When art director Todd Franson outlined his cover concept for our special Capital Pride issue -- a simple pattern of vertical colors, taken from the rainbow flag -- I knew exactly where he was coming from.
"Just like the Pet Shop Boys' Introspective album?"
Magazines are so much easier to produce when everyone's on the same pop wavelength.
For me, the connection between the two -- Pride and the Pet Shop Boys -- is fitting. The album was released in October of my senior year of college, when I was still adjusting to being out of the closet. My coming out wasn't a prideful affair given that it was totally involuntary, and I was surrounded by what seemed to be the world's largest concentration of College Republicans. There were a handful of us who banded together, however, including my friend Mike.
Mike and I would hang out together in the bedroom of his dorm suite that he shared with a couple of straight guys (lacrosse players, I believe) drawn by lottery. Mike had a huge stereo that would blast Introspective at wall-shuddering volume. The fact that we would often follow a Pet Shop Boys selection with Guns N' Roses' "Welcome to the Jungle" likely caused no end of confusion (and earaches) for Mike's roommates.
That was the year I started coming to D.C. on a regular basis for weekend gay getaways -- 20 years old, new to the world and taking to the Badlands dance floor like a dervish for "Left to My Own Devices." It was the sweetest half of my generally bittersweet memories of those college days.
You can guess what I'll likely be playing on my iPod now for the rest of the weekend.