The music that made me sicker: Bonjovi – Slippery When Wet


Bonjovi, circa 1986. Naked. NSFW


A man in a white van deliberately killed a pigeon in front of me yesterday, swerving to connect with the ignorant bird. I put my paws over my eyes to avoid the blood and feathers, forgetting that I too was in traffic and therefore smashing into a miniature family, whose dismissive looks made me realise that they hadn’t suffered any mortal wounds.

I thought of that white van guy, so popularised during the hysterical media years of the Irlanda Celtic Tiger as a man who liked to drive in a white van, stop and eat a full Irlanda breakfast roll. I forget the economic implications of his type as I wasn’t really listening. Maybe he was showing off to the friend in the passenger seat, bragging about his ability to both swerve and off rodent birds. I felt sad for my fellow animal. No one deserves to die because a man’s penis is too small.

This slightly macho behaviour brought me back to my early days when as an 11-year old munki, I saw a musical video where what seemed to be hairdressers or coked up afghan hounds called Bonjovi took to a foggy stage and high-jinked a song called, “You Give Love a Bad Name.” I was instantly intrigued. This is what it meant to be a man I guessed. Immediately I grew my hair into unmanageable split ends and pondered whether a bullet smashing through my arteries would indeed lead me to question someone’s shitty attitude toward love.

Back then I was in love with everybody. Love was all around me. Susannah Hoffs hadn’t yet turned up on my doorstop. Still hasn’t. Every girl who walked by was a potential mate. The year previous my munki penis exploded one night and frightened me so much that I asked for random adult help with the facts of life, which I know now is that your paycheck belongs to someone else. Something Tommy knew only too well in the physically impossible “Livin on a Prayer.” But back then in aul Irlanda, the facts of life were taught as a mish-mash of gentle winks; nudges; black magic; don’t touch that or that; treat women like you would treat your sister; don’t treat your sister like you would treat those ‘women’; gay people only exist in America and for God sake don’t bring a baby into this house until you have a mortgage.

Confused and unfortunately not alone,  I followed this Bonjovi thing to its logical conclusion. From constant listening to Slippery When Wet, I innocently dreamed of a life in ‘sunny’ New Jersey. The sex sounds in “Social disease” made me want to go out find a girl and get whatever disease she had, just so I could hit the streets (of my small village) wearing ripped jeans with a silk scarf, a mullet, a loaded tennis racket on my back and admittedly a very itchy scrotal sac.

Back then I thought that all sexy ladies were no doubt blonde, sported tight denim shorts and had sass coming out of their ass. Years later I learned that denim shorts were the evil refuge of line-dancing motherfuckers both male and female who mated regularly on the slippery floors of my local nightclub. Their children now wander around killing pigeons for sport, think abortion only happens on ferries and believe racism is close to cleanliness or godliness. Can’t remember which.

The peculiarities in the image Bonjovi projected were that once you got past the L’Oreal beauty of Jon Bonjovi and the “Joan-Jett-with-a-penis” Richie Sambora, the rest of the band were kinda odd-looking. Drummer Tico Torres looked liked everyone’s Dad or at least the most masculine looking of the Pink Ladies. But it was mad keyboardist David Bryan that I used to find intriguing. He seemed to be a from different planet, almost like a different animal. Bryan had that haunted look of a poodle who was doing something not appropriate to his species, an unhappy Bontempi playing shaggy dog who doesn’t want his paw on the keys. No, he wants his water dish. AND Breakfast. Good boy.

Also weird lyrical confusion in “Livin on a Prayer,” as probably mentioned elsewhere, Gina tells Tommy that we have to hold on to what we got, it doesn’t make a difference if we make it or not. Then later tells him that we’ll make it I SWEAR. Which is it Gina? Which? Fuck sake Gina, get it sorted. Meanwhile, Jon’s back seat seems to be a cesspool of bodily fluids of the good times he had with the good ol girls. Later he seems to move on to just banging prostitutes, but y’know with love in his heart.

Anyways, the demented strains of keyboards at the beginning of this album led me into a world that within months I easily figured how to get out of. As a young child I realised this keyboard solo to be the work not of Satan but a buffoned, narcissistic, arsehole Labradoodle. On a school trip I wandered into a small record shop in the blue-slate mine town of Bangor, North Wales and picked up a cassette of Metallica’s “Ride the Lightning.” I stood in a luminescent cave with headphones on with a look of absolute horror as white skinned creatures crawled down the walls and thought, ‘what the fuck have I been doing listening to fucking Bonjovi!??’

The following day after the death of the pigeon, I accidentally killed a small beautiful Blue Tit. For a moment I felt a surge of adrenaline. I knew that feeling Richie Sambora and Jon felt when writing those songs. Balls brimming with the fluid of the Gods, cowboy boots filled with no socks, wet brains with rawk music sparking and setting fires and an optimism that some good ol boys from New Jersey to Tokyo could look the world straight in the eyes and say “I’ve been to a million places, and I’ve rocked them all!”

Then I looked at the emulsified beautiful bird, frowned and felt like shit for the rest of the day.

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