When sorrow is fashionable.
I have known Raven for a month or so; every time we’ve met I’ve had a lot of fun, and I think I owe him too many drinks (more drinks than times we’ve met? maybe). The other day we were talking about the persistence of the Gothic subculture from the early 80s all the way to the present. I found it absurd that a taste for black clothes, some rock bands, and old horror movies would translate into a personality aimed at a display of melancholy. I was, of course, wrong, because I was forgetting my own adolescence.
I was 16 to 22 years-old in the years in which trip-hop and Radiohead were the best commercial-and-at-the-same-time-alternative music to come out of the British Isles. Portishead. Tricky. Massive Attack. Björk’s first two albums. Music to be depressed to. I listened to Portishead’s Dummy every day for a year. I discovered Radiohead a little bit later, but it struck me just as intensely. OK Computer, an album that starts with a song about a traffic accident and ends with a song about stress, was my soundtrack of the first half of the year 2000. I wasn’t always sad when I listened to those bands, but the artists lived on an image of chronic despair. You don’t expect anything else from someone who sings "please, could you stay a while to share my grief? " and sounds as if she is just about to start weeping.
None of those bands would exist without the 70’s and early 80’s work of (among others) Pink Floyd, a band that I loved as a baby, and rediscovered few years ago. This is one of my favourite, wallow-in-self-pity songs from The Wall; it probably only makes sense with music.
I got a little black book with my poems in.
Got a bag, got a toothbrush and a comb.
When I’m a good dog they sometimes throw me a bone.
I got elastic bands keeping my shoes on.
Got those swollen hands blues.
Got thirteen channels of shit on the TV to choose from.
I got electric light,
And I got second sight.
Got amazing powers of observation.
And that is how I know,
When I try to get through,
On the telephone to you,
There’ll be nobody home.
I got the obligatory Hendrix perm,
And the inevitable pinhole burns,
All down the front of my favorite satin shirt.
I got nicotine stains on my fingers.
I got a silver spoon on a chain.
Got a grand piano to prop up my mortal remains.
I’ve got wild, staring eyes.
And I got a strong urge to fly,
But I got nowhere to fly to ...fly to... fly to... fly to.
When I pick up the phone,
There’s still nobody home.
Tengo un librito negro con mis poemas,
Y una bolsa, un cepillo de dientes y un peine,
Cuando soy un perrito bueno me tiran un hueso.
Tengo gomas elásticas para sujetar los zapatos,
Tengo el blues de la mano hinchada,
Tengo 13 canales de mierda para elegir en la tele.
Tengo luz eléctrica,
Y tengo poderes paranormales,
Tengo unas dotes de observación impresionantes.
Y por eso sé
Que cuando intente llamarte
No lo cogerá nadie.
Tengo la imprescindible permanente a lo Hendrix,
Y las inevitables quemaduras que fumar
Deja por toda la pechera de mi mejor camisa de raso.
Tengo manchas de nicotina en los dedos.
Tengo una cuchara de plata colgando de una cadena.
Tengo un piano de cola para apoyarme en él.
Tengo la mirada perdida y salvaje.
Tengo unas inmensas ganas de volar,
Pero ningún sitio a donde ir.
Ay, mi vida,
Cuando coja el teléfono
No va a cogerlo nadie.