Lou Reed, motherfucker in earnest


The importance of the Velvet Underground was outlined to me at an early age with the explanation “The first Velvet Underground album sold 10,000 copies, but everyone who bought a copy started a band.” Another person described all of music as “the space between the noise of Metal Machine Music and the silence of 4’33””. The great rock critic Lester Bangs said “Lou realized the implicit absurdity of the rock ‘n’ roll bête-noire badass pose and parodied, deglamorized it”. My first experience of Lou Reed was, the same as many people, Walk On the Wild Side, and I’ll never forget that creep from the first verse “shaved his legs/then he was a she”. I remember fascination that this was so seemingly inoffensive, and yet had such subversive clout. I learned from Lou Reed to approach life with total honesty, not the hostility with which Ginger Baker seems to slice through existence, but a complete and total honesty and freedom from falseness or courtesy.

Today an old man died, that’s all that happened today. I know Lou Reed isn’t dead, because he’s jumping out of my speakers and perched on my shoulder like a shuddering masturbating speedfreak; the crushing dread of All Tomorrow’s Parties and Heroin still creeps up through my hair and latches onto something primal. His vital rock and roll will exist eternally. We have to face the fact that this is now a world with no possibility of further Lou Reed works, and we could so dearly do with them right now. Note to all gunslinging revolutionaries, a position is now vacant, pharmaceutical health irrelevant.

Send word Lou.

Commemorate it by playing Heroin at top volume.



Written under duress by Steven.

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