Monday, February 15, 2016

Battle of the Bands/Soundtrack ~ The Wild Side

Once again, Battle of the Bands has collided with Soundtrack of My Life.

Let's begin with the story.

I lived in NYC from 1990-1992 and worked in the Publicity Department at St. Martin's Press. That department was full of some fun characters. It was my first experience working with gay men, and I must say that was eye opening. I'd go into a meeting just hoping to get through it and, more than once, one of the fellas would come up to me after the meeting to tell me he had an excellent idea for how I should wear my hair, fashion accessories that I really should try, or just general clothing advice. Sadly, I needed all three, so those tips were always appreciated.

Notice the fancy haircut AND the manicured nails! Not to mention... the DRESS!

We had one guy in our department (also newly graduated from college) who was not gay. His name was Len. He and I became very good friends. I think it's because I was so welcoming on his first day. Or that first meeting. Not sure which came first. But, he walked in and there was an open seat next to me. He paused and I said, "Sit down. I don't bite." I probably should've added most of the time, but it worked. He sat, and we became friends.

I'd like to say I taught him all sorts of handy things. Sadly, I think the reverse was true. Through him, I learned a whole bunch about hockey I never knew. Did you know it is the sport with the longest season? I didn't know that. He also took me to a Rangers game (which was super fun). He worked the "free stuff exchange" like nobody's business. He gave me some of the cassettes (yeah, I said cassettes) and CDs he didn't want. I also learned a wee bit about what it was to be Jewish. In short, he was one of the coolest people I'd met in my life, and I felt really privileged he wanted to be MY friend. We even exchanged mix tapes (on cassette). If you want to know where you rate on my scale, only people I think of as the "best of the best" get a mix tape. Through that experience I learned the way to end a mix tape is with The Beatles montage of Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End. In point of fact, whenever I hear those songs I always think of  Len.

In 1992, St. Martin's published the book A Low Life In High Heels: The Holly Woodlawn Story. The entire department was invited to the book party at a place called The Limelight.

The Limelight

Do you see the resemblance to a castle? Perfect for Halloween or a dress up party, no? Well, this was a dress up party. Holly Woodlawn is the Holly from A Walk On The Wild Side by Lou Reed. "Holly came from Miami FLA..." Holly brought all of his his/her friends to this book party. (Pronouns still are confusing for me when it comes to cross dressing.) Fortunately, I'd already experienced this phenomena several times already, so I was now a pro at this sort of thing. A few days ago, I sent an email to Len asking if he remembered this party. HE DID. He said the thing that stuck with him was seeing the people shooting up in the bathroom (and feeling so tame in comparison). I'm so glad I didn't see that. What I remembered from this party was a dude dressed like a lady in western wear, including the holster and toy guns. I was standing next to Len when this "cowgirl" raised her gun and shot it at Len. He grabbed my arm and said, "See that guy in the cowboy outfit. He just fired his gun at me!" Once again, I was the bridesmaid and not the bride!

Here is a picture of Len and I from one of our many nights out after all the work was done (but not the night of The Limelight party):

Other bloggers participating in the Soundtrack of My Life:


Cherdo on the Flipside 

Holli's Hoots and Hollers 


Mean Who You Are

Wrote By Rote

If you were paying attention during the story, you probably already guessed the song for this installment of Battle of the Bands. Walk On The Wild Side. Not including the Lou Reed version as it would run away with it, but I think I found two good covers.

The first is by a band called The Strokes.

The second is by Dave Stewart and Vanessa Paradis (don't watch if you are influenced by the video).

Please vote for the version of this song you prefer. If you want to get into the Ins and Outs of why you like one better than the other... I LOVE long comments!

For more Battle of the Bands fun, check out the other BOTB bloggers to vote on their battles:


  1. I like the duet version by Dave Stewart and Vanessa Paradis better than The Strokes so they get my vote

  2. I like the Dave Stewart/Vanessa Paradis version better!

  3. You look mighty fine in the dress up picture. Your experience sounds eye-opening for sure. I never had much exposure to gays until I started working on the touring show. Since I was typically hiring actors who danced well, a good many of the male applicants who were gay were quite talented in the dancing department. I had at least one or two gay guys on the tour each year and being around them for an entire season I got to know them pretty well. They were all pretty creative guys, but I never approved of that life style. I tried my best to ignore that aspect of them.

    I didn't care too much for the vocals on the duo version. I'm going to cast my vote for The Strokes.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

  4. I'm going for The Stokes. Just has a funkier groove, I think.

  5. The Strokes gets my vote because his voice is sultry to me like the original and works better with this song. I didn't care for the duo at all and a woman singing this song just doesn't seem to work for me. You look Fab is that dress and how wonderful to have met a great friend in the job you had. I am certain it was eye opening

  6. Looking snazzy in the black dress! I mean, I'm sure it wasn't as fabulous as the cowgirldude, but it's not bad, I guess... (kidding)

    I like the Strokes, and I'm not a huge fan of the way that duo turned out, so give my vote to the Strokes.

  7. That's the downside of growing up, moving on and missing out on good times with friends.

    I'll stick with the original and go with Lou.

