We’ve all surely heard by now the very sad news that Lou Reed is no longer with us. His work with and after the Velvet Underground has shaped a lot of our lives. Hearing the news of his loss transported me back to age 20, when I lived in the tiny, unfinished attic of a shithole house for $47 a month because it was close to school and the train, listening to The Velvet Underground & Nico OVER AND OVER CONSTANTLY on a shitty Sears CD boombox, transfixed by John Cale’s viola stabs in “Venus in Furs,” absorbing the lessons imparted by the beauty and clamor of the band’s adventurous musical sensibility and Reed’s mesmerizing lyrical celebrations of low-life much more eagerly than anything I was supposed to be getting out of school. Lou Reed is as much a part of me as he is a part of everyone whose mind was molded, inspired, liberated, and warped by his artistry.
And because my young, forming mind was partly shaped by Lou Reed, I’m a guy who likes to laugh at funerals.
In 1987, filmmaker David Markey, best known for Desperate Teenage Lovedolls, Lovedolls Superstar, and 1991: The Year Punk Broke, made a short film called Lou Believers, featuring “Lou Reed” (actually Joe Cole with a copy of the Lou Reed cover of BAM stuck to his face) running around Los Angeles with Thurston Moore, accosting and terrorizing random strangers in efforts to score heroin and see the James Woods film The Boost. Kim Gordon appears as well. It’s goofy, hammy, less than unscripted, several miles past utterly fucking stupid, and often really, really funny.
OK, it has jack shit to actually do with Lou Reed. Still, maybe give that well-worn copy of Transformer that you broke out for mourning purposes a little break and enjoy this tangentially Reed-related bit of amusing inanity. A little levity can only help, right?