Great (Personal) Moments of Clapton
Eric Patrick Clapton turns 65 today! To celebrate I’m tracking my personal Slowhand timeline.
London, England – Summer 1987 – Tower Records
While clutching cassettes of Back in the High Life and So at the Piccadilly Circus Tower Records I spied a gentleman I believed to be Slowhand, spinning a rack of postcards near the cashwrap while clutching a postcard of a double decker bus. When I asked him if he was in fact Clapton he sighed and said, “Not really, but I will autograph your Peter Gabriel tape.” I slowly backed away from him.
San Fernando Valley, CA – Fall 1992 – Machine Household
Clapton Unplugged became the official soundtrack resulting in life turning into “_____(gerund) the Clapton Unplugged Way”
Parenting the Clapton Unplugged Way…
daughter: Mo-om, did you use all the milk?
La Mommie: Before you ‘cuse me, take a look at yourself…
Naming the Clapton Unplugged Way
auntie: dada, what’s your doll’s name?
dada: Ayla pop me on my knees.
auntie: that’s her full name?
dada: Ayla pop me on my knees.
Los Angeles, CA – Aug 29 1992 – Dodger Stadium
I’m sure I claimed to be elsewhere at the time, but yes, I was in fact in attendance of this fantagical musical meeting of the minds dancing around and being a human Claptonpedia to a Dentist from Irvine who had received tickets from a woman who had the “hots” for him. He brought his best friend. oops.
San Fernando Valley – Spring 1993 – Machine Household
Another trip to Tower Records – this time in Hollywood – resulting in a purchase of a poster similar to this one for me and animal crackers for my 3 y/o personal assistant (my niece).
dada: auntie, Ayla pop me on my knees! (points to poster)
auntie: hey, yeah, cool. except his real name is Uncle Ricky.
dada: he’s my uncle?
Century City, CA – 1996 – AMC Century 14
Sat through the truly terrible film Phenomenon starring John Travolta and was rewarded with what could only be described as pure pop bliss – Change the World – a delicious hold music/wedding song ready bit a of new hotness by old Slowhand.
Fayetteville, NC – Fall/Winter 1999 – La Mommie’s House/Car
La Mommie bought Clapton Chronicles or maybe I did. In any event there wasn’t a Saturday morning cleaning session or a car ride that didn’t involve us accompanying Clapton on a variety of tracks including: “My Father’s Eyes”, “Pretending” (La Mommie: Ooh, I didn’t know he sang this song! *turns up the volume*) and “It’s In the Way that You Use It”.
Fayetteville, NC – Fall/Winter 1999 – Karaoke
Sang I’ve Got a Rock and Roll Heart at Karaoke and tied for first with a regular who often picked a busty lady from the audience – yes, I was one of them – to accompany him on “Islands in the Stream”. I won $35, five of which went to my friend “The Heathers” – as she was called by La Mommie – for gas money.
Asheville, NC – Early 2000 – Warren Wilson College
Made the first and only issue of Peaches and Diesel – a Clapton fanzine – which contained such hard hitting articles as:
• Air Guitar Choreography for Journeyman
• Hair-ic Clapton: Two Decades of Combing Our Hair with a Slowhand
• Rediscovered Gem – Money & Cigarettes
• My AAA card always expires on 3/30 and Other Evidence Clapton Should Be My Friend
Charlotte, NC – May 25, 2001 – Charlotte Coliseum
Won tickets off a Classic Rock Station to concert. Ended up going with the chick who worked at the gas station near Warren Wilson who happened to be getting off work when I went into to gas up and was a RABID CLAPTON FAN, because everyone else on campus laughed at my invitation.
Plainfield, VT – Spring 2002 – Goddard College
Wrote kick ass scathing paper about Clapton’s sketchy remarks regarding immigration and race. He hadn’t yet clarified his initial statements – made in 1978 or thereabouts – and I was tasked with examining problematic behavior of an artist whose works I enjoyed. I did not once mention his deep connection to the music he appropriates or that I played Riding with the King while writing most of it.
It was titled: “Who Originally shot the Sheriff, Eric?” – a nod to the open letter written to Clapton in response to his nasty and racially problematic remarks.
2004 – Present
“It’s in the Way That You Use It” is still a part of my Karaoke set. Didn’t much care for his last couple of releases and no longer call him Uncle Ricky. Still, I can’t deny I’ll always have a Rock & Roll Heart.
Happy Birthday, Mr. Clapton.