Hairy and no Virgin Mary
You won't hear those voices again
And Johnny Rio and Rotten Rita
You'll never see those faces again

This Halloween is something to be sure
Especially to be here without you

There's the Born Again Losers and the Lavender Boozers
And some crack team from Washington Heights
The boys from Avenue B and the girls from Avenue D
A Tinkerbell in tights

This celebration somehow gets me down
Especially when I see you're not around

There's no Peter Pedantic saying things romantic
In Latin, Greek or Spic
There's no Three bananas or Brandy Alexander
dishing all their tricks

It's a different feeling that I have today
Especially when I know you've gone away

There's a girl from Soho with a teeshirt saying "I Blow"
She's with the "jive five 2 plus 3"
And the girls for pay dates are giving cut rates
Or else doing it for free

The past keeps knock, knock, knocking on my door
And I don't want to hear it anymore

No consolations please for feelin' funky
I got to get my head above my knees
But it makes me mad and mad makes me sad
And then I start to freeze

In the back of my mind I was afraid it might be true
In the back of my mind I was afraid that they meant you

The Halloween Parade
At the Halloween parade
At the Halloween parade
See you next year, at the Halloween parade

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