PG was in the Kroger parking lot, waiting for his brother to buy groceries. To pass the time, he read
Porcelain. This was a memoir, written, allegedly, by Moby. The copyright goes to “Moby Entertainment, Inc.” There is a modern notice below.
“Penguin supports copyright. Copyright fuels creativity, encourages diverse voices, promotes free speech and creates a vibrant culture. Thank you for buying an authorized edition of this book and for complying with copyright laws by not reproducing, scanning or distributing any part of it in any form without permission. You are supporting writers and allowing Penguin to publish books for every reader.” Should PG say you’re welcome?
Page 360 was the focus. Moby was in Portland, at the last gig of a bad tour. He is flying home to Connecticut the next day. His mother is going to die in a couple of days. The christian-vegan-performer is drinking Jack Daniels with strippers. A fan asks him to autograph a bible.
This was 1997. PG saw a few parallels with his life. In late 1997, PG’s mom was still alive, but clearly near the end of her life. 1998 would see the cancer diagnosis, the surgery, the radiation treatment, and finally, the death.
PG quit drinking at the end of 1988, and never looked back. Moby was an alcohol enthusiast, who went straight edge in 1987. Eight years later, Moby gave into temptation, and started drinking again. Evidently, he tried to make up for lost time. His drunken adventures are described in great detail here. How does Mobes remember all that?
Moby continued to call himself a christian, even with more and more doubts crowding into the picture. PG quit going to church at 17. Jesus is impossible to ignore, and only marginally tolerable. Whatever the temptation, and the social rewards, PG has never called himself a christian. In the southern baptist tradition, you walk down the aisle, shake the pastor’s hand, and get baptized. Then you call yourself christian. PG, for various reasons, never took that walk.
The trip to Connecticut did not end well. Moby apparently woke up in the night, and set his alarm clock ahead three hours. As a result, his missed his mother’s funeral. Porcelain starts with young Moby sitting in the car, while his single mom is paid to do laundry for neighbors. While in the car, he heard “Love Hangover,” by Diana Ross, and was impressed.
Page 378 was a few days after the funeral. Moby goes to a party at Windows on the World, on top of the World Trade Center. Few imagined what would happen to that space four years later. (Richard Melville Hall, aka Moby, was born September 11, 1965.) Moby got very drunk, and had sex in a ladies room stall. After the act, Moby was staring out the windows, looking at New York, and crying. The DJ played Downtown, by Petula Clark.
On January 23, 1965, Downtown, was the number one hit in America. When Moby was born, eight months later, the number one hit was Help, by the Beatles. PG turned eleven in 1965. Thousands of drafted young American men were sent to Vietnam. The techno dystopian world of nineties New York was a few years down the road.
The last few pages see Moby driving, without a license, through the Connecticut of his youth. He is listening to a rough cassette. The tunes on that cassette will become Play, sell millions of units, and make Moby a star. All this will be in the second volume of his memoirs, currently in production.
While waiting for the next part of this story, maybe a few one star reviews will be amusing. John The most depressing book I’ve read in a while. I used to love Moby. When it was announced he was writing a biography I was very excited…that is until I read it. Moby has always had the reputation of being arrogant and rude. Well it won’t disappoint the critics. This is the worst autobiography I have ever read. Self indulgent and pretentious from start to finish. … Startlingly transphobic. I gave up. I will admit, I didn’t get through the entire book. But that’s the reason for this review. I put up with seven chapters filled with tales of death, drugs, and destitution, all with way too much specific detail to be totally true. In chapter 8, Moby starts getting into some pretty blatantly transphobic territory, repeatedly calling people the derogatory “tranny” and using pronouns like “his/her”…
Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. Pictures were taken in Louisiana, August 1940. The photographer was Marion Post Wolcott