Onto side C, where we kick off the second record with a mondegreen.
One of my favorite lyrics in “Vibe So Hot” is when Benji Hughes sings “I’m standing in a cape on your lawn.”
Only that’s not the line. It’s “I’m singing in a camp on your lawn.”
It took Priscilla Ahn’s cover version to make me realize my error (fun fact: Jonathan Wilson’s cover goes “singing to the bird on your lawn”), but when it came time to write the L Extreme chapter I owned my mistake and did it the way I always heard it.
What would someone standing in a cape on someone’s lawn do? Especially if that someone had a jambox at their disposal?
Sometimes stories write themselves. From here we take our cues from most of the remaining lyrics in something resembling a play by play of a song that isn’t that type.
Plot-wise I knew it was time to get the whole gang together and moving towards a resolution of what was set up on the first two sides, so here we have Benji, C, L, and Frank all interacting (albeit sometimes from afar) for the first time.
- Side C’s title bounced between Love is Weird, Love is Wild, and Love is Far Out over the years—all nods to spoken word segue samples found on OXOXOXOXOX (aka A Lovers Extreme). I considered changing it per format so the ebook/paperback/hardcover would each be different. I also almost used all three, but didn’t like the way it looked in print. So officially it’s far out, but spiritually it’s all of the above.
- Edit: Old note I found in an early draft: “Love is a weird, wild, far out extreme razor on a budget you still gotta do next time (maybe, I think) everybody, fall me in.” Maybe the 3 part title wasn’t so crazy…
- The song “Turn on the Charm” felt like a natural companion piece to “Vibe So Hot” for reasons I can’t quite articulate.
- It took a long time to get the continuity of the jambox controls right between chapters. It deviates slightly from how a jambox actually works, but these things matter.
- L lives on the third story since this is Side C—the third story of the book.
- Where else can you find three Dire Straits jokes in a row? Over here.
- “A week of bad songs” was quoted out of context from this Vulture interview, while “situations with the neighbors” is something Benji says in a promo video for A Love Extreme.
- I didn’t know C would be the DJ or Frank would return here until I wrote the scene, but it’s a great off the cuff right place / right time situation.
- “I thought he couldn’t speak” is another LILILIL reference about Space People. Invoking hat line is the main reason for Frank’s silence at their first meeting and Heartman & Songstress’s silent movie origins. I tried rewriting Frank’s intro to allow for talking, but ultimately preferred introducing him as a strong silent type.
- Remember earlier when C said “I can’t recall” would be a better alibi than “I had bronchitis” back in “You Stood Me Up” a few chapters ago? It’s almost like Frank was dropping eaves…
- Another draft had Frank solely speaking in Frankenstein quotes. That gimmick couldn’t quite carry all of his dialogue, but was fun enough to keep a smattering of for phrasings like “I am fearless and therefore powerful” and “she might refuse to comply with a compact made before her own creation.” (There’s also a plot reason Frank knows these excerpts we’ll get to later.)
- “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” is the song John Lennon actually wrote, not “He Ain’t Heavy” from the trippy Chapter 1. Another part of the in-joke here is Benji Hughes also has a song titled “I Want You.”
- “Could she not understand why the little voice inside her head was now outside her head?” is a big clue hidden plainly in the narrator’s rambling non-sequiturs.