Lisa Mednick Powell

Ooh La La

We just went out to hear Ian MacLagan, and Darren Hess was playing drums. After the (FANTASTIC) show, Darren and I reminisced (we go way back as it turns out!) (of course at this age almost everything goes way back, don't it?) and I reminded him of a recording adventure for which Ronnie Johnson recruited me, and I was sure Darren had been there, and then I remembered a poem I wrote for some poetry workshop I had to take during my recent foray into higher ed (more on that later...) and I decided now to post it here. Remember, if you were there, I have my license to write "creative memoir..." So here goes: *********************************** Ooh La La (for Ronnie) If you haven’t been shopping, with a migraine in the snack foods aisle at a brightly-lit convenience store in a cold dead city, choosing between the salt and vinegar chips, and the jalapeno-flavored crackers shaped like tiny fish, you wouldn’t notice when Rod Stewart’s voice breaks through the dappled haze of your pain and nausea: I wish that I knew what I know now when I was younger; Ronnie Lane’s opus. And if you haven’t played B-3 on one of Ronnie’s last recordings, and afterwards he’d called you saying, Dahling you played wonderfully on my song--millions of people will hear it! and at the time you knew it was a soft little lie, because you knew he was dying... Then tears wouldn’t jump up inside you like the devil as you finger the foil bags of the cheaper brands, comparing the fat content and the prices, thinking about the vitamin B6 content of potato chips versus the salt content of the crackers shaped like tiny fish-- you wouldn’t remember singing in the basement studio of a weathered grey house perched beside the Colorado River not the one in Colorado, but the one in Texas they dammed to make Lake Travis, where aquatic plant life interferes with recreational boaters who drink too much and pull up to the dock at The Pier Bar and Grill, where you have played Up Against the Wall Redneck Mothers, (or maybe London Homesick Blues?) for empire-building drunks who would rather hear Free Bird, you would not have a wheel upon which to sharpen the slim silver daggers that already menace your head; no, you would only have a lunch break, you would take no notice of the public address system, the words and music wouldn’t take you anywhere special, and you wouldn’t wonder to yourself: if you did know then what you know now, if you’d broken the shiny dreamspell of stage lights and smoke, if you had (In the one same morning that belongs to all the different nights) woken up rude, to discover that keeping it real was just too damned expensive, would you have pulled the plug? No, you would just buy your vinegar chips or your crackers and cold cola drink and you would go back to your stupid job-- but you might still wish that you knew then what you know now.