Hospitality

“Nine Inch Nails’ The Downward Spiral is a record you can’t listen to alone,” says Mark Jamieson, a Scotsman like me, loyal to his women. I’ll say his name. Though he was a terrible alcoholic, he was a great man.

 

He was U2’s backstage pass guy. Hospitality, they call it. He told Madonna where she could go. She came to the door with a bunch of dames. “You can come in, but you can’t bring all your friends in.” “Nice to be able to say that to Madonna,” my friend Tom says.

 

He used to commandeer the jukebox at Cambridgeport Saloon. The first time I met him, he was wearing a Motors tee shirt. That’s how I knew he was cool. There’d be about sixty songs cued up and the bartender would say, “What do you want, Mark?”

They knew who he was, and so did I. He used to talk nonstop about Bono’s talking nonstop. He looked like a tall Jim Morrison. “Jim Morrison times ten,” as someone I encountered after some music guessed when I told him about him.

 

Though his status with U2 grants him immortality, the thing he kept emphasizing was a movie was based on his love life, Reality Bites, starring Ethan Hawke, in a love triangle with Ben Stiller and Winona Ryder. He had had a bittersweet marriage with an MIT architect, and he couldn’t forget her. Groupies just didn’t do it for him, I guess.

 

I don’t know what happened to him. We were supposed to go to a Wedding Present concert together, at Aerosmith’s club, Mama Kin, but he was incapacitated. He even fell off his barstool. It was sad. And still he meant so much to me. I admired him and looked up to him.

 

One night a bunch of girls were talking to me. One of them took a pack of cigarettes out my hand and crushed them, because she was worried about my smoking. Here he was, Jim Morrison, Mark, and the girls were talking no interest in him, just in me. I guess it should have made me feel good, I just felt bad for Jim.

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