Hello readers! (the few of you I have) I have decided that it is time I write a story based in the 70's during the rock n' roll groupie scene of both London and fantastic LA. This particular tale, which I have titled "Trouble" starts off in late 1971. It tells the tale of Michael Patrick, a guitarist for the fictional then-popular Zeppelin-based band Sinister, and Jennifer Russell, a quiet girl who is just trying to get by in life, making her living by doing small odd jobs. This isn't any ordinary love tale, however, as it does have it's rock and roll-related twists. Each time life seems to be going swimmingly, things seem to get in a twist and get splattered all over the place, resulting in plot twist after plot twist.
Now, given this being the first chapter of my short story, it is dull and basically just introductory. The images we get as readers to this first chapter are key on understanding the story, but may not be fully developed just quite yet. In order to see the story through "my eyes," I'm going to fill you in on what I thought each character looked like when I imagined him or her. If you would like to just read the story, scroll past the pictures. Also, there is playlist at the bottom. If you want to skip the story altogether, just scroll until you see the familiar 8tracks box.
When you think of raunchy, rock and roll superstar c. 1971, who else to think of but Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page? Jimmy in his early seventies wardrobe is the absolute perfect example of Michael Patrick. The two can seem arrogant at times but both secretly have sweet spots. Both Michael and Jimmy are lead guitarists in their bands who seldom sing, another great connection. I don't want to spoil too much, but as you read, picture Michael Patrick looking and acting like a stuck-up Jimmy Page.
When I think of innocent sixties blonde with booming blue eyes, Pattie Boyd immediately comes to mind. In fact, the character of Jennifer "Jenny" Russell is a play on Pattie's sister Jenny. Although the imagery of Pattie I think of when I see Jenny Russell is mid-sixties Pattie, the character in my story takes place in 1971. She is the ultimate vintage chick, however, as she still dresses like it's 1964, complete with mini dresses and tall white go-go boots. She is my ultimate style icon and therefore, must look like the ever-beautiful Pattie Boyd.
Although Marc Lipton isn't a main target of love, he does provide much information, as he is the narrator (oops, spoiler, but not really). His name is a definite play off of Eric Clapton's (people call him 'Lippy,' people called Clapton 'Clappy'), and even Marc and Michael's past is based off of Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton's real life relationship in The Yardbirds. I won't spoil too much, but just remember, Lipton is Clapton.
Who else to play the ever-flamboyant Jock Randall but Mick Jagger? Once again, Jock Randall's name is similarly syllabalized (I just made up that word, I know) to Mick Jagger's. Both Jock and Mick are the lead singer in a band that has been famed for quite some time, and both are equally as drugged up and socially out there. Although Jock isn't a main character, I thought it was important to include what I personally thought of him as a character.
And now, the moment you all have been waiting for! Time to read chapter one of "Trouble." At the bottom of the page I've created a playlist of groovy and funky music to help set the time period while you're reading, or even if you just enjoy the seventies. So please, sit back, relax, and enjoy!
If I were to summarize the relationship between Jennifer Russell and Michael Patrick in one word, I would say trouble. The amount of arguing and constant bickering between the two was unbearable, making it impossible to even stand the sight of them. And in contrast, there were moments when the two of them would go on and on about their endless and unconditional love, making it seem as though they were the only two in the world. They were either fighting or cuddling, battling or making peace, hating or loving. It seemed as if there were no middle ground with them.
No one knows exactly what went on in either of their heads. We still don’t know to this very day. Long before either of them lost their marbles we were wondering when they would. It was only a matter of time before one drove the other off the edge. It was he said she said with the two, and one could never tell whose side of the argument was correct. If you liked one, you hated the other, and vice versa. It was never easy to decide between the two.
Maybe you’re wondering why I won’t stop talking about Jenny and Michael. At times, I wonder too. They were crazier than any other couple I’ve ever met, and to this day, I can’t name a single thing that sounds more insane. But they were meant to be. No one else could have put up with their reckless disputes like each other, and that’s exactly why they found each other. They needed each other like mad.
They met in November. The air was crisp, the leaves were brown, and the first snow of winter hadn’t yet fallen. I remember Michael was working in the studio, he was stressed about deadlines. Said the next album had to be out by a week before Christmas in order for sales to skyrocket. I was helping him out that day, and without my help, none of this little episode would have happened.