  8. I've heard that song a few times before. My husband and I call its style, stoner rock. I have to go with the second one if I must vote for one.
    Did you like living in NYC? I always think of you more as a small town girl but I don't know why I have that impression.

  9. Love this song. Lou Reed did such a fabulous job with it. As for your battle: I'm giving my vote to the Strokes. I originally thought I was going to give my vote to Dave Stewart but Vanessa Paradis' voice really got on my nerves. The Strokes version is good so they get my vote.

    Working in the Publicity Dept of a publisher in NYC must have been fabulous!! Those were good years to be in NY, huh? I'd love to live in NYC, not forever but for a year or so I think I'd really dig it. I'm from New York state (Niagara Falls/Buffalo) but that's a far way from the city...

    Michele at Angels Bark

  10. Give my vite to The Stokes. I did not like the duet at all. Lou still does it best, but I had The Stokes lined up to duke it out with someone else in a future BATTLE. Scratch that one. That is happening more and more often now.

  11. Had I watched the video, I think I would have been swayed. Fortunately I listened first. Turns out, it didn't matter. I'm giving my vote to the Strokes. Sounded much like the original and I didn't like Vanessa in the second one. Seeing her in the video didn't help much either. She seemed out of her element for some reason.

  12. The Strokes get my vote, too. Dave Stewart doesn't seem to get the guitar part right.

  13. I have to admit this song- and the accompanying lifestyles- are FAR from my wheelhouse. But I know what I find annoying, and I hit it about 13 seconds in to song #2. So a vote for the Strokes here.

  14. Great song. I have always liked this one. Giving my vote to the Strokes. They did a really good job on the cover, while Vanessa Paradis sounded more like nails on a chalkboard to me (sorry).

  15. Robin, good battle. I'm giving my vote to The Stokes. I think this song is best suited for all male vocals for some reason.

  16. My vote goes to The Strokes. I didn't like that it didn't really stray much from the original, and therefore, was somewhat lackluster. But it did have their signature sound, of which I am a fan. However, it worked so much better than the Paradis/Stewart version. Dave Stewart's voice just completely overpowered and outshined Vanessa's (who had a lovely voice, btw). In my opinion, their voices just didn't meld well together at all for this duet.

  17. Eh, no contest, I vote for The Stokes!

  18. I vote for The Strokes. Vanessa Paradis's voice is too sweet for this song and was overwhelmed by Dave Stewart's sound.


    You were lookin' pretty hot in that "little black dress". I'd have probably followed you out to the parking lot pleading my case. Heck, I can hear me now...

    "Hey, babe, I can look cool, too! Seriously! This Stetson and these cowboy boots, they ain't the 'real' me. You should see me when I've got my tuxedo shirt and my dancing shoes on!"

    >>... more than once, one of the fellas would come up to me after the meeting to tell me he had an excellent idea for how I should wear my hair, fashion accessories that I really should try, or just general clothing advice.

    That's funny! I've known a lot of gay guys, too (7 or 8 years in Hollywood, ya know?), and so many of them are JUST LIKE THAT! They know more about fabrics, color matches, and hip styles than most women do. Too funny!

    I liked the way you worked this song into your 'Soundtrack'. Very well conceived. Unfortunately, I really don't care for the song. When I was 17-21 I liked it pretty well and even owned it on LP.

    But later, as I got older, I found it kind of offensive, and today all I really like about it is the mention of "JAMES DEAN".

    After listening to The Strokes, I was sure I would vote for Stewart & Paradis, because The Strokes just sound like they're imitating Lou Reed - they really didn't bring one single new, unique idea to their recording.

    But then I listened to the duet and it was just SO not to my liking. The other commenters are right that Paradis really doesn't work on this song. And, hell, I've never liked Stewart at all, either.

    How do you spell "artificial"?
    I spell it the same way I spell "poseur", and that is...


    A less than lukewarm vote for THE STROKES.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

  20. You're a hottie in that dress. What a fun friendship with Len. I was going to ask some type of "Whatever happened to" question, but you are still in correspondence. That's awesome.

    I hope you're feeling better, Robin.

    Now my vote...the second one is a bit too weird to me, but it's memorable and I like the sound better. It gets my vote.

  21. Never my favorite song, although in high school we giggled at a few lines.

    Neither version does much to depart from the original, but I simply don't like the song as a duet.


  22. It must have been exciting working in publicity in New York. I'm sure you went to many entertaining events. Len sounds like a great guy, and I'm so glad you've kept in touch.

    Robin, You really look lovely in your timeless little black dress! I've always liked this song, and since Lew Reed isn't in this battle, I think The Strokes are the next best thing.


  23. The Strokes' version gets my vote because it's so close to the original and I really liked the original. Len sounded like a great friend to have. I used to love making mixed tapes back in the day!


You can now add YouTube videos in your comments by copy/pasting the link. AND/OR you can insert an image by surrounding the code with this: [im]code[/im]. In the case of images, make sure that your code is short and simple ending with something like .jpg. If you want to use a pic from someplace like Google Images, click on the image, then click on View Image. That is the code you want!

Dazzle Me!