Thursday, March 16, 2006

Excluded due to litterature #71

One day I have met the then last living surrealist, he had been a writer, a journalist but mainly he was a poet. This is what he said to me, that he wished his poems would be remembered. His name was Philippe Soupault, he had been "excluded from the surrealist group in 1922 due to litterature".
Somewhere he wrote that
" la litterature est l'un des plus tristes chemins qui mene a tout.." (litterature is one of the gloomiest trails leading anywhere). He had found in 1917 one original sample of "Les chants de Maldoror" in an old books shop for a ridiculous price , but Lautreamont was then totally unknown.
While sipping his glass of red wine, he had told me about Proust whom he had known, the qualities of that author, his flawless taste and its crucial importance in modern litterature.
We spoke about feelings, emotions, love. He was explaining me that it is not love which destroys friendship, it is ambition.
Here is a small poem from Soupault called "Mélancolie, Mélancolie"

Mélancolie, Mélancolie
(Melancholy, melancholy)
Quel joli nom pour une jeune fille
(What a pretty name for a young girl)
Neurasthénie, Neurasthénie
(Neurasthenia, neurasthenia)
Quel vilain nom pour une vieille fille
(What a mean name for an old maid)

Je cherche un nom pour un garçon
(I am looking for a name for a boy)
Un nom d'emprunt, un nom de guerre
(A borrowed name or a nickname)
Pour la prochaine et la dernière
(For the next and last war)
Pour la dernière des dernières
(For the very last one)

Espoir ou peut être Agénior
(Hope or maybe Agenior)
Ou singulier ou Dominique
(Or singular or Dominique)
Un nom à coucher dehors
(A name to sleep outside)
Au temps des bombes atomiques.
(In the times of atomic bombs).

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Karen, a perfect pop song #70

In 1978, the Go-Betweens released their first single on which was featured what I consider today as a perfect pop song, it was called "Karen". Another perfect pop song is the Kinks "Waterloo sunset".

A friend of mine, then in Australia, and whose favourite musicians were Jonathan Richman and the Go- Betweens, told me that the song had been named after a friend of hers who actually knew Robert from the Go-Betweens. The song was sort of dedicated to a real Karen. Here are the lyrics :
I just want some affection
I just want some affection
I don't want no hoochie-coochie mama
no back door woman
no Queen's street sex thing
I want a tiger, a bengianese
with all the kindness of the japanese
I just want some affection
I wish I heard voices
Wish I was a telephone

Karen yeah-yeah, Karen yeah-yeah
Karen yeah-yeah, Karen yeah-yeah yeah
I said yeah, oh Karen!

I know this girl,
this very special girl
She works in a library, yeah
standing there behind the counter
willing to help
with all the problems I encounter

Helps me find Hemingway
Helps me find Genet
Helps me find Brecht
Helps me find Chandler
Helps me find James Joyce,
she always makes the right choice

She's no queen,
she's no angel,
just a peasant from the village
She's my god, she's my god
She's my g-o-d, she's my god, yeah, yeah
She's my g-o-o-d, yeah
She's my god now

Oh, she's my god now Yeah!
Karen yeah-yeah, Karen yeah-yeah
Karen yeah-yeah, Karen yeah-yeah yeah
I said yeah, oh Karen!

She stands there in the library
like a nun in her church does
like a nun in her church does
She stands there all alone
She gets me something that I
just can't get now anywhere else
cause the girls that I see
walking around, yeah the ones I see
walking on the street
are so damn-da-da-da-damned cold
Cause they must have eskimoe blood in their veins
Yeah the one that I want
I just can't see
I can't see a bear
I can't see anywhere


Oh Karen yeah-yeah...
Karen, Karen, Karen, Karen, Karen, Karen!

From the choice of authors to lines like the one about "eskimoe blood", these are winning
factors to me. I am listening to it endlessly those days...

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