Sunday, 29 May 2011

Sunday Mornings: Coffee, Reflections and Music

You know the drill. Woman (regardless of age), wearing short skirt and high heels, walks past construction site. Wolf-whistling ensues, comments are made about her physique, leering eyes follow her figure... until the next member of the opposite sex strolls by. Sometimes (rarely, actually) well-thought compliments, what we call "piropos" in Spanish, accompany the attention heaped on the woman. But, most of the time, the woman alluded to is subjected to a barrage of sexual profanities, especially if she refuses to acknowledge her ad lib audience. And despite the overt, aggresive nature of the act of which they are ultimately responsible, the men involved in this daily routine still use the same word to label their targets: sluts.

Depending on how you feel about this term, you might have agreed or disagreed with the recent protests by the Slutwalk movement in Canada and the USA. Sparked by comments made by a police officer in Toronto, who advised female students not to dress provocatively, the marches' organisers quickly rallied on Facebook and Twitter and coordinated events in different parts of the world. Their main objective was to remonstrate against a culture where the victim is usually made to feel guilty for the crime that has been perpetrated against her.

Noble effort or naïve idea? The jury is still out on the long-term effects of the Slutwalk movement but what no one can deny is that its members have helped raise awareness of a social phenomenon that is tacitly acknowledged. If a woman dresses in a certain way, she might trigger off reactions of an unwholesome nature in other people, i.e., men. And she's the only one to blame. Unfortunately, I count a younger version of myself amongst those who used to buy that argument. The problem is that it's not that simple.

With the passing of time I have realised that the Neanderthal Beast vs Sassy Lady of the Lake scenario infantilises both sides. In men's case, it has become a sad indictement of our attitudes to women as it lumps us all in the same category and erodes the nuances that our rapport with the opposite sex involves. In regards to women, it victimises them, rather than strengthening them. It's also a handy way for (male) religious leaders to clamp down on female freedom of choice, as they can claim to have the answer in their fight against the 'decadent west', namely, cover up. Lastly, it points at a supposed sexual availability that might not be what the lady in question has in mind.

The Slutwalk is more than just a movement about women's rights. It goes deep into the territory of sexual assault, rape and domestic violence. The second of these themes is the subject of a future column, so I will leave it for now. However, what's interested me so far is the way many of the participants have gone about rolling out the campaign.

Scantily-clad and holding banners that read: "Sluts Say Yes" and "Sluts Pay Taxes", the protesters have shown sass and boldness. How much of the latter gets absorbed by the former is anyone's guess. And there lies the rub. In the UK, straight after the marches were announced the tabloids went to town. Whether the movement's attempt to reclaim the word 'slut' can cope with the likes of The Sun and other redtops hijacking the upcoming march in London and turning it into a Page 3 double-spread should be taken into account. My other concern is that by focusing on the physical side of the debate (how a woman dresses), as opposed to the moral and educational angle of it (how we convey the message to boys and girls, especially boys that 'no' means 'no' and 'yes' means 'yes') the Slutwalk can become a parody of itself.

This debate about the right to wear what one wants comes at an interesting time. In France, a woman can be issued with a fine on the spot if she's wearing a veil, yet in the UK, you're also penalised if you dare to bare a bit of leg. That the latter is not enforced by law is no succour, as the connotation is the same: women, you have forfeited your right to do with your bodies as you wish, we, men, call the shots. Plus ça change.

Will misogynists feel threatened by the popularity and radical agenda of the Slutwalkers? I doubt it. In the era of smartphones and social networking fora, those protesters taking to the streets of London next month will very likely end up on dodgy websites or as a tabloid editor's smutty headline. However, at a time when women still have to invoke Julius Caesar's famous phrase "Alea jacta est" everytime they walk past a building site, or worse, happen to find themselves in a dark alley at night, the fact that they are coming together - young and old - to say they've had enough should be applauded and supported. After all, the Roman leader did cross the Rubicon in the end.

© 2011

Next Post: ‘Pieces of Me, Pieces of Havana’, to be published on Wednesday 8th June at 11:59pm (GMT)

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Living in a Bilingual World (The One About the Song)

Arrorró mi niño/arrorró mi amor/arrorró pedazo de mi corazón..." (Hush, my child, hush, my love/hush, piece of my heart)

And that's how I learnt how to roll my R's. Or at least the romantic in me would like to believe that the sound of my mother singing this famous Spanish lullaby whilst holding me close to her chest was what made my tongue vibrate at such an early age.

