It wasn’t long before Billy’s room became a place of exotic mystery for me. I caught quick glimpses of what was inside. I remember a shrunken head (a replica) hanging from the overhead lamp. I remember an ever-changing collage of album covers on the wall. I remember the black light lamp above his bed and the four speakers in the corners that were all bigger than me. 4 Shades were always drawn over sealed windows. It was a deep dank cave that screamed "Abandon all hope ye who enter" every time I walked by. Or at least, "You can never go back."
It took years and Billy growing up and moving to another state before I worked up the courage to go in. Everything was as I remembered. It was a room filled with untouched relics of a 1970’s teenager. It was kind of hokey in a way, but my sense of awe remained. I heard Golden Earring’s Radar Love through those walls. Sabbath’s Iron Man. Zeppelin... the endless Zeppelin.
Every once in a while, I’ll hear Zeppelin on the radio and I am transported back to the self who couldn’t understand the point of burning that very strange incense and wondered why the songs annoyed my grandmother so.
And that’s pretty groovy.4
1Bill’s about ten years my senior, and is the only person on record to have threatened me with a swirlie.
2This was offered shortly after the mandatory class about the evils of masturbation. Ah, Catholic school, how you tasked me.
3Afterwards, I gave Bill a call and asked if I could borrow some of his LPs. Then I totally rocked out.
4It’s entirely possible that they were bigger than me now. This was the era before Bose and miniaturization of audio components. Then, if it was big, it had to be good.
4It's also pretty groovy that I've a couple of friends who have started discovering just how geek Zeppelin was.