Tuesday, 29 October 2013

The first time I met Lou... by Rufus Wainwright

The first time I met Lou I was terrified. It was when I was a bus boy at the Lion's Head Restaurant on Sheridan Square in NYC in the early 90's. I was working the brunch shift that fateful day when one of the waiters called in sick and presto, I was instantly promoted and flung into the circus of hung over diners. Initially I was excited to move up the ladder, but my joy was short lived: my first ever customer would be Lou Reed. I will never forget it. That hair, those eyes, and I believe a white blazer with rather accentuated shoulder pads (not a look he had for long). After sheepishly approaching his table I timidly requested his order to which he emphatically stated that in no uncertain terms he would have "French Toast with NO BUTTER". It was a serious New York moment (especially since in Canada one would never dream of eating French Toast without butter!) and the experience was immediately tatooed onto my memory. We later became great friends and admirers of each other's work and I, as well as countless others, owe him so so much in terms of forming real and true artistic sensibilities. He basically taught the world how to NOT compromise." NO BUTTER!" Such a loss but at the same time, such gain. Still, that very first memory I will cherish since although it was a rather short and simple statement, here we go again: "French Toast with NO BUTTER!", it could have been a soliloquy from Hamlet or a Puccinni Aria: I had just met fucking Lou Reed!