However, according to a book recently published by a child's development expert, there could be other reasons why my preciousness should not be seen as an oddity, but rather as the rule.

Parents who sing to their children, argues Sally Goddard Blythe, author of the book, 'The Genius of Natural Childhood', are equipping their progeny with a linguistic arsenal from the time they're born. For the writer, our globalised world should never be too modern that it can''t accommodate nursery rhymes and lullabies. It's not just the linguistic factor that is at stake, but also the emotional one. Children who are serenaded by their parents or carers develop very strong affectionate bonds with those surrounding them.

This is particularly important when dealing with foreign languages. Lullabies, or canciones de cuna, as we call them in Spanish, carry the melodies and inflections of a mother tongue. I still remember when Son was born and Wife decided to speak to him in Spanish. After all, we had decided to stay in the UK and he was going to learn English anyway. Yet, after a couple of months, Wife realised that she would have to switch back to her maternal lingo as she found it hard to express her emotions and feelings in a language that was still alien to her, fluency notwithstanding. Part of her argument centred also on the children's songs with which she had grown up and which she now wanted to share with Son. I couldn't agree more with her decision.

Traditional melodies help children discover, use and develop a new vocabulary. They will very often make up their own phrases, based on the songs they listen to. What I've also noticed, too, from singing to my own children when they were little (although Daughter still asks me to serenade her before going to bed sometimes) is that they're more responsive to a parent's voice than a tape or CD. It's a two-way system.

Maybe it's just a wacky idea, but if I was to take a leaf out of Sally's book, I would suggest creating a similar environment for learners of foreign languages to the one babies and toddlers experience. A soothing room for adolescents and adults where they're sung what would be the equivalent of lullabies. Imagine that. Not just a more linguistically proficient world, but one where people would be more in touch with their inner emotions. It's enough to make me post the rest of the canción de cuna with which I opened tonight's column: este niño lindo que nació de día/quiere que lo lleve a la dulcería/este niño lindo que nació de noche/quiere que lo lleve a pasear en coche/Duérmete mi niño/duérmete pedazo de mi corazón (this pretty child who was born at daytime/wants me to take him to the candy shop/this pretty child who was born at night/wants me to take him out for a ride in the car/sleep, my child sleep, piece of my heart)

© 2011

Next Post: ‘Sunday Mornings: Coffee, Reflections and Music’, to be published on Sunday 29th May at 10am (GMT)

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Sunday Mornings: Coffee, Reflections and Music

Let's be clear about Donald Trump's decision to bow out of the presidential race. I don't buy his "I need to spend more time with my business empire" line. I sincerely believe that his change of direction only came when 'The Donald' bought a proper mirror recently and for the first time in years, he took a long and hard look at himself on it. He freaked out. Got the shock of his life. I mean, have you seen the guy's barnet? It defies logic, let alone gravity.

Alternatively, we could say that Obama's latest double slam dunk trumped the Trumpster. First the White House's incumbent produced his long-coveted birth certificate. And on top of that he even showed a clip of the moment when he first came into this world to a jam-packed audience at the recent correspondents' dinner. Actually, no, that was just a scene from 'The Lion King'. But, heck, these days, guys like Donald will believe anything.

The second blow to DT's presidential aspirations, was Bin Laden's death. Just as Obama's ratings were on the slide, into the picture steps the most wanted terrorist on earth and voilà, as if boosted by a shot of political Viagra, up go the points. I imagine a conversation between Obama and Trumpsie where the former tells the latter: "Take that, buddy, that's how you win back voters. And here's my barber's number. Don't worry, it's on me."

This whole birth certificate issue, though, is not to be scoffed at. Reading recently a terrific essay on lies in Prospect magazine by the philosopher Julian Baggini, I realised how gullible we, human beings, can be sometimes and how far the consequences of a well-fabricated lie can reach. I also came to the conclusion, like Baggini, I think, that being mendacious is part of our DNA, a trait that occasionally comes to our aid in difficult situations. An uncomfortable truth, I know, but a truth, nonetheless.

