It’s November. It’s Raining. Guns N Roses Revisited


I know. I promised a fall fashion edition of Spartan Holiday last week so you’d all know how to look really cool slow-motion kicking through the leaves and striding to the election polls. Who is THAT? There, standing in line, waiting to vote, looking so hawt participating in our democracy?

Who is THAT with their hair blowing in the autumn breeze as if standing in front of a low-speed fan, yet all of the yellow leaves under foot are eerily still? Maybe it’s *you*!

Be patient.

What was cool in Fall 1972

Because here’s the deal—-fashion shoots are hard, fashionable people are very elusive, and fashion is changing so fast, that what was cool two weeks ago (not having internet at home) is already a freakin’ pain in the ass.


I have some more excuses I’d like to share with you:

It’s hard to compile seasonal fashion pieces when you’re on vacation for six days with Dave before he heads back to Antarctica for a couple of months. I captured some of our trip on film here.

Between the industrial-capitalist degradation of Southern California and the thought of Dave spending another six weeks eating bad nachos, poking at microorganisms and peeing in a bottle at the far end of the world (all of which will be explained in an upcoming “Hidden Antarctica” blog), I just have been feeling a little glum.

Southern California before Whities and oil wells

When I’m glum, in November, and it’s raining, or has rained recently (on my laundry per usual), there’s only one thing that will cheer me up—-Guns N’ Roses’ classic 1992 power ballad November Rain video on repeat. Twenty-one years on and the glamorous drear is just as glamorous and dreary!

Suddenly, in the context of November Rain my life doesn’t seem so bad. I wasn’t killed by a rain storm or forced to deliver a guitar solo in the middle of the desert as the camera man circled around by helicopter.


Here’s the situation: Axl Rose is sad and self-medicating in his blowy-curtain, stormy, rock-star bedroom. Why is he sad? We don’t know because we cut to the gloomy Orpheum Theater for the live music portion of the video.

Oh wait. Tears of blood run down a crucifix’s cheek. Now why is Jesus crying? We’ll never know because we’re back at the Orpheum and someone who does not look like a concert flautist is playing the flute! (Minute 1:26.)

Now it’s a wedding. Axl Rose is marrying supermodel Stephanie Seymour, but why does everyone seem kind of down in the dumps including the bride? Who made Slash the ringbearer when he can’t see for shit through his hair and why does he lose the ring?? (Other than his visual impairment.)


THEN why does Slash walk out of the church right after the nuptial pronouncement and do a long bare-chested guitar solo in the New Mexican desert? Does he know something we don’t about something??? Isn’t it weird that the grandiose gothic cathedral is now a spindly chapel in the desert? It’s just this sort of literary foreshadowing that makes this such a great music video.


Also of note: The bride looks kind of depressed after sliding into the nuptial getaway car…could this mean maybe she is DEPRESSED on her wedding day??!!!

Then Axl Rose is walking around at night and passes a gun shop that says “Guns.” Guns.

Then it’s the wedding reception and…it starts to rain…really hard. Maybe it’s a downpour but still people are overreacting and crashing into tables, knocking bouquets to the ground, smashing dinnerware…


Water and china are ricocheting everywhere and then at minute 6:59 comes the slow-mo climax of the entire video when some guy who REALLY doesn’t want to get wet, but doesn’t mind getting covered in frosting and injuring himself, takes a diving leap right through the wedding cake.

Suddenly, the bad ass, hard rock coda of the song. Stephanie Seymour is dead! They’re carrying out her casket and at the funeral it’s raining AGAIN. One minute we were at her wedding and the next minute we’re at her funeral. Only now do we realize that rain is a narrative spandrel meant to symbolize sorrow!

Then the final shot of the bride throwing the bouquet over her shoulder and it landing across time and space on her own coffin. A bouquet of color-seeping roses. Roses.

Like these roses. All Fantin-Latour needed to make his still life really cool was some guns laying in front of the roses.

After 9:01 minutes the video is over and we’re all, like, WTF just happened? Why did all of those people hate rain so much? What happened to Stephanie Seymour? (If we research the note at the end referencing Del James short story “Without You” we find that she killed herself because she WAS depressed.)

Wow. Just wow. I don’t why it always makes me feel so much better. It’s as if to say…yeah, Gail, yeah, life is both beautiful and sad…and a third thing: deadly. Depression, too, can be glamorous if we just have some aesthetic coherence. It’s called melancholy and it’s fun! Like Goethe or this video by Lana Del Rey that also puts the sexy melancholy back into suicidal ideation… but with taffeta and balls-to-the-wall guitar solos!

Speaking of taffeta and balls-to-walls…see you next week for the Fall Fashion Issue.



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