In the winter of that year, I fell into Gentlemen. It seemed to me that I had found something that I had been seeking for a while. Like a nearly still pool it showed me a familiar face, twisted slightly by the currents.
Greg Dullis narrator became my alter ego, he became the voice in my head who guided me in my wanderings. He became the whisper I heard when I was dressing, when I was ordering the first drink of the evening. I should have known there was something wrong when I could hear him. You shouldn’t hear anyone if they aren’t right there.
The Afghan Whigs - Debonair - Gentlemen (1993)
It was a hateful voice, a slow amaretto poison seeping into my ear, slaking a familiar thirst. It was a draught to get drunk on, in the sweetness of the winter. It threw up visions greater than I had seen for years, warm flickering visions. It was soaked up by the limestone of my heart.
I didn’t know it then, but I was not well. I found out much later when a fortune teller in the mountains told me that there had been a cloud over my mind in those months. I realized then, that, yes, there had been a long shadow over that winter.
The Afghan Whigs - Fountain and Fairfax - Gentlemen (1993) - Live in 2012
There was one hallway I walked down, in the middle of the night. I remember it because it seemed to go on forever, floored with marble, lined with bronze statues. It opened onto elegant alcoves with staircases and chandeliers. There were mirrors on the walls in gilt frames. As I passed them, I remember taking pride in the leanness of my jaw, in the cut of my jacket, in the click of my heels on the floor, in the secret of my conquest.
It’s taken almost a year for me to write about this album, and I’ve heard it more than a few times in that year. Finally the whole thing is in the rear view mirror. These are the scrapes and bruises you only see the morning after. And Gentlemen was the morphine that kept my teeth from grinding to dust.
The Afghan Whigs - My Curse - Gentlemen (1993) - Live in 1994
I’m better now. I can recognize my cruelties, and I can mumble apologies to myself. Now, I can see Gentlemen for what it is – an exceptional work of art, the diary of a disease, an exploration of a cancer. Those guitars don’t play for me when I lean across a table. That sweet angelic voice no longer speaks to me. I see true images, upside down and smaller than my desires.
It feels good to be whole again. I'm not the man those actions would suggest.
(Maybe you should just listen to the whole album in studio perfection)