Baggini doesn't just write about lying, but also about authenticy. If telling porkies is complex, he avers, so is truth. At some point he states that "I could promise right now to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The problem is that sometimes telling the truth is not the point, telling the whole truth is impossible, and there may be things other than the truth that matter too." That's why Obama refused to be part of the birth certificate charade. Because it wasn't about convincing US citizens that he was one of them, but not wanting to become an easy target for the Republicans. First, it's the certificate, and then, what else? Show us proof that Sasha and Malia are your real daughters? Even with Bin Laden dead, the opposition still wants to see the photos. This is not about verisimilitude, but about scapegoating.

Julian provides plenty of good examples of how truth and lies cohabit in modern society. There's the 'estate agent truth', a concept with which some of us will be familiar. The 'expert' highlights the property's virtues, whilst keeping its flaws well hidden. I particularly liked Bagginni's explanation about the existence of two codes when dealing with the law: a legalistic one and a moral one. What is remarkable is that, away from the courts, in real life we still prefer to use the legalistic way of thinking more often than we'd like to believe. Again, this is the bane of politicians everywhere: what am I permitted to say and how will it affect my career?

Where I disagree with Julian is in his defense of Bill Clinton. Baggini writes "That helps explain why one of the most famous 'lies' of recent decades is not a lie at all, but objectionable nonetheless: Bill Clinton’s famous 'I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.' As many people have pointed out, to a Southern Baptist, this could indeed be interpreted as being strictly true. 'Sexual relations' is, in many parts, a euphemism for coitus, not any other sexual acts between two people. If this is so, then Clinton was accurate only in the legal sense, not in Williams’s",

Er... well, no. Clinton was the president of the US of A. He was not just accountable to voters in Arkansas but also to the American electorate as a whole. What he did in the White House with Monica 'Blue Dress' Lewinsky was sex. Whether it was just petting, oral intercourse, or full-blown-on-the-desk coitus, it was sex. He wasn't just being insincere, he lied.

However, I do agree with Julian that that there are a number of reasons why lying is not always wrong and why telling always the truth can get us in trouble. Can you imagine one of the contestants in the US Apprentice pointing at Donald Trump's quiff and shouting out: You, unruly, rebellious tuft. You are not part of the team. In fact, you've let the team down, or rather left it behind. I'm sorry, but, you're fired!

© 2011

Next Post: ‘Living in a Bilingual World’, to be published on Wednesday 25th May at 11:59pm (GMT)

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Of Literature and Other Abstract Thoughts

One of my favourite exercises when I did impro at uni was one in which the instructor gave us, actors, a famous play each and asked us to open it on a random page. We, then, had to create and develop a scene on the spot using texts which, most of the time, were not related to each other. The format was changed slightly for actual performances, with the addition of adjectives, nouns or verbs thrown at us by a live and totally engaged audience who was willing to see whether we were able to craft a credible and, above all, comic scene out of the material provided. It was possibly one of the few instances in which the likes of Ionescu, Brecht and Molière shared the bill in the same show.

One of the outcomes of said exercise was that my reading habits slowly changed. Whereas up to then I was happy to read sequentially - and novels usually demand this approach, exceptions notwithstanding -, eventually I began to read volumes of poetry and short stories randomly. Sometimes, it would be the name of a particular author that would make me open the book on a particular page. Sometimes, I would close my eyes and let the book fall on my lap and work my way forward or backward from the passage selected. Obviously, it goes without saying that if it was a collection of short stories what I was devouring, I had to rewind to the beginning of the tale.

This approach was instrumental in my reading of The Bible, for instance. Bought for ten Cuban pesos in the 1992 Havana International Book Fair, the holy text arrived shrouded in the mystery of the forbidden and unexpected. The former because of an earlier clampdown by the government on religious people and the latter because no one could predict that one day the highly influential volume would be sharing the sales shelves with the likes of Guillén and Gabo.

Naturally, the first chapter I read was the Book of Genesis and straight away I realised that in order to really enjoy this cultural landmark, sequence had to give way to randomness. One reason for The Bible's popularity over the centuries is how its scriptural writings are laid out. They invite readers to sample bitesize texts and mull over them. Like Aesop and his fables, where you can jump from The Tortoise and the Hare to The Boy Who Cried Wolf; in The Bible you can go from reading about Solomon in the Books of Kings to learning about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew.

Thus, random reading has been my companion in my literary jaunts for many years. For example, one night last August whilst vacationing in Wales, I was (again!) trudging through my old copy of Shakespeare's sonnets when I decided to close my eyes and let the book open on any page. The result was Sonnet 2, which until then had escaped my radar. It was a cool, fresh night, the caravan's windows were shut and the only sounds came from Mother Nature struggling to find a balance between summer and early autumn.