“How does this sound?” He brushed a strand of curls out of his face before playing a deep, bluesy riff. Blues was my sweet spot; anything that contained those twelve bars of perfection instantly tamed my attitude. But something about his playing tonight was not up to par, and it was clear on my face that it didn’t sound right to me.
Michael paused, staring up at me coldly. “What if I did it like this, ya know, with the same notes only higher?” He then proceeded to play again, but still, something about tonight was off.
“I don’t think redoing it is going to change how you’re playing tonight,” I frowned, giving a slightly colder look in return. “You’re off tonight.”
“I know, I know..” he sighed, unplugging his guitar from the amp and leaning it against the wall. “I don’t know what’s going on, I just haven’t been coming up with anything original lately. That’s why I called you, for feedback.”
“Well maybe you just need a night out on the town or something.” I stood up as well, stretching my limbs and yawning slightly. I hid my face from Michael in order to pretend I wasn’t bored beyond relief.
“The town?” Michael snorted, then laughed. “You know I’m not one for partying.”
“Ah, but see, my dear Mike.” I wrapped my arm around his shoulders as we began to stroll out of the recording studio, “The Randalls are closing their last show this fall. And, luckily for us, it’s right around the corner from here. I say we crash their party.”
I could see Michael’s lips slowly twisting into a grin out of the corner of my eye. I took my arm away from his shoulders as we began to walk outside.
“So it’s just an excuse for them to party?” he asked, scrunching up his face a bit. “You know I’m not a Randalls fan. Jock Randall is probably my least favorite person in the music industry.”
“Many people feel the same way, but remember, he’s over the top. And that means his parties are, too. If you don’t have a good time, sue me.”
He chuckled as he raised his arm for a taxi, stepping inside as one arrived at the curb before us. I followed and eagerly awaited his reply. Although Jock Randall was known for being a flamboyant, drug-obsessed diva, he was a talented singer and a master at party-throwing. At his last big shindig, there was a vivid fireworks display that featured colorful images of both him and the band. There was also a live orchestra to back him up when he spontaneously burst out into a song, performing the band’s latest hit. Of course the rest of The Randalls weren’t exactly happy when Jock did so. But he was Jock Randall, he did what he want, and no one judged him. We only hoped this year’s extravaganza would be better than the last.
“You know I don’t like parties,” Michael replied coldly, avoiding eye contact, “although a little extra cash wouldn’t bum me out. I’ll take you up on that suing deal.” He extended his hand to mine, shaking it. “If I don’t leave here ecstatic, you’re done, Mister Lipton.”
“And right back at you, Mister Patrick.” We ended the handshake, and promptly began to drive deep into the heart of London to the Jetson Hotel. Neither of us knew that tonight, things were about to be warped into ways we could never change.
Michael walked into the party like he was walking onto the red carpet. He had that infamous smug grin of his smacked right across his face, his jacket flowing in the somehow-always-near-him breeze, and he was wearing sunglasses, even though it was eleven at night.
“You look like a smug ol’ bastard,” I grinned, scratching at my stubble. I hadn’t come to the party that night looking for women, unlike Michael. I was simply trying to entertain my friend. Although, little did I know, I would end up entertaining him much further than he could handle.
“Good.” He pulled a pack of cigarettes out of his coat pocket and held one to his lips, which I promptly lit. “There aren’t many girls here, Lippy.”
I sighed, wincing at his dreadful nickname for me. “Not yet. Jock isn’t even here yet. When Jock arrives, so will the ladies.”
Like some sort of instantaneous magic, Jock Randall strolled through the double doors directly opposite us, an even more smug grin than Michael’s on his face.
“Oh, jeez..” I rolled my eyes, “you can practically taste his arrogance.”
“Taste him..?” Michael made a face. “Why in god’s name would anyone do that? Probably get a disease just from breathing the same air as him.”
We laughed and scanned the room for familiar faces. There were a few other musicians I knew, like Alex Drencrumb and his band, The Alligators, The Detroit Five; but no one really caught my eye. The tricky thing with these kinds of parties is so many other male musicians go, knowing stars like Jock Randall will be there and assuming large quantities of women will be there, too. But when they get there, they find the men outnumber the women by a large majority. And that seemed to be how it was for now, not a single girl in sight, besides the usual groupie or two.
