I first saw Neil Young’s Rust Never Sleeps when I was 8 or 9. My brother, who is 9 years older, had a habit of missing curfew and subsequently found himself locked out of the house on an almost daily basis. My parents’ plan for enforcing curfew was that we kids were only given a top lock key. Miss curfew and the bottom lock was engaged. Never a problem for my drunken brother, he just threw rocks at my window until I came downstairs and let him in. If anyone wonders why I am nocturnal, it’s because from 8 – 11 years old, I was accustomed to getting up at 2am and hanging out with my brother, usually watching concert videos. I would cuddle up beside my brother, breathing in beer and absorbing his attention. I learned to expound on why Neil Peart was the best drummer, how Asia wasn’t given the recognition they deserved and at what point the girl threw her bra onstage during Neil Young’s Cinnamon Girl. I regard these moments as the best part of childhood. I used to describe my parents as very nice people who let me live in their house. My brother was family. And for a few hours, late at night, I was allowed to be part of his world. He gave me advice and listened to me talk, without ever making me feel less than his equal, his peer.
On a visit to my brother a few years ago, we watched Rust Never Sleeps together. It was about 20 years later and I had stopped regarding my brother as a god. I think we had even had our first fight by now. But we curled on the couch, both of us with beers this time and I still remembered when the bra would fly onstage.
I just returned from seeing Neil Young’s Heart of Gold. It made me miss my brother. Yet it felt like home, hanging out in the dark with 40 strangers drinking beers, reminiscing with Neil.