I found a box of mixtapes I made in the 80s and 90s. This one is labeled “North Meets South Enchanted Mix 1990” and was made for my friend Dustin Woods after he moved away to Northern California. I lived in Southern California at the time.
Dustin was a deep, heartfelt, romantic and intelligent person who had a passion for vampires, swords, Dungeons & Dragons, Sting, history, mythology and classical music. He was handsome, like a young Nathan Fillion.
He and I both made cloaks like kids today might use for cosplay or larping, but back then there were very few people – far as we knew – who were doing that kind of stuff. When he still lived in the Mojave Desert, he would come over to my house in the evenings, usually around 10pm, we’d put on our cloaks and go for long walks in the dark, talking about everything under the stars. It was an odd thing, but we were comfortable being odd together.
Once, for shits and giggles, he drove me an hour away to Palm Springs, to cruise the strip at night, blasting Toccata and Fugue in D Minor the way other people blasted rock or rap music.
We were goth before we knew what goth was.
For a brief time, during the summer of 1988, we worked together at Baskin Robbins. At night, when we were closing, he would wheel out the mop bucket, beeping and whistling like a robot, and say, “Come along, R2.”
Though I had feelings for him, I never acted on them. I never thought I was good enough for him. He didn’t make me feel that way on purpose, he wasn’t arrogant or anything, totally the opposite. He just seemed like such a knight in shining armor, with a lovely family, while I was a messed up girl with an abusive family. We were both perpetually caught up in bad relationships with other people, for one reason or another, and then when he moved so far away it just wasn’t an option.
We eventually fell out of touch but he is fondly remembered.
- Opens with something I called the “Vampire Mix,” which features the beginning of Toccata and Fugue in D Minor by Johann Sebastian Bach, then jumps through various excerpts from “There’s a Moon Over Bourbon Street” and “They Dance Alone” by Sting, and “If I Close My Eyes Forever” by Lita Ford and Ozzy Osbourne
- “Love Bites” – Def Leppard (1986) full song
- Then we skip around a bit through lyrics from “Heart of Stone” (Cher, 1989), “Fortress Around Your Heart” and “Englishman in New York” by Sting
- The opening lines from “Jenny Wore Black” by Men Without Hats: “Jenny wore black, Jenny wore white, and Jenny was real, but almost not quite…”
- “It Cuts Both Ways” – Gloria Estefan, 1989
- “Unchained Melody” – instrumental version from the 1990 movie Ghost
- “Somebody” – Depeche Mode, 1984. Dustin and I used to talk a lot about our relationships and what we wanted out of life. This song reflects some of the things we talked about.
- “Drive” – The Cars, 1984
- “Part of Your World” – Little Mermaid, 1989. I think I was being a bit obvious here that I had a huge crush on him, but I also really loved this movie and the song itself. It had come out the year before and as an 18-year-old just entering the adult world, I related to Ariel’s longing.
- “Watermark” – Enya, 1988. This song is on the tape because Dustin gave me this album for my birthday. “Watermark” was the first song on the album of the same title and it brought me to tears the first time I heard it.
- “Unchained Melody” – The Righteous Brothers, 1965
- An excerpt from “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel, 1986: “Days pass and this emptiness fills my heart; When I want to run away, I drive off in my car…”
- “Who Wants to Live Forever” – Queen, 1986
- “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” – Bobby McFerrin, 1988. A sort of palate cleanser after so much sad music, and a hope for my melancholy friend.
- “The First Time I Loved Forever” was the theme song for the live-action Beauty and the Beast TV show that ran from 1987 to 1990, starring Ron Perlman as Vincent (the Beast) and Linda Hamilton as Catherine (the Beauty). Some episodes were written by George R.R. Martin.
~ J.L. Hilton
Connect, support, comment or contact the author here