I was pretty lucky in my youth. As a teenager, when I began to show an interest in photography after a Saturday morning course at a school the next town over (and another class in a local community college), my dad bought me secondhand photo developing equipment. I set it up in the room of our house that used to serve as an in-law apartment. There was a sink, plenty of counter space and a closet that worked a charm as a darkroom.
I don’t think I was talented in photography. I might have an eye for composition, but the trickier aspects of the art – tweaking settings and dilutions of chemicals – didn’t hold my interest. Plus it’s a rather expensive hobby given the cost of the special paper and fluids, not to mention film itself. But to think back now on how my dad made that investment in an interest of mine is really profound for me. I’m not someone who excites easily. I think when he saw my interest in taking pictures, he was hoping it would last with a little support.
Anyway, I remember listening to this Aimee Mann song on repeat in that little workspace of mine. I had the Red Vines CD single, an import I think. All of this came to mind as I heard “Save Me” at the end of a show the other night. I’m not sure why I find this song so powerful. I don’t really believe that another person can save you. As Courtney Love said, “Nobody’s gonna pull up in a limousine and say they’re going to save you. That’s not how it happens. You save yourself from drowning, that’s how you do it”.
I think the tone of the song is what digs at something so deep inside me. Aimee sounds so forlorn, but even as she makes her plea to be saved, she doesn’t sound pathetic. It’s not begging. It’s almost like she’s daring the person to step out of himself and have anything to do with her.
Plus it’s always comforting to hear someone acknowledge the “ranks of the freaks,” and sort of validate how difficult it is to fit in or find people you really relate to. It’s a hell of a consolation prize if it means being in her company.*
* Though I wish I were truly in her company so I could get a little closer to that Ted Leo.
My one fleeting moment with that vegan dreamboat.