NEW YEAR’S EVE ALL RIGHT by Peter Nolan Smith

In the Spring of 1969 my teenage sweetheart’s mother was dating a Chilean pianist. On a Fridayevening the two adults left the brunette cheerleader in charge of the house and after she put her younger brother to bed, I came over for a study session. An hour at the books was our passport to a heavy petting session, while listening to WBCN, Boston’s hip FM station playing the Ultimate Spinach, Grateful Dead, Ike and Tina Turner, and anything considered unplayable by the AM channels.

Janet and I were into the Jefferson Airplane, although she was more SURREALISTIC PILLOW, while I loved the uncommercialism of AFTER BATHING AT BAXTER’S.

She turned off the lights. The couch was draped with darkness and we explored the mysteries of the human body to Jack Cassady’s bass on SPARE CHAYNGE. Janet fought off my hands’s missions below her waist, but we surrendered our bodies to the ancient tradition of dry humping. While we might not have had sex in its purest form, on several occasions we had come close enough to have achieved the Second Immaculate Conception.

Lying on her couch in the afterglow of our ardor, we lay tight in a loving embrace. Janet was planning on a career in nursing. My father was pushing for me to be a doctor like his father, but I had my doubts. I told them to nobody. In truth I just wanted to lay with Janet and listen to rock and roll.

JJ Johnson was spinning records on the pre-midnight shift.

Teenagers around Boston depended on the black DJ’s taste to determine our cool and JJ Johnson cued up Velvet Underground’s ROCK AND ROLL with an intro monologue, “Here’s BEGINNING TO SEE THE LIGHT by Andy Warhol’s darlings, the Velvet Underground, and nothing says New York City like them.”

The song opened with a strumming guitar riff and Lou Reed singing the title twice. I stiffened with delight, because the Velvet’s lead singer was addressing my questions on life.

“Well I’m beginning to see the light.
Well I’m beginning to see the light.
Some people work very hard,
But still they never get it right.
Well I’m beginning to see the light.
Well I’m beginning to see the light.
Now I’m beginning to see the light.”

I had no idea what the light was.

“What’s wrong?” Janet nuzzled my neck

“Nothing.” It was a lie.

Just like saying I was going to be a doctor. I wanted more and that more was to live in New York. and a year later I broke up with Janet right before her senior prom. That song echoed in my ears every day.

“Beginning to see the light.”

My move to New York took six years.

I spent my first years at CBGBs, Max’s, Hurrah, Studio 54, the Mudd Club, and the Jefferson.

Lou Reed was in hiding as were the other members of the Velvet Underground, for they had abandoned fame for anonymity and I gave up on ever meeting them, then New Year’s Eve 1987 I was drinking industrial strength cough syrup and snorting cocaine with a bunch of friends on West 10th Street.

David Russell, Vickie, Barney and I were having a lovely time, but we weren’t inviting any other guests, since only the innocent can handle the light of day and this was the deepest of night, which was blacker than a teenage girl’s living room an hour.

The TV was tuned to Dick Clark in Times Square.

1987 had ten minutes left on the clock.

We weren’t expecting anyone else, but the door opened for a familiar face and John Cale from the Velvet Underground entered the apartment fucked up as only a demi-rock god can be fucked up.

The legendary musician said nothing, as he walked across the room to pick up the codeine bottle. In one go he chugged half the cough syrup and then puked into a trash can.

“And it was alright.” The line came from SWEET JANE. I liked it even better than BEGINNING TO SEE THE LIGHT. I missed Janet. She was married with two kids. Her husband was a town cop. They made a nice couple.

The pianist wiped his mouth and gave us each a monster line of cocaine.

Real cocaine.

“Merry New Year.” John Cale walked to the fireplace and pissed on the ashes of a Christmas fire before leaving without saying goodbye.

Once the blow burned out, the cough syrup took over us.

We nodded out to the aroma of Cale’s pee.

It smelled like rock and roll, which was why first I had come to New York.

“And it was all right.”

And I hope it was all right with Janet too.

To listen to ROCK AND ROLL please go to the following URL

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2duFNff_ArY

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