When I spotted her, I squinted, unsure of what I was seeing. Michael was blabbering on about different kinds of whiskey he’d had when he toured in America but I hardly paid attention- far too focused on the petite blonde in the corner. She didn’t have a groupie body, nor was she dressed in as exposing of a manner as they did, and it really baffled me as to why such a wholesome looking girl was at a Randalls afterparty. She was wearing a light pink mini-dress that looked straight out of the sixties, like something Twiggy would wear. She had fringe and bright blue eyes, definitely capturing that sixties model look that was long gone. Something about her made me think.
And then when Michael spotted her, I could tell he had the same reaction- his eyes slightly widened at first before his face formed into a sort of dopey grin, staring intently on this odd-looking girl. She gave both of us a rush of nostalgia, making us remember how innocent we had been in the mid-60’s when girls like her walked everywhere. As teenagers and young adults, girls like her were the kinds of girls we thought we’d marry, the kinds of girls we lusted over and craved. But as time passed by, go-go boots and mini skirts were replaced by halter tops and hot pants, and so left both mine and Michael’s idea of a perfect girl. And when this beautiful girl reminded us of that, we didn’t know how to react.
Michael immediately tried to brush his hair with his fingers, which didn’t quite work do to his curls bouncing back up immediately after he’d flattened them down. He made eye contact with me briefly before licking his lips and staring back at the girl. I could tell by his usual cocky behavior that he was very confident that he was going to bed this poor blonde before the evening was through. I pitied her, knowing that musicians like Michael used girls like her all the time. For some reason, I was fine when he was with groupies otherwise. But there was something about this girl.
“Go invite her over here, I wanna seem cool.” I nearly scoffed at how arrogant Michael was acting, but with a sigh, I casually walked over to the blonde.
She was standing alone in the corner by the table with the drinks, seemingly debating in her head the benefits of each choice. She was glancing between the fruity vodka and the sweet vodka, for some reason thinking her choice of flavor would alter her life forever.
“Ahem,” I cleared my throat, smiling at her as politely as I could.
She glanced up, her big, blue eyes batting their lashes at me as innocently as possible. She looked no older than twenty.
“Can I help you?” She asked, her accent similar to mine. I was relieved. If she had been American, Michael would have tossed her out like a used trash bag in the morning. He didn’t think too highly of American girls. But she sounded like she was from London or at least the London-based area, so I secretly prayed Michael wouldn’t harm this poor young girl.
“I’m-” I began, extending my hand.
“Marc Lipton,” she grinned, her cheeks naturally pink. “I’ve heard about you.”
“Oh?” I raised an eyebrow, flirtatiously smiling back. “And what have you heard, m’dear?”
“I’ve heard that you’re quite the guitarist, and that many girls around these parts fancy you.”
“Is that so?” I smirked, picking up a bottle of beer from the cooler and raising it to my lips.
“I’m not like those girls,” she replied confidently, matching my smirk with equal sass.
“I can tell, you look a little out of your element,” I replied, scanning her outfit, “or decade, actually.”
“The sixties aren’t that far back, ya know. I don’t care about this fashion, all the ‘grow your hair free’ bullshit. I like to look good, and I happened to look better in sixties clothing than I do in modern fashions.”
“So you’re just a girl, dreaming of the past, aren’t you?”
“I suppose you could say that.”
“Does this mean you oppose everything from this decade, then?”
“I like your music.. and I like a few other new bands, too. But I think most musicians are trashy nowadays, only doing things for the publicity.”
“What about Jock Randall?”
She rolled her eyes and made a disgusted face. “Garbage.”
“He was a musician in the sixties, too, ya know.”
“I liked his image ten years ago far more than this groovy mumbo jumbo. He’s trying to act like a brand new artist, and so are the Randalls. They’ve given up on their sixties roots and replaced it with a raunchier seventies style. It isn’t them, really. And it’s made Jock look like a poser.”
I was quite impressed by this girl’s musical judgement and knowledge. Most groupies and girls hanging around at these types of parties hardly listened to the musicians they slept with. They just wanted in on the party because we were the most famous at the time, and they wanted to be as close to fame as possible.
