I was seventeen when I was first introduced to Jeff Buckley. An older, cooler, dude from the cafe I worked in on weekends would lend me stacks of CD’s, of music he thought I should know.
One day he he handed me an album with a pretty faced young guy on the front, wearing a spangled jacket, and an earring. The way he clutched the microphone made him look like an easy listening crooner like Harry Connick Jr. So needless to say, I was reluctant on this one.
But within three tracks of Grace I was in deep, undying, besotted love. How could this man sing like a choir of angels one minute, then be like a howling like a sex wolf the next, then shredding the guitar like Hendrix. All whilst looking like a hotter, prettier, version of James Franco in Freaks and Geeks, as if that were even something I ever thought possible.
As my listens to the album grew into the ten’s, then the hundreds, and I learned more about him via obsessive internet reading and the couple of iffy biographies that the local library had, so did my love for him.
He had everything that a romantic, endlessly-dreaming, music obsessed teenage girl could ever want – an infamous, tragic, famous musician father who died young, a pained and tortured soul as he deals with these inevitable family comparisons, a deep set rage and anguish, good looks, infinite talent, New York kudos, and then, of course, his own mysterious, unexpected, heartbreaking death at the young age of 30, as he was right on the cusp of recording his second album. With his death he left the world one perfect album to fetishise and idolise – his legend and beauty set in stone forever.
Consequently I dearly wanted a troubled and pained boyfriend of my own, who played guitar hilts peeking through his gorgeous lush fringe. Who’d let me wear his musky flannel shirts, whilst he opened his heart and soul to me about his family sorrow, and wrote epic seven minute love songs, for me, about the first time we made love, or fucked, or both.
But now here I am, aged 33, and with a few of those emotionally tortured and pained boyfriends under my belt, for which I definitely blame Jeff for, I think I can say that I am well and truly over that fantasy. It all seems nice and romantic, whilst staring at your bedroom walls, listening to Last Goodbye for the 16th time that day, but in reality I now know it means nothing but long nights of sulking in silence, butterflies in the gut (and not the good kind), arguments in public places, and spending hour upon hour listening to him whinge about his problems and feeling and tears. Oh and so many tears. So many. Some are his, but they’re mostly yours. In fact, they’re pretty much always yours. Despite all of this, you’ll hang on, suffering, convinced you can fix him, you can cure his pain, you can be the one to make him happy. And then in the end, he’ll be the one to dump you, and creak your heart, because you know, he told you all along he wasn’t ready for this kind of relationship, he never promised you more, he can’t do this, he’s to damaged and you’ll never truly understand his situation and damage…or some other bullshit that he’ll cry at you as he walks out the door.
Nope. Give me an emotionally available, happy, kind, and committed type who has a steady job, gets along with his parents, thinks that sulking is for five year olds, and isn’t afraid to talk about, or make plans with you, further than two weeks in advance.
And Jeff? Well I’ll always love his music, the album Grace, and have a special spot for him in my heart that we reserve for all of our first loves. But otherwise, geez, what a huge sulky man-baby he was.
In fact, I’m going to declare it: Jeff Buckley would have been the most insufferable, exhausting, self-indulgent boyfriend ever.
I’d still pash him though.