Monday, 5 May 2014

In Bed With JD Twain

I'm in bed with JD Twain. If ever there was proof that the truth can be taken out of context, this is it.

It started and ended innocently enough: he’d made his record collection available to me and I intended to take advantage of a couple of albums and then take myself to bed.

Instead and one might even say “inevitably”, he found me at 4am, woozy and freezing cold in his den with records scattered all around. I could no more listen to “a couple of albums” than an alcoholic could take one drink, and In LA, nights are colder than you might think. He invited me to his room to continue listening there, and that's how I ended up in bed with one of the most notorious rock stars in history. The lights are dimmed and we both climb under the comforter to keep warm. Ella Fitzgerald is on the turntable.

He has an unexpectedly gentle quality about him, as long as you’re not in his pool of eligible sexual partners. According to Twain himself, there are 2 or 3 women at most in his existence who have been outside this group:  his mother, Rosalie Cochran and for reasons I don’t quite know: me.

’I’ve actually been sincerely, truly faithful to one woman for 30 years,’ says JD, voice a low, late night rumble. I don't believe him for a second and even in the near-dark, he can tell. ’No really, I dedicated myself to Rosalie many years ago and believe it or not, I haven't betrayed that faith.  She is my best friend. I have never loved anyone with the depth feeling I have for that girl. I followed her around the world.’

'Surely she followed you?’ I ask.

’Touché.  OK, let me rephrase: she's the only person I've ever invited to come with me, the only person I've ever wanted to share my life with. If I was the marrying type, she is the only option. I'm not the marrying type. Rosalie and I succeed because we never made sex part of our shared existence. I won't lie: I'm a terrible guy when it comes to sex. I have no loyalties, no connection other than in that moment. Some people have suggested, Rosalie included, that this is an outdated outlook, but shouldn't I be authentic to myself? Wouldn't it be more of a lie for me to pretend not to be JD Twain?’

We are extremely close. I can feel his warm breath on my neck where I'm curled up around one of the pillows. He is stretched out diagonally across his king size bed, his skin contrasted by the dark purple of the Egyptian cotton sheets and his long dark hair pooled against the pillow upon which his head rests.

He looks like an emperor at rest, waiting for the next concubine to arrive. Really, there should be a minion serving him grapes while another keeps some cool with a giant fan. Certainly there are plenty of candidates for both roles: there are still plenty of people, male and female, who would happily debase themselves for a night with JD Twain even as he grows older.

All I had to do was ask to borrow his record player. I still can't quite believe the position I find myself in.

’You remind me of her… just a little…’ his tone is wistful, his eyes a little sad, ’I mean, as she was when she was young and before we ruined her.’

’Is that what you did?’ I ask.

’Most certainly we did, me especially. We wore her down and if you knew-’

’Knew what?’ My spidey senses tingle. ’What did you do? Is this about her leaving the band?

He closes his eyes and at such close quarters I can see the true state of him: sometimes the toll of his hard, reckless life really does show through the sheen of beauty and cool.
‘No,’ he says. ‘We ruined her long before she left. I did…’

’It's all just illusion. And myth and legend and... I'm no more the JD Twain in the stories than you are. I am, however, the greatest actor since Peter O’Toole and Richard Burton put together.’

The Ella record is finished and we are surrounded by silence. After a moment, noise from outside disrupts us only a little. It is so late that we are likely the only people awake in the entirety of Laurel Canyon. Even musos and wasters sleep at that time beyond the witching hour.

‘Sleep, kid,’ he mumbles, eyes drooping. ‘We’ll go with Sarah Vaughan in the morning.’

I close my eyes and sleep as he recommends, knowing that when I awake, the strange spell over us will be broken and we will be our usual selves again.

1 comment:

  1. You have a beautiful way with words. Lovely scene, the relaxed state and and ease of the moment works well between these characters. Great job, as always.