In Memory Of Lou Reed

Final photograph of Lou Reed by Jean Baptiste Mondino.

Tuning in to the Velvet Underground

By Michael Goldberg.

In the winter of 1972 I got my fingernails painted purple because of Lou Reed. I wore purple lipstick too, and the same female friend who did my nails and loaned me her lipstick dyed my long frizzed-out brown hair Henna black.

Those were the days when it wasn’t that odd for a guy to wear platform boots with three or four-inch heels – and makeup — at least in New York or London, but at UC Santa Cruz, where I was a sophomore, where my good friend’s girlfriend did glam makeovers on him and me, we stood out. It felt dangerous walking around looking outrageous, like a character from a Lou Reed song.

It was a strange time, the early ‘70s, and for me – I turned 19 in the summer of 1972 – Lou Reed was a touchstone. Along with the Stones and Dylan and Iggy and Captain Beefheart he helped me see through some of the mixed-up confusion, helped me with my on-going search of self-discovery.

You know, who was I?

Lou Reed’s recent death made me think about the impact the one-time leader of the Velvet Underground had on me. Still has on me.

For the rest of this column, head to Addicted To Noise.

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