Cool David Ehrenstein Tribute to Nico

There’s a lovely tribute to the late Warhol superstar and sometime Velvet Underground collaborator Nico over at novelist Dennis Cooper’s Blog.

The author, David Ehrenstein, presents it for “Nico Day” — did you even know it was Nico Day last weekend? I didn’t — and I bet Hallmark doesn’t, either. Anyway, the tribute features a great array of images and links to YouTube footage, much of it random-feeling — like the bits and pieces of Nico’s career.

The text is mostly factual and short on commentary until the very end, when there’s a bunch of truly bizarre text at the end that makes me think Ehrenstein mighta cut and pasted this from his Facebook page. It’s interesting on a whole ‘nother level.

The weirdness of the text at the end made me pontificate on the kind of crap I would have gone through in 1987 to find video footage of Nico, or anyone connected with the Velvet Underground, really.

Nico in "La Dolce Vita."

I would have driven to San Francisco and scoured the town’s second-hand record stores finally found a bootleg version of some Italian documentary on Nico on Beta at a vinyl joint in the Haight and then run out of gas on the way back and spent the night sleeping in the back seat of a ’76 Dodge parked in a cornfield, cradling the tape and crooning, “She’s a femme fatale…”

Then, said bootleg footage obtained, I would have hung out with some really creepy weirdo I met through my job at the grease factory who was the only person I knew who had a Beta machine and liked the Velvet Underground, with both of us staring at the screen and asking, “You’re sure you don’t know anyone who speaks Italian?”

Then, halfway through, when the guy’s girlfriend stumbled home from her job at the strip joint out on I-5 and proceeded to shoot up heroin in front of me and then vomit on my copy of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas while the eighteen minutes of Nico interview footage on the $50 Beta tape lapsed into an old half-demagnetized version of “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly,” I would have thought:

“This is it, man. I’m living the Bohemian dream.”

Those were the days, bubba. It’s a hell of a lot easier now; I just sit here drinking coffee and waiting for the Google Alerts to roll in.

Anyway, the piece came to me through a blog called Grounds for Appeal, which promises “Criminal Defense and Rock & Roll.” I’m not sure whether that’s cooler or less cool than “Comedy Traffic School” or tour guides who sing, so I’ll just leave it be.

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