Hello, JG here. I just lit a patchouli incense and refilled my cup of coffee and am staring into this brief window of faux spring – wondering where to begin. How does one unpack their feelings for a person inseparable from a sound that takes you to that place ?
Do you know that place ? Have you been?
I used to have a room there. I go back there sometimes to visit, there is a great balcony.
For context, Cindy Lee is the drag persona and audible project of Pat Flegel, arguably a cult hero in the eyes of the people who appreciate a guitar riff – though it would be misleading of me to steer into that past connection, as the way she approaches making this music feels very distinct to me.
When I listen to Cindy Lee recordings I often feel the most cathartic orchestra of hash angels ringing through my room, as though I become aware again of every hand I’ve ever held and at the same time conscious that there is nobody coming. As though my hands are clean, washed over by this sound offering to the bearings of solitude, I become so available to this resonance. With the luster of a renewed faith in tragedy, it is the door slamming in bright tones and the pearl atlas opening up intuitively. It’s the speeding car with flame decals carrying every cassette from the early 1960’s girl group in the console, and I get in knowing that I won’t be back for a little while. It’s music for one who wonders what it means to be a sprig of chamomile trying to flower in a pavement vase.
I am always transfixed by Cindy Lee and the way she mends melodies that walk you through the doorway of operas and soul ballads, to Cambodian Khmer pop and Eurythmics-esque new wave, then down hallways veering into a tin-can basement to bask in dissonance.
Sometimes I think it’s like if Annie Lennox and The Shirelles were performing in the courtyard of a construction site in full operation and the show would continue when the workers took their lunch break and that’s when the audience would realize the beauty of danger and the danger of beauty and all be holding each other closely. But that’s a weird analogy, right?
I’d recommend listening to the Cindy Lee records for yourself, hold onto the faith that she is an angel who is going to slow dance on your heart while performing, and feel free to call me if you need anything.