While doing my German & Calculus work today I was accosted by a memory. The song Runaway Train came on the radio. Now people that the only music I listen to is dance and techno would be wrong, I am a die hard supporter of all the club DJ’s in Chicago,I absolutely loved Energy 92.7&5 and would listen religiously. In fact they helped do some of the programming on Sirius Radio, so when they went off the air I naturally went to Sirius Radio! But deep inside I’m a rocker! Bon Jovi, Nine Inch Nails, Guns & Roses, Megadeth and AC/DC. “Shot threw the heart, and your to blame, you give love, a bad name” Anything with a nice good beat and a better arrangement made me happy,so it should come as no surprise to anyone that this is the type of music that was my personal precursor to the emo rock that exists now in the 21st century.
Every one has a song that has helped them cope. Mine was Runaway Train(Soul Asylum 1992). The video came out in the summer of 1993 and received a ton of airplay on MTV and VH1 (remember music videos?) Depending on where you were the music video listed the names of missing children from that country and how long they had been missing. The video also featured a phone number where you could call with information about the said children.
As a teenager when I was depressed this song helped me cope with my solitude. Most times this depression was due to being gay in a small suburb to far from Chicago to be easily accessible to maintain a friendship or boyfriend. On top of that an abusive father, who not only mentally savaged me, but also physically abused me hindered my quest to belong
It seems no one can help me now
I’m in too deep
There’s no way out
This time I have really led myself astray (Lyrics by Soul Asylum)
I often felt the only recourse to my situation was running away, committing suicide or killing my father. With his bigoted views he stood in the way of my perceived happiness and thus was the root of all my problems.
Over and over I would listen to this song and at that age I would believe that there was no way out of my situation. I was on a one way track to hell with no salvation in sight. These problems in my life made me so jaded that I still find myself slipping into those patterns twenty years later where I find it hard to trust straight men. It is these disasters that have plagued my life some of my beliefs have come askew. While some are quite old fashioned, others are progressive if you look at them abstractly. I don’t accept sports, because sports do not openly accept the LGBTQ community. It seems the only time anyone comes out of the closet is after they retire. Just once I would like to see an active gay athlete who we could look up to as a role model that was lacking during my childhood.
I knew who all the gay artists were and owned most of their CD’s which proved to be a superb defense against my solitude. Today I read that Robbie Rogers of the Columbus Crew Soccer Team came out of the closet. Finally a sport I could wrap myself around, not only the hot guys (hey, I’m still young and horny) but one of them is gay, and the other players don’t treat him like a leper. But immediately following he retired, so it appears he was a leper.
While we all get stronger, wiser, and learn better coping skills to insure that things aren’t as crazy and hopeless as we thought. Soon we’ll be able to ask a guy out and not worry him kicking the shit out of you for thinking he’s gay. Someday he’ll just accept the compliment and smile like a polite gentleman as he says no thank you.
Runaway Train Official Video ( The link to the US release of the video. I could not locate the UK, Canadian, or Australian version of the video)
Editted with assistance from Danny Miller