Saturday, March 29, 2008

Hell Hath No Fury Like a Songstress With Your Digits, Romeo

I'll Kill Her by the French singer Soko is an immensely popular song. I'm not talking about the kind of popularity which it placed at number nine on the Triple J Hottest 100 in 2007. I'm not talking about the popularity that still sees it played on high rotation on Triple J and elsewhere. I'm talking about the kind of popularity that draws admiration from everyone who hears the song.
It's a tragic little shouldabeen love story. Have a listen!

She's cute, a bit dark, she sings in English with a liltingly confident French accent, made all the more powerful and impressive by the fact that she is openly talking about killing somebody. She also outlines her fantasy date with the guy she's singing to and, trust me, guys around the world who pride themselves on reading books and not being into bimbos are falling in love. Dudes lacking in meat-headed self-confidence who are looking, searching, nay pining for an intelligent girlfriend have found their soul-mate in the lyrics of I'll Kill Her.
First, this girl wants to go to the movies, excellent low pressure date option - the quiet intellectual fellows are put at ease. Then she wants to follow it up with dinner, but it's the one that you like in your street. You're on home turf, you're feeling comfortable, relaxed. You'll probably offer to pay the bill ... or ask her if it's okay ... she doesn't specify, so the question of traditionally patronising masculine roles is left out. Non-issue. Relief! Next thing you know, you're sleeping together! Easy! No awkward kiss! No heart on the line! No possible tarring with the slimebag brush because you wanted to have sex on the first date! You're having it already! There it is! It gets better for our imaginary boy, because she sleeps the night (there's probably spooning), you get to make her breakfast, you go for a romantic walk in the park and then boom! You're in love. Easy. No more wallflowering at the pub. No more carefully planning sticky dating situations which never eventuate. You are in! Your feisty forward French girlfriend has landed right in your lap! She drinks! Your friends like her! She's even funny! She meets your dad, she meets your mum and then the rest of your intellectual bohemian lifestyle is complete because mum bestows her blessings upon your union by commanding you both to breed. Even that turns out to be totally Euro-cool because she doesn't want to just have babies, she wants to have them in Japan. Who would have thought of that? So cool. So cute. And you can float around for the rest of your life listening to her lyrical French accent. Ahh ... love!

Except that it's not quite ...
This song worries me. Not worries me as such, I'm not actually concerned that thousands of intellectual boys will be putting undue pressure on their girlfriends to enrol in an English teaching course the moment that line turns blue (or is it purple?). I'm worried about the imaginary object of this song - the person she's singing to. I'm worried because I'm a writer, married to another writer and I do get concerned for the welfare of imaginary people.* I said before that it's a shouldabeen tale, a broken love story, sung by a hurting woman. It's almost in the vein of Dolly Parton's Joelene ...

... except that when Dolly is singing, she's asking Joelene to go away in order to protect her somewhat inexplicable happiness with the fat bozo snoring next to her who doesn't know a good thing when he's onto one ... it ... her (help?). When Soko is singing, she is telling Mr Doesn't-Call-Back that even though they've only exchanged numbers, she has pre-planned their entire lives together - inclusive of 21st Century metro-hipster romanticism and exclusive of pretty much anything this dude (who seems to prefer bleach blonde bimbos anyway)
might have planned - like perhaps riding a motorbike solo across Asia or enrolling in a civil engineering degree. So when this unsuspecting dude either hears this song or discovers the chick he hooked up with at The Archer with a bread-knife in her back (Soko looks like the stabby type), I estimate that he's going to freak out very very badly, give his evidence to the police and decide to take the money he was saving for a new SS ute and go on that motorbike trip across Asia after all. Even if that chick somehow manages to avoid crossing Soko's path and does indeed dump the dude for a rich model called Brandon, then I seriously seriously doubt that he's going to want to leapfrog backwards and go anywhere near the dark little Frenchette who had his future fertility all sewn up before she'd even gotten the call back.

When you're eight and you admit to this they send you to the door with the puzzles and the picture-books who doesn't bother taking your temperature. When you admit it at twenty-eight, you're half-way towards a creative writing PhD and you can defend it as 'process'.


GTH - Jono swoops in again and takes the points with his musing of past kindnesses. Lion gets nothing because he wasn't quite enough with his greens recipe.

1 comment:

  1. Wheee, excitement!

    I love that song, and Soko is unbearably cute. It's such a typical JJJ song, but I love it anyhow.


An explanation of The Joy Division Litmus Test

Although it may now be lost in the mysts of thyme, the poll below is still relevant to this blog. In the winter of 2008, Mele and I went to live in Queensland. In order to survive, I bluffed my way into a job at a Coffee Club.
It was quite a reasonable place to work: the hours were regular, the staff were quite nice, it wasn't particularly taxing on my brain.
There were a few downsides: In the six weeks or so that I worked there, there was about a 90% staff turnover (contributed to by my leaving). This wasn't seen as a result of the low pay, the laughability of staff prices or the practice of not distributing tips to staff, rather it was blamed on the lack of work ethic among Bribie Island's youth.
However, one of the stranger aspects of the cultural isolation that touched our lives during our time "up there" was the fact that nobody at my work had heard of the band Joy Division.
The full explanation is available here.
But please, interact a little further and vote in my ongoing poll. The results are slowly mounting up, proving one thing: people read this blog are more well-informed about Joy Division than anyone who works at the Coffee Club on Bribie Island.

Have you heard of the band Joy Division?

Chinese food, not Chinese Internet!

Champions of Guess The Header

  • What is Guess The Header about? Let’s ask regular “Writing” reader, Shippy: "Anyway, after Franzy's stunning September, and having a crack at 'Guess The Header' for the first time - without truly knowing what I was doing mind you - I think I finally understand what 'GTH' is all about. At first I thought you needed to actually know what it was. Don't get me wrong — if you know what it is, it may help you. I now realise that it's more Franzy's way of invoking thought around an image or, more often than not, part of an image. If you dissect slightly the GTH explanatory sentence at the bottom of his blog you come up with this: “The photo is always taken by me and always connects in some way to the topic of the blog entry it heads up.” When the header is put up, the blog below it will in some obscure way have something to do with it. “Interesting comments are judged and scored arbitrarily and the process is open to corruption and bribery with all correspondence being entered into after the fact and on into eternity, ad infinitum amen.” Franzy judges it, but it's not always the GTH that describes the place perfectly that gets it. “The frequent commenters, the wits, the wags and the outright smartarses who, each entry, engage to both guess the origin and relevance of the strip of photo at the top (or “head”) of each new blog and also who leave what I deem the most interesting comment.” It generally helps if you're a complete smartarse and can twist things to mean whatever you feel they should mean - exactly the way Franzy would like things to be twisted." - Shippy Blogger and GTH point scorer.
  • Nai - 1
  • Lion Kinsman - 2
  • Will - 2
  • Brocky - 2
  • Andy Pants - 2
  • The 327th Male - 3
  • Mad Cat Lady - 3
  • Miles McClagen - 4
  • Myninjacockle - 4
  • Asheligh - 5
  • Neil - 5
  • Third Cat - 5
  • Adam Y - 6
  • Squib - 6
  • Mele - 6
  • Moifey - 7
  • Jono - 8
  • The Other, other Sam - 14
  • Kath Lockett - 15
  • Shippy - 19
  • River - 32