The lines called out to me from the word go. And I was not surprised in the least as to why. For someone about to hit the big four-o this year, the opening "When forty winters shall beseige thy brow..." carries the musky smell of experience, the joys and tribulations of a life well lived. Shakespeare's poem also points at continuity, at the bloodline, passed down from one generation to the next. From this perspective, his paean to middle age is one of the many rewards one encounters when reading randomly.


When forty winters shall beseige thy brow,
And dig deep trenches in thy beauty's field,
Thy youth's proud livery, so gazed on now,
Will be a tottered weed of small worth held:
Then being asked where all thy beauty lies,
Where all the treasure of thy lusty days,
To say, within thine own deep-sunken eyes,
Were an all-eating shame and thriftless praise.
How much more praise deserved thy beauty's use,
If thou couldst answer 'This fair child of mine
Shall sum my count and make my old excuse,'
Proving his beauty by succession thine!
This were to be new made when thou art old,
And see thy blood warm when thou feel'st it cold.

© 2011

Next Post: ‘Sunday Mornings: Coffee, Reflections and Music’, to be published on Sunday 22nd May at 10am (GMT)

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Sunday Mornings: Coffee, Reflections and Music

'I hate you English. With your boring trousers and your shiny toilet paper and your ridiculous preconceptions that Frenchmen are great lovers. I'm French and I'm hung like a baby carrot and a couple of petits pois.' Very rarely have wiser words been uttered than the ones that open this column today. They appear in one of the most profound and philosophical analyses on the human condition, namely, 'Blackadder'.

But also, what the quote above, rather facetiously, illustrates, is how our assumptions about other people and situations very often colour our points of view, regardless of whether the notions in question are based on fact or not.

It was these prejudgements that apparently led Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, to scoff at the idea of penning an autobiography. Too dull, he said. In reality, though, what he probably meant was that writing a first-hand account of his life and work would have necessarily involved revealing family secrets and indiscretions that would have affected friends. That would have been one option, though. The other one would have been to lie his way through his memoir.

One way of looking at biographies and memoirs is as myth-makers. They don't so much embellish their subjects, as go the extra mile and turn them into icons. In the process, they also serve as vehicles for adulation. A good example of this was Seumas Milne's review of Fidel Castro's self-congratulatory autobiography, 'My Life' three and a half years ago. Throughout his article the The Guardian's journalist exalts the Cuban leader's "capacity to reinvent himself and his undimmed focus on contemporary struggles". Sadly, Seumas was not involved in Cuba's 'Black Spring', the 2003 crackdown when seventy-five dissidents were arrested and imprisoned by government forces for daring to voice their opinions. So, he wasn't able to experiment in the flesh Fidel's "undimmed focus on contemporary struggle".

The other way of looking at personal accounts is as unfinished on-going projects. This approach is a more realistic one, but also more dangerous because of the different factors in play. There's the factual element, but sometimes this is inextricably linked to religious, racial and sexual (both gender and orientation) aspects. The more a researcher tries to stick to the truth when digging up new information about a famous person, the more he or she will have to fight against well-established canons. A case in point is Joseph Lelyveld's book "Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle with India". The Indian leader, architect of satyagraha (truth force), has always fascinated peace-lovers and opponents of colonialism and imperialism everywhere. His stand on non-violent activism continues to exert a huge influence even in today's contemporary society. But should this view be immutable? What lies beneath the myth?

Though I have not read the book yet, it seems to me that Lelyveld is more interested in showing a morally ambivalent human being than a deity. And that is perhaps his biggest challenge. More often than not history rewrites a person's significance and the outcome smacks more of hagiography than reality. In Lelyveld's book, Gandhi, the visionary, is also presented as Gandhi, the self-centred political behemoth. His undisputable honesty is placed next to the alleged manipulation of which sometimes he was capable. If like me, you first got a glimpse of the life of the Mahatma through Richard Attenborough’s 1982 biopic, this situation will probably leave you heading for the nearest One Pound store in your barrio in order to buy a sweatshop-produced, cheap halo to put back on the late Indian leader's head. If, on the other hand, you like your icons as imperfect as they come, then you will probably buy Joseph's book. Which I will. It's already in my amazon's list.

