Notes From a Walkman Junkie: Ode to GB
GB is the nickname that I gave to my little brother, John. I am not really sure why I called him GB. All I know is that when he was born it presented itself as the perfect name for him; from a three year old’s perspective, anyway. I pronounced it in a really drawn out way like, Geeeee Beeeee, using a voice several octaves lower than my own. It seemed like the right thing to do. Growing up with John was never dull nor was it without interminable bodily harm. My brother’s adventures often resulted in near death experiences or at the very least, slight to moderate maiming.
At around the age of three he ventured into our neighbor’s garage and began to down some tantalizingly sweet anti-freeze. My mother, upon discovering what had transpired, shrieked at my brother, “What are you trying to do, kill yourself?!” She then immediately took him to the hospital. When questioned by the doctor as to why he had drank the lethal pink liquid, three-year-old GB answered with a flat, “I was trying to kill myself.”
John has also always been a formidable entertainer with a full commitment to his craft. My sister and I were once baited by a simple, “want to see a magic trick?” by my brother one afternoon. We lived on a horse farm and John had been practicing a special trick to show us in the hay loft above the barn. There were several hallowed squares in the loft just large enough to drop hay bales into the horse stalls below. One of the hay drops had been boarded up with a thin square cut of wood, which was only visible if looking directly down into the opening.The objective of the trick was for my sister and I to see him jump into the opening; utterly dazzled by the fact that he had not fallen to the hard unwelcoming surface beneath him, instead magically floating in mid-air. This, however, was not how the trick went down. John asked, “Hey, want to see a magic trick?” and leaped through the altered hole. Apparently the thin board had been jumped on exactly one too many times during repeat practices and this was it’s last hurrah. The board gave way and John flew down the hay shoot to the concrete surface several feet below. Horrified, my sister and I leaped up and scurried over to the now vacant opening. We peeked down with trepidation to what we feared would be a gruesome scene. At that moment we heard speedy running feet flying up the stairs behind us. John appeared at the top of the stairs, arms extended at his sides and exuberantly exclaimed, “Ta Da!” He was dedicated to the act until the bitter end, concussion be damned.
Throughout the years my brother’s commitment to quality entertainment has never wavered. His steadfast devotion is commendable and unsurpassed. John spent countless (smoke filled) hours learning and perfecting the opening song and dance routine in Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom.
The song performed is ‘Anything Goes’, and in Cantonese, no less. John’s exhausting efforts were not in vain, and this outstanding rendition of awesomeness was bestowed upon us at our family x-mas gathering one year. John’s girlfriend at the time was not even vaguely amused. Upon observing said girlfriend’s mirthlessness my cousin stated, “You know, the right girl would have thought that was hilarious.” Truer words were never spoken.
John and I have always had a connection and understanding that extends well beyond words. We shared an apartment for a while years ago, and at the time John was all but consumed by a computer game called Ultima Online. I would often come home to hear him giving cryptic mysterious messages over the phone, something about Lord Blackthorn and, “get the lamas.” This was a time in his life when he was going through a bit of a malaise. One day he keenly assessed that I was going through a similarly morose phase and thoughtfully inquired, “Anne, would you like a character?”
I am attaching a song by CocoRosie, a lovely strange indie-folk-tronic sister duo. Their music is brilliantly weird and awesome just like GB.