Sunday, March 4, 2012

my depeche mode story

One day in the early 2000s, my now ex-wife and I were visiting our relatives in southern West Virginia. During this visit, my then-brother-in-law told us this story:

Said ex-brother-in-law worked at an electrical manufacturing shop in Bland County, Virginia, that makes things like large electrical generator parts for factories. All the employees at the shop except for one were white, which is very reflective of Bland County's lily-white demographics.

But that one exception, a middle-aged African-American janitor, continually sported a Depeche Mode baseball cap.

While one doesn't wish to generalize based on race, age, or location, the probability that an African-American male in his 50s or 60s in Bland County, Virginia, would be wearing any item of Depeche Mode clothing seems fairly low.

My ex-brother-in-law was understandably curious, and one day he asked the guy about the cap.

The man's response? "My son is Martin Gore."

My ex and I were completely "whaaaaaaaaa?" This sounded like crazy talk.

But on the other hand, it seemed like such an improbable thing for this guy to have decided to invent - not "my son's Jerry Rice" or "my daughter is Halle Berry," but "my son is this pale guy from this English synth-pop group that no one would think I've ever heard about and most of the people around me wouldn't even know."

Well, it turns out that it's completely true. The guy was a GI stationed in England in 1960-61, and he was indeed the biological father of Martin L. Gore.

So this humble African-American janitor in rural Bland County, Virginia, begat one of the titans of '80s synth-pop. Who'd'a thunk it?