This Mortal Coil


Cover of third album by 4AD super-group, TMC (1991)

Chris, Dave and I were wedged into a one-bedroom cottage above a Texaco off Division Street in Ocean City, Maryland. The CD function “Repeat” was still a novelty to us in 1992, and we put the record Blood on by This Mortal Coil each night before going to bed, on Repeat.

Most people haven’t heard it, and it’s not for most people. It was the jewel of the 4AD record label for me, tastemakers of the 80s and 90s.

Chris, Dave and I would debrief most days when we saw each other, and marvel over what song we awoke to in the middle of the night.

We went our separate ways at the end of the summer: Chris, back to Pittsburgh, Dave, back to Erie, me back to Allentown, Pennsylvania.

The original plan was to move to Boulder, but we compromised on Ocean City at my urging, as a test to see if we could get along.

I moved in to an apartment by myself, next to the art museum, rented by an old Czech jeweler and his wife, Mabel. The jeweler was terribly thin, with a thick white mustache and bad English. His name was Jules.

Mabel ran the show, with the deadlines on rent and rules about making too much noise, since they lived upstairs. I noticed Jules left the recycling bin full with Budweiser cans each week, which made me wonder what went on upstairs after he took off his tie and magnifying glasses.

On the day I moved in I met Christopher Cross, who asked me on the street if I was an artist. He then hired me to write stories for a small newspaper he was starting up, aimed at resurrecting all the excitement of Allentown, Pennsylvania, bless his heart.

The newspaper folded and they demolished the apartment a few years later. Jules and Mabel are surely dead. The music is preserved digitally and if you are reading this, consider buying it and making some memories of your own.

04 With Tomorrow

About pinklightsabre

William Pearse publishes memoir, travel journals, poetry and prose, and lives in the Pacific Northwest.
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