27 March 2010


When I was young and went out dancing, the songs went like this:

And I thought, Oh, how witty! And how I wish I could be that way.

or they went:

And I thought, Ah! How lovely.

or they went:

And I thought, This is a deeply silly song, and my friend Bill told me he thought they were saying, "Put some feces on your head, / Because your face is doing nothing for you."

And dancing to those songs was like feeling your heart be pulled out through your stomach, or blood coming out of your pores, or happiness refined to a thin line of pure enjoyment. Or it was an act of moving your body while you enjoyed wit.

Now I go out dancing and the songs go:

I like to play my bongos in the morning;
I like to play my bongos in the morning;
I like to play my bongos in the morning

And I think, Really?

Now, I was an indie kid, of course. Even when I was young, most people didn't dance to Tones on Tail, or Nitzer Ebb, and if they danced to The Cure, they danced to "Why Can't I Be You?" (but even that contained the line, "I'll kiss you from your feet to where your head begins," which puzzled me for months. Where does your head begin?). And even then not all the music I heard affected me so deeply, nor did I want it to. And even now there are wonderful bands, like The Killers, or The Rascals. But where I go out to dance is mainstream now, and the music is mostly hip hop.

Now, there's many a middle-aged woman despairs over the state of music, and thinks the world of dance is going to hell in a handbasket. But I listen to something like Prince's "Pussy Control," or Kanye West's "Good Morning" ("I'm like the fly Malcolm X / Buy any jeans necessary") and I don't think that. It's when I go out to clubs: then I think to myself, Does this stuff make you feel like you're going to vomit joy? And if it doesn't, do you care that you're missing that? Because I do.

Music has always meant more to me than it really means. It ought to be Sufism, I think. It all ought to be "Temptation," and "Fascination Street" ("And if you slip going under / Slip over my shoulder"), and the sublime nonsense of The KLF, and Mano Negra. It ought to make you feel you've found your It.

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