Five years ago this month I posted a lengthy review of Martin Aston’s encyclopedic Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache: How Music Came Out.1 Last week one of Aston’s subjects came to life as it was pushed my way courtesy of YouTube: 1964’s “Have I the Right?” by the Honeycombs. Lyrically it’s reminiscent of Sixties songs that became gay and lesbian bar hymns. Think Sinatra’s “Strangers In the Night” (1966), Bobby Darin’s version of “My Buddy” (1962), Connie Francis’s “Where the Boys Are” (1961). Such songs were appropriated by this social set, but its membership included a few of the hymnists as well.Continue reading “A Taste of Honeycombs”
I’m Dreaming of a White Bicycle
While searching for half-remembered short films on the theme of public restrooms last month (see In the Can), I ran across a parody of “God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen” posted last fall as a commentary on the trans* bathroom con-troversy.
The performer, Christopher Trautman, explains:
This song was recorded in North Carolina. The only State in the United States that passed a law specifically directing that the restroom you use must be based on the junk you possess. It was later repealed after a national embarrassment campaign [led] by Comedy Central where they opened a food truck called Bone Brothers Barbecue in downtown Raleigh and discriminated against everybody who they determined to be gay… which was everybody.
That barbecue pi—er—bit, which aired on The Daily Show in 2016, was by Roy Wood Jr., assisted by Jordan Klepper. It’s hilarious and is, mm…, cued up below.Continue reading “I’m Dreaming of a White Bicycle”
A Taste of Honey
I recently found I could stream films through Kanopy by way of my public library. The first film I watched was A Taste of Honey, Tony Richardson’s 1961 award winner set in Greater Manchester’s Salford. Jo, played by Rita Tushingham, the daughter of a libertine mother, Dora Bryan, moves out on her own after her mother remarries. While at home Jo has a fling with a ship’s cook Jimmy (Paul Danquah), who soon sails away slowly (if not into the sunset). At her shoe shop job she meets Geoffrey Ingham (Murray Melvin), a textile design student who’s been kicked out of his flat apparently for his own liaisons—with men—and thus Jo invites him to room with her. And room they have—it’s a top-floor studio apartment—but squalid, as only the black-and-white camera can capture, softened somewhat by Geoff’s student’s style.
I recall Tushingham from her less-free-spirit role of Dot a couple years later in The Leather Boys. And Melvin is instantly recognizable from Barry Lyndon (1975) as Rev. Samuel Runt, the “failed Rasputin” for Marisa Berenson’s Lady Lyndon. But what surprised me were two lines in A Taste of Honey uttered by Jimmy in response to Jo’s urge to “Dream of me” upon their second leave-taking. “Dreamt of you last night,” he says. “Fell out of bed twice.” The lines also appeared in the film’s forebear, Shelagh Delaney’s popular play by the same name. But music fans like me otherwise would remember these from the middle eight of the Smiths’ first song on LP, “Reel Around the Fountain.”
I dreamt about you last night
and I fell out of bed twice
This past summer in Cheyenne my uncle Richard Hughes told me of his hallucinations. That a man going blind might also view visions seems an insult to injury. Yet his condition has a name—Charles Bonnet syndrome—after an eighteenth-century Swiss naturalist and philosopher. As profiled in ACNR (Vol. 8, No. 5, 19) Bonnet first listed his grandfather’s
silent visions of men, women, birds, carriages, and buildings, which he fully realised were ‘fictions’ of his brain. Bonnet himself later underwent visual deterioration and experienced hallucinations typical of the syndrome named after him […].
(Compare with “Blinky” Watts, the sound effects technician character from David Lynch’s short-lived TV series On the Air, who suffers from Bozeman’s Simplex, which causes him to see “25.62 times as much as we do.”)
Six months prior I came across a song by Richard Dawson, which I wanted to write about tonight only to find that he too sees things (due to a genetic defect), but through a glass darkly, as Dawson told The Guardian‘s Michael Hann, who remarked, “There’s an almost hallucinatory clarity to his writing.” Continue reading “Seeing Things”
Venus in Bling: Bryan Ferry Allures, Offends, Endures
A personal, feminist, and aesthetic critique of the style and substance of British rocker Bryan Ferry and his band Roxy Music written for an audience of colored gemstone aficionados.
Written for colored gemstone wholesale enterprise Pala International.