Yet, it's interesting to see that the furore caused by the volume (it has been banned in Gujarat) owes more to a reference to an alleged sexual - and platonic, by the looks of it - relationship between Gandhi and the German architect Hermann Kallenbach than to Lelyveld's vivid portrait of the Mahatma as a contradictory figure who shaped his political vision in South Africa, the country in which he lived for two decades.

It's not surprising to find that a slight hint of a homosexual liaison is enough to send the hagiographers up the wall. Another biography that's come out (pun not intended) recently and has also caused a stir, although not an outright ban, is that of Malcolm Little, otherwise known as Malcolm X. In his "Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention", professor of history and political science at Columbia university, Manning Marable, offers a more nuanced view of Malcolm's life. Professor Marable, who sadly died a few days before the book's publication, aims to dismantle some of the myths surrounding the 'Detroit Red'. And one of the elements he includes in his biography is that Malcolm might have been a source of sexual entertainment for an older, white man. Strong stuff, if you like your icons to be macho and mean.

However, picking just on the homoerotic factor, whether it's based on reality or not, would be wrong. Because Marable also gives us the human behind the hagiography. The flawed hero who went on a pilgrimage to Mecca and returned thinking that his earlier inflammatory language had no place in the society of which he dreamt. The devoted husband who apparently had a fling with a female follower. The Nation of Islam member who drank alcohol occasionally. Manning's book doesn't destroy Malcolm, in my opinion, he makes it more believable, more human. Coincidentally, as it happened with Gandhi, my first introduction to the American civil rights leader was also via the medium of cinema: Spike Lee's 1992 Academy-nominated 'Malcolm X'. So, even before I picked up Alex Haley's highly influential volume, "The Autobiography of Malcolm X", I already had my own preconceptions. Needless to say, Mr Marable's book is in my to-buy list, too.

Between iconography and reality there lies a thin line which biographers and researchers are advised to tread cautiously. Yet, not so careful that we lose sight of the human and we make the mistake of putting him/her behind a high, electric, circular fence. Heroes are people, not saints and sometimes the hagiographic treatment works against them in the long term. Still, if, when the time comes to write Osama Bin Laden's biography, it is revealed that he was "hung like a baby carrot and a couple of petits pois", I don't think there'll be a public outcry. After all, even stand-up comics need to put food on the table everyday.

© 2011

Next Post: ‘Of Literature and Other Abstract Thoughts’, to be published on Wednesday 18th May at 11:59pm (GMT)

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Food, Music, Food, Music, Foood, Music... Ad Infinitum

By the time you read this post, here in the UK footie fans will know which of the Spanish sides that played against each other in the semis, Barcelona or Madrid, will be representing la madre patria in the forthcoming Champions League final. Enough reason for me to go for a traditional recipe from that European nation. I just wish I could cook it more often at home, were it not for the fact that my family doesn't like seafood. Luckily, I can still enjoy this delicious dish on my own.

Crisp fried squid


vegetable oil, for deep-frying
500 g squid, cleaned
Spanish frying flour
generous pinch sea salt
1 lemon, cut into wedges, to serve

1. Preheat the oil in a deep fat fryer to 180C. Rinse the squid and carefully pat dry with kitchen paper. Cut the squid into 1.5cm rings and set aside, with the tentacles.

2. Tip plenty of flour (or mixed flour and breadcrumbs) into a large bowl. Toss a large handful of squid in the flour to coat, gently shake off excess and then carefully add to the hot oil. Deep-fry in batches for 3 minutes or until crisp and golden.

3. Remove the squid and drain on kitchen paper. Repeat this, cooking the remaining squid in batches.

4. As soon as all the squid is cooked, sprinkle with a little salt and lemon juice. Serve with the remaining lemon wedges.

The recipe is very simple, ergo, the music should also be, ideally, uncomplicated. That's why I'll open with Chumbawamba and 'Tubthumping'. This melody still sounds fresh after all these years, just like cleaned squid. Also, how often do you see female trumpeters in pop bands?

And now, for a little bit of mindless musical frippery. Whigfield with 'Saturday Night'. Are you really going to sit there with a straight face and tell me that you never grooved to this? Oh, please, do us a favour, luv, get your dancing shoes on and join me. We're going to paint the town red.

We're celebrating Spanish football and I haven't yet uploaded any clip of a Spanish singer? Shame on me. Step forward, then, Concha Buika, one of those performers for whom the word 'star' was invented. This is one of the more imaginative and heart-rending versions of 'Volver, Volver' I've ever heard in my life. Enjoy.

