Backstage Adventures

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The Adventures of Zoë

Robert Smith of The Cure

Chapter 1 -

In which Zoë is interviewed by
The Cure's Robert Smith

"Cool, I've been granted a backstage pass for The Cure tonight! Now, let's see… I have that dentist's appointment, but that shouldn't take long, then I have to swing by Mark's place in The City and pick up the signed contract, then it's off to Oakland and trying to find a parking place at that blasted venue…."

Zoë is, as usual, whirling through the day with too much to do, but it's fun, really. Or at least it is most of the time. And it looks like there'll be enough time and energy to meet the demands of this particular day….

"Uh-oh, looks like you've got an abscessed tooth there," the dentist chirps, as he reaches for the needle.

"Damn my high tolerance to pain killers," Zoë groans as the doc plunges the needle into her jaw for the fourth time. Two hours later, jaw numb and head swirling, Zoë is zipping along the under-utilized Embarcadero Freeway. "Thank God Mark taught me this back way into the city," she sighs, "though it's such a scary trip." Highly elevated above the warehouses and docks of the area known locally as South of Market (SoMa), the freeway curves and banks so that as you come around the turns you can only see sky out to the right. "And you can't tell me this is all going to stand next time we have a big earthquake," Zoë shudders. (Turns out, Zoë's instincts were right—but that's another story for another day.)

This day, well, early evening by now, Mark is waiting for her in the warehouse studio he shares with his cartoonist brother. A good photographer, Mark had come to her when he was still a student at the Academy of Art and she was putting out a popular local 'zine. But she'd stopped doing that—too much work—and now Zoë was running an agency for writers and photographers. Mark has come a long way since she'd first taught him how to cope with the all the security problems that arise and the ins and outs of dealing with musicians and their tour managers and publicists and hangers on. But Mark is also—like every rock photographer she was ever to meet—really difficult to deal with. And tonight is no exception.

"Who needs this?" she wonders as she speeds off into the night, circles the venue, drives up and down dark streets in a bad Oakland neighborhood (read: crack dealers et al), gets lost, drives around and around again and finally finds a place to park.

"Oh, Lord, please let my ticket and backstage pass be there," Zoë prays. "That's all I'd need to cap a perfectly horrible day! 'Cause you just never knew what is going to happen when you front up to that window and say the (supposedly) magic words, "My name's on the list."

The Cure pass

But tonight, finally, something does go right, and moments later Zoë is inside with all the rest of the Goths that emerge from who-knows-where every night in the San Fran area. Long, black, lacy dresses, jet-black dyed hair, pale, pale skin and red, red lips… Every Goth in the area is here tonight to see/worship their hero, Robert Smith. Ah, yes, the legendary, lipstick-smeared Robert Smith. Married to a self-proclaimed witch, his girlfriend from the age of 15; lover of the works of Proust and Baudelaire, and oh so disdainful of most people—or so the industry gossip goes.

Goodness knows how I've made it this far, Zoë thinks, as she staggers about. "I feel so woozy, so weird. Maybe it's just all the stage fog and laser lights and these people who all look like vampires out for a good time…"

"But at least the show is over (God, aren't I terrible!) and I can do the meet-and-greet-thing and you just never know what might happen then. Maybe something interesting."

"Ooh, Zoë," everyone's exclaiming, "What's with you? Your pupils are just tiny little dots."

"Oh, of course, that explains it! This afternoon I had a root canal and lots of Novocain and everything's pretty strange right now, and…." 

"Oh, why is Robert Smith walking toward me with a microphone in his hand?" Zoë wonders, just as he says, "Here's an airhead, say something, airhead."  And thrusts the mike in her face. "Oh, what am I babbling about," Zoë wonders through the Novocain-induced brain fog... Then,  just as suddenly as he'd approached, Robert says, "Ah, you're not an airhead at all," and walks away, surrendering the mike to a girl, who immediately says, " And that was Robert Smith, live on the air.…"

"What! What! Oh, what is going on?"

Hey, we're on the radio, and Robert's taping it for his collection.

"Great, I'm in Robert Smith's personal collection of interview tapes," Zoë groans, "and I have no idea what I just said. I must've made a fool of myself! Or maybe not.  After all, he did say I wasn't an airhead..."

Zoë can't quite figure out what to think, really, as now the tour manager approaches.

"Say, are you coming to the next show?"

"Uh, where is it?"

"Los Angeles."

"LA? I hardly think so, how would I get there?"

"Oh, you can come with us on the bus, we'll drop you off nearby afterwards."

"Nearby! LA is 500 miles from here! You want me to leave my car in a bad neighborhood in Oakland and climb onto a bus for the next two or three days in just what I have on my back?"

"Hey, c'mon, we're leaving now…. Don't worry," he says, "We'll take care of you."

"Yeah," Zoë thinks as she walks away, "I can just imagine what you mean by that!" 

"Though, I know I'll always wonder what it would've been like to travel to LA on the tour bus with the Cure."

Interview with The Cure next


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