Fellow citizens of Bootleg City, I have something to confess — I am not a fellow citizen. I’m the mayor. I’m up here, and you’re down there.

That’s why certain people (I don’t want to name names, but here’s a clue in the form of a simple anagram: MATTWARDLWA) would like to see me fall from grace — they don’t want anyone blocking them as they make their own way up the ladder. And once they’re at the top they’ll give lip service to being “a man of the people,” and they’ll address you as “my fellow citizens,” but trust me, they won’t mean it.

The truth is, it’s fun to be in power. It’s fun to look down and see who’s even balder than you.

It’s also fun to abuse power, and that’s exactly what I did last month when I let my libido lead me away from Bootleg City and off to Spain for a few days. I wasn’t even thoughtful enough to leave a sign on my office door that said “Back in five minutes, or whenever this erection dies down.”

I didn’t let anyone know where I was going. I didn’t put anyone in charge in my absence. Do I regret it? Not really. But do I need this job? Absolutely. I mean, have you people seen what the job market’s like right now? Holy crap!

In that (heavenly) spirit, let me just say that I am SO SO SO VERY SORRY for abusing my power. I’m embarrassed that an e-mail about my sexual fetishes was made public, but I’m not going to apologize for said fetishes since I’m not a married man, and therefore I haven’t humiliated anyone but myself.

Unless you count my former Spanish lover, Anita, of course, who was the recipient of that e-mail. And I guess my parents might be disappointed in me. And my godchildren.

Alright, fine, I’ll apologize to them. But not to anyone else, and that includes you.

I am going to apologize to the entire continent of Africa for dragging it into that e-mail for the sake of a bad pun, but I’m not going to apologize for telling my former Spanish lover in another e-mail that, sexually speaking, I would leave her more devastated than San Francisco circa 1906.

Nope, I’m not going to apologize for that, because I think it’s obvious I could’ve used Haiti instead. But that’s the kind of insensitive topical joke Matt Wardlaw would have made, not me. Shame on you, Mr. Wardlaw, for not knowing comedy equations that involve tragedy and time! Have you no shame? Well, you do now, because I just said “Shame on you!” That means shame is on you!

All better now, citizens of Bootleg City? I hope so. But in order to give this February “sweeps”-worthy scandal the proper amount of time to blow over, I’ve gone on vacation again, as you may have noticed last week when Matthew Boles presented you with a Blue Angel concert. I was all prepared to address you myself, but Matthew called me earlier in the week and said, “I got pictures.”

Those three words were enough to shut me up for a week. In fact it wasn’t until last Saturday that I thought, “Boles has got a pretty thick mountain accent. Did he actually say ‘pitchers,’ not ‘pictures’? Did I give up an opportunity to drink free margaritas all night? Or hear a sob story from Roger Clemens about his abuse of steroid power?”

Regrets. I’ve had a few.

Anyway, since I’m on vacation, I’m not worrying about deadlines like the one I missed yesterday. Besides, I asked Tiger Woods to say a few words on my behalf at his press conference yesterday, and though he didn’t mention me by name, he did make a very good point about our mutual problem: “Buddhism teaches that a craving for things outside ourselves causes an unhappy and pointless search for security.” In other words, all I ever needed was right here in Bootleg City. (Normally I would cue up the “aww” noise on My Own Personal Laugh Track 3000® device right now, but it’s in the shop, so you’ll have to provide the vocal empathy yourself.)

Oh, and I also need lots and lots of taxpayer-funded vacation time, though I won’t be taking a permanent vacation like the Go-Go’s. That’s right — the pop-punk quintet is finally calling it quits after a tour this summer, which is why it’s a good time to look back at their early days, specifically the summer of 1981, when their debut album, Beauty and the Beat, had just been released. This particular bootleg comes to us courtesy of — oh, great, now I have to backpedal and say something nice, or at least backhanded — Matt Wardlaw, that ambitious little go-getter! Keep reaching for the stars, good buddy, even if you never make it to your destination.

This particular Go-Go’s show was recorded at Emerald City in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, on August 31, 1981, for broadcast on WMMR 93.3 FM in Philadelphia. Before you catch Charlotte Caffey, Belinda Carlisle, Gina Schock, Kathy Valentine, and Jane Wiedlin for the last time this summer, check out one of their early performances as an up-and-coming MTV sensation.

Skidmarks on My Heart
How Much More
Fading Fast
London Boys
Cool Jerk
Lust to Love
Can’t Stop the World
This Town
You Can’t Walk in Your Sleep (If You Can’t Sleep)
Our Lips Are Sealed
Let’s Have a Party
We Got the Beat
Surfing and Spying
Beatnik Beach

About the Author

Robert Cass

Robert Cass lives in Chicago. For Popdose he's written under the Sugar Water, Bootleg City, and Box Office Flashback banners and collaborated on the series 'Face Time with Jeff Giles and Mike Heyliger.

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