White Punks on Leonard Cohen via Riff Raff

I must confess to not being a Leonard Cohen fan. So perhaps it’s understandable that “a brief elaboration of a tube” (from Going Home) is completely incomprehensible to me. But then it appears mystifying even to Cohen fans, so there. Likely not anything to do with Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells. Some sexual reference? Who knows? Who cares? Not me. It did bring back memories of watching 14 midnight showings of the Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Key Theatre in Georgetown (Washington, DC).  It happened circa 1978-1980. Every night, before the movie rolled, locals had their own floor show as a warm up to the movie. They cavorted in front of the screen, dancing to a recording of White Punks on Dope, a song by the Tubes. Some dressed as Frankenfurter while others were Columbia, Magenta, Riff Raff–even Brad and Janet.

I brought the props (after my first uninformed viewing) required to actively participate during the movie: toast, rice, a deck of cards, a newspaper and more. Despite my fascination with the movie, I never did participate in the floor show. But then there was the time when 10 of us went to the movie together. The highlight of that event was a visit to Swensen’s, an ice cream parlor a few doors down from the theatre. My wife and I, along with another couple freaked out the straight folks. Beforehand, Nancy dolled up her husband and myself with eyeliner, mascara, eyeshadow and lipstick. No, we skipped Frankenfurter’s lingerie, but still a bit outré for outside the movie.

“Oh no, I can’t look!” a girl in a booth at Swensen’s said to her friend. Oh what fun, disturbing someone’s equanimity. We were all around 30 then but still youthful enough to enjoy such sport.

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