I glanced out of the corner of my eye and saw Michael glaring at me, arms crossed. I could tell he was growing impatient that I was actually chatting with this bird about something besides him, and was wondering why he hadn’t been introduced to this girl yet.
“I forgot to ask your name, dear. How rude of me.”
“Jennifer,” she smiled, finally deciding for the fruitier of the two drinks and raising it to her light pink lips, “But you can call me Jenny.”
“Jenny. Lovely name, dear.” I gently placed my hand on her lower back and slowly guided her over to Michael. “Listen, I want you to meet my friend-”
“You mean the man with the curly black hair over there, eye-fucking me?”
I couldn’t help but chuckle. “Yes, him. Why do you ask?”
“He’s known for being a player, isn’t he?”
“Yes, but he means well, he just-”
“If you think I’m hooking up with that, you’re mad.”
“I’m sure he doesn’t expect you to-”
“He wants a shag, and I’m not giving him one. I’m sorry, Marc.”
I sighed heavily, knowing if I didn’t bring her over, Michael was going to kill me.
“Listen.. you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. You’re your own person, and you have the rights to control who touches you, I get that.. but if my friend doesn’t talk to you by the end of the evening, he’s going to slit my throat. So just talk to him, please? You don’t have to do anything but talk if you don’t want to. And if he gives you trouble, you just tell me. Alright?”
Jenny sighed and glanced at Michael once more. “Alright. But if he does anything I don’t want him to-”
“Yes, I’ll be here. Just let me know, and I’ll scold him.”
Once again, I lightly walked Jenny over to Michael and introduced them. “Jenny, this is Michael Patrick. He plays for the band Sinister. He was also a session musician in the sixties, I think you like some of his music.”
With that, I walked away, leaving the strange pairing to chat amongst themselves. Jenny was still holding her drink in her hand, and I feared that at any moment she’d get angry and pour it over Michael’s head. But that moment didn’t come. Instead, the two seemed to be getting along pretty well. It felt like hours before one of them even acknowledged that I was still at this party, but that didn’t bother me. It looked as though maybe Michael was ditching his old ways and softening up. That was, until, Jenny stormed off, her face bright red.
I immediately rushed over to her as she was grabbing her coat from the rack. “Woah woah woah, what’s wrong, dear?”
“Everything was going fine until he used one of those cheesy pickup lines and asked me back to his place!”
I chuckled. Michael was the king of ridiculous lines to win girls over. But poor Jenny didn’t know that, and I could tell she was the romantic type. She probably wasn’t used to being treated like this.
“I’m sorry about him.. he can be a bit of a jerk. Why don’t I pay for your cab? As an apology. Unfortunately I don’t have a car with me to drive you home.”
“It’s alright, I can just walk.” She buttoned her overcoat quickly before dashing through the doors, leaving Michael equally as red-faced. He walked over to me in a matter of seconds.
“Can you believe her? Freaking feminist or something, thought she was so special because she was at a Randalls party.” He rolled his eyes, downing his cup of whiskey quickly. “Girls like her, man.. I gotta tell you, too many stuck-up chicks backstage.”
I watched Michael as he continued to drink, blabbering on and on about Jenny’s imperfections. Although she obviously wasn’t a perfect girl, who was? Michael’s comments seemed fake and rather forced, and just the look in his eyes gave off the impression that he was hiding something. I smirked to myself, staying quiet the rest of the evening. I sipped my beer and eyed everyone, keeping secrets in my mind and judgements in my heart. Perhaps Michael didn’t really despise this strange, radical Jenny girl. Maybe he even fancied her, something both Michael and I thought would never happen.
----------------So, what did you think? I would absolutely love feedback, either here in the comments section or here in my Tumblr inbox. I hope you liked it, I shall have chapter two posted soon.
- "I Want You to Want Me" by Cheap Trick
- "London Calling" by The Clash
- "Peace Frog" by The Doors
- "Ride a White Swan" by T. Rex
- "Sick Again" by Led Zeppelin
- "Do Ya" by Electric Light Orchestra
- "Have a Cigar" by Pink Floyd
- "White Room" by Cream
- "It's Magic" by Pilot