© 2011

Next Post: ‘Sunday Mornings: Coffee, Reflections and Music’, to be published on Sunday 15th May at 10am (GMT)

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Sunday Mornings: Coffee, Reflections and Music

Imagine the following scenario:

You meet someone who makes you feel special. From the word go there's that little spark, that magic that comes as a consequence of falling head over heels for their eyes, their accent or their laughter. Years later, when you look back on that relationship, long dead, you remember how at first he/she 'moved like the sunset'. Let's also add that he or she comes from up north, wherever that north might be in your country of residence. You think you'll be OK.

But OK, you're not. The relationship with your 'northern lad' (lass?) turns out to be a half-baked cake affair. An unmoistened liaison that leaves you 'only wet because of the rain'. Tucked under your duvet you lose hope little by little, craving warmth and companionship but knowing that outside "it's gets so fucking cold..."

I can see why Tori Amos uses the 'f' word in 'Northern Lad'. It's one of those rare examples where swearing is perfectly justified and understandable. You offer your whole self to another person, warts and all, only for your partner to throw it back at you, highlighting flaw after flaw after flaw. Or what he/she might are your flaws and in reality they're just your quirks. And don't we all have quirks?

I've always hated lazy and mindless cussing in songs. The kind that seems to spring up when inspiration and talent are not abundant. Too much contemporary music comes across as a ready-to-drive vehicle for profanity. The type you might find in the discounts section at your local supermarket. Get two swearwords for the price of one.

But occasionally, you find certain passages in melodies in which only a strong word, or one that is not normally used in polite conversation, will do. Queen's "Death on Two Legs" would not be the hard-rock, top-quality ranting it is were it not for Freddie's "But now you can kiss my ass goodbye". It's done angrily but with élan. The same finesse is found in another record by the same band, "Let Me Entertain You", from their 1978 album 'Jazz':"We'll have a son of a bitch of a time". It's all to do with context. This is a song about a group that are "Gonna rock you gonna roll you/Get you dancing in the aisles/Jazz you razzmatazz you/With a little bit of style". Very different from 50 Cent's 'Candy Shop' where his promise (or should that be a threat?) to 'take you to the candy shop/I'll let you lick the lollypop' is enough to pull out a gun and blow your brains off. His reference to oral sex is as subtle as an anti-monarchist ripping a picture of Wills'n'Kate into shreds in the middle of the Mall and calling it a 'nuanced republican statement'.

Pop songs are so brief (only between three and three and half minutes long) that if you want to include a couple of 'naughty' words, you'd better hit the right spot quick and effectively. Radiohead's 'Creep' is a good example. In this paean to a woman (methinks it's a lady the object of the singer's affection), Thom Yorke plays the oddball who falls for an 'angel'. All the signs of infatuation are there: her skin makes him cry, he thinks that she floats like a feather in a beautiful world. That's why he wishes he was special. But he isn't, and then Thom and co. deliver the masterstroke. In talking to the woman (probably when she isn't looking), Mr Yorke cries out: "You're so fucking special". What makes the 'f' word stand out is that it sits at odds with the beautiful and poetic language Radiohead uses in the rest of the song. Moreover, this swear term is only ever utilised as a refrain, thus, creating a chorus of disappointment and despair. Finally, unlike Tori's 'Northern Lad', in 'Creep', the protagonist is not interested in his lover's faults; on the contrary, he idolises her.

Another way of interpreting the profanity in 'Creep' and the reasons for it, is to analyse the second verse: "I don't care if it hurts/I want to have control/I want a perfect body/I want a perfect soul". In those desperate lines there lies probably one of the strongest criticisms against the bodyfascism that has come to rule over our contemporary world in recent years. Alternatively, Radiohead was just taking the piss. And given the theme of today's column, I feel more than justified in using that kind of language. Have a brilliant week!

© 2011

Next Post: ‘Food, Music, Food, Music, Food, Music… Ad Infinitum’, to be published on Wednesday 11th May at 11:59pm (GMT)

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Sunday Mornings: Coffee and Music

I'll be back next week. In the meantime enjoy the sound of the one and only Mercan Dede, one of the most talented artists out there today.

Next Post: 'Sunday Mornings: Coffee, Reflections and Music', to be published on Sunday 8th May at 10am (GMT)


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