Happy Birthday, Deven

Today is my pal Deven Desai’s birthday. He’s, uh, 36, I think. 37? Maybe 37. Somewhere in that area. Yes, it’s bad I can’t remember specifically, but it’s early and I’m groggy. This is my excuse for the day. For all day.

What I do remember is that he’s a fan of Siouxsie and the Banshees, and of the Beatles, so here’s a somewhat pixellated version of the former’s cover of the latter’s “Dear Prudence.”

Those of you with sharp eyes and long memories may spot the Cure’s Robert Smith in the video; for a time he was a member of the Banshees, including for Hyena, the album this song was on. If your response to this is, “well, duh,” you are officially a Goth Nerd. Revel in your time, my friend.

Incidentally, Deven is one of the featured bloggers at the Concurring Opinions legal blog. Why not go for a visit?

24 Comments on “Happy Birthday, Deven”

  1. Hi John! I’ve been coming to your blog for a while now, I really like the tips you give to writers! I started my own blog recently, in fact, the name of the blog (the one in the URL of the website) is a made up word. But I’m afraid it’s in portuguese, just as the blog (I’m brazilian). Oh, is it ok if I add you? Cheers

  2. Ah, the ’80s. When the plot of a video could be reduced to “let’s fly to Venice!” followed by “get a line producer to throw in some video effects” and they could call it a day.

    Of course, the video also didn’t cost in excess of two million dollars, either.

  3. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang at the gates!

    I of course can only hear that name and begin to endlessly repeat in my head “Devin Desai / Devin Desai / Every Single One of Us is / Devin Desai.” Happy Birthday, Sir!

    Not only was Robert Smith doing double duty in both The Banshees and The Cure, he made a kickass album with Steve Severin under the name The Glove called “Blue Sunshine” (which is reputedly the type of acid he was fond of at the time). The Cure also made The Top around this time wish is triple mopey goffik.

    Yeah, I was a goth. So what?!

  4. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang at the gates!

    Sheesh, woulda been nice if I’d read the wikipedia entry before naming the wrong album’s. Now I’ve ruined Devin’s birthday. Damn me!

  5. I remembered my very own Goth birthday way back. No, you’re right, I don’t. I’m really, really glad digital cameras weren’t around during my time.

    Happy Birthday, Deven! 36 is a good year. 37, a very good year.

  6. Happy Birthday to Deven. May he have many many more. With advance in medical science, it’s not unrealistic for him to see 200, maybe even 225. Oh, wait…we may not be that advanced yet. :D

    All kidding aside, I hope it is a great day for him.

  7. Happy birthday to Deven.

    And I, too, was goth from the top of my black hair to the tips of my brothel-creepers. I used baby powder as a face powder, and I still have an unnatural love of velvet.

    Ah well.

  8. Happy Birthday to Deven.

    I still don’t qualify as a goth nerd, even though I knew that. It’s more a case of having a good memory for trivia and hanging out with goth nerds!

    Been lurking around here for a while, figured I’d say Hi! I tend to mostly lurk with sporadic fits of posting.

  9. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang at the gates!

    I officially quit as of now. Hopeless, hopeless, hopeless. At least I spelled that right.

  10. My wife would appreciate this as a birthday tribute…

    We missed Siouxsie playing at Irving Plaza because of a budget crunch. To all the rest of you who have gotten to see her perform live, you have my envy.

  11. This makes me feel like breaking out the old black eyeliner. So, do we get a Goth decoder ring or something equally cool for being in the club?

    And happy birthday, Deven.

  12. What if you’re 37, a commercial litigator, and STILL a goth nerd?

    To celebrate that, I’m going dancing tonight in a club that will ALMOST CERTAINLY play that “Dear Prudence” cover. And “Cities In Dust.” And probably some Tones on Tail. And some Sisters of Mercy. (I’m getting all gothy-excited now. Meaning, I rolled my eyes all disaffectedly and took a breath.)

    I saw Siouxsie but not until the first Lollapalooza–in which she played outside, during the day, in the summertime. It was still good, but it was soooooo weird. And sunny.

    Happy Birthday, Deven!!!!

  13. . . . I’ve always loved this song. I was a big Siouxsie fan and an even bigger Cure fan so this song played well to my sensibilities.

    Robert Smith isn’t the greatest guitar player – but he definitely has a style you can hear in this song – as well as in the Glove. Now I’m going to have to break out may cassette of the Glove – do they still make cassette players these days?

    Happy Birthday Deven!

    -adam

  14. Happy Birthday Deven!

    Hmm, I think I’ll be playing my Goth playlist today. The Alien Sex Fiend cover of I Walk The Line is in there somewhere.

  15. Hell, I saw Siouxsie sans the Banshees a couple of weeks ago. Wherein Dear Prudence was, in fact, performed. As was “Hello, I love you.”

  16. Wow. Thanks to all and especially John. It was a good day indeed. A friend of mine gave a talk at my law school and we rambled fact-to-face about the nature of the law. I taught my Information Privacy class and showed John’s post because believe it or not we had just been talking about Dear Prudence and the Siouxsie version of it. Weird. Then I brought my night class pizza and they brought cake. As John might note, mmmmm cake. Last had a glass of Lagavullin with some friends at the Lodge in La Jolla. I recommend the Scotch and the place.

    One note though I listened to perhaps too much goth music I doubt my attire or makeup (read none) ever lived up to the dedication of many others. I did see The Cure, Siouxsie, Bauhaus (reunion), Love and Rockets, in concerts and still love the music.

    In any event, thanks to all.

    Best
    Deven

  17. On the authorship track… I bought my first Siouxsie album purely because Robert Smith was in the band. Unfortunately it often works the opposite way with authors these days – if I see “Bobbity Bob with Arthur C Clarke” I probably will not buy that book, or anything else by “Bobbity Bob”. Sheesh, think of your own ideas and build your own franchise. I know that publishers only care about blockbusters, but if you can’t write your own material why would I want to read it?

  18. Well, in the case of Arthur C. Clarke, I think he gets a pass because he’s edging toward 100 years old.

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