Looking Glass Language

a word bird reflects on life & language

Archive for the category “music”

just let me staple the vicar

From femidoms to pork pies, stapling the vicar to swimming in amen, it’s amazing what you hear being sung about on the radio.

All of us mishear lyrics, even those who sing for their living like my friend Rachel Mathews. (404005_185174974948910_105211750_nRachel and I used to sing together in a gospel group called Many Rivers, doing regular Sunday brunch sessions at the Oxo Tower on the South Bank and the 606 Jazz Club on Lot’s Road.) A talented singer / songwriter, with her own band, Rachel is also a founding member and soloist for Urban Voices, who came to prominence performing at the closing ceremony of the London Olympics. Read more…

oh no, brown cow

It might have been my love of reading that persuaded my mum to sign me up for elocution lessons when I was ten. Then again it could have been the fact that, while my elder sisters were excelling at the piano, I was more interested in kicking Heidi, our teacher Miss Hartman’s poodle, for licking my legs during the few lessons I had. Or simply that, in an effort to fit in at our frankly bloody awful school, I was starting to flirt with the Gloucestershire vernacular, saying ‘gurt’ for ‘great’ and ‘Ow bist?’ for ‘How are you?’… Read more…

Wordy Wednesday: Fluffy la Voie

My porn star name, based on the name of my first pet and my mother’s maiden name, is Gussy Baker. This has a nicely 20s sound to it, but I must admit that my one-time boyfriend’s porn star name was even better: Fluffy La Voie. It’s so good that it makes me want to set up a porno company, despite disapproving of the industry (in broad terms).

photoI’m in the south of France with my English boyfriend Nick, my Brazilian friend Paulo, his French boyfriend Didier, and our Dutch friend Yvonne. We sat around the fire pit outside, eating samosas I’d made earlier, and drinking rose, and then retired inside to a supper of red cabbage and walnut salad, with duck breasts cooked on the fire pit by Nick (who was careful not to let the sparks carry far as, unlike Dorset, it’s hardly rained here for the last 6 months). Read more…

Wordy Wednesday: paean

glass animalsMy choice of ‘paean’ is purely because I went to a great gig last night, the first in a long, long time, and in my old stomping ground of Shoreditch, no less. And as I loved the band I wanted to offer a paean (viz. sing a song of praise) to the talented foursome, whose members include a neuroscientist and two classical musicians at the top of their game. The gig was at Concrete, and I was there with my friend Janie, supporting her nephew Joe, drummer with Glass Animals. The band is the first signing for Wolf Tone, the new label by super-producer Paul Epworth (he of Adele fame). Epworth himself, who was supposed to be in LA on the night, was there, grooving along to his new signing’s performance. As was I…
Screen Shot 2013-11-13 at 18.59.36You can make your own mind up by listening to their enthralling, intelligent and inventive tracks on Soundcloud, here. Their extraordinary musicality reminds me of early Muse, though you’re more likely to find them being compared with Radiohead.

Read all about them in Paul Lester’s Guardian article, Glass Animals (New band of the day No 1,635) (theguardian.com)

Patti Smith mourns Lou Reed

Lou Reed by Tom BatchellReading Patti Smith’s poetic eulogy on Lou Reed in The New Yorker this week has made me want to revisit not just Lou’s work, but also Patti’s own. So, with the weather here in Dorset wet and windy, it seems like the perfect day to put my headphones on and take a walk on music’s wild side.

Below is a transcript of Patti’s poetic article (or you can simply read it in context). And, for the joy of it, I’ve included links to performances by both Lou Reed and Patti Smith.

Read more…

Jimmy Fallon mondegreen

Courtesy of the Tonight Show

Courtesy of Late Night Live

I like Jimmy Fallon, I really do, and I think Late Night Live has flashes of brilliance, but as far as mondegreens go, he ain’t no Peter Kay…

Jimmy references some really funny mondegreens, such as the lyrics of Elton John’s Tiny Dancer misheard as “Hold me close and tie me down, sir,” and Michael Jackson’s Wanna be startin’ something misheard as “I’m ashamed of the side of my moccasins; I’m ashamed of the side of my moccasins,” (try singing it). But at times it was hard to know which song he was referring to, even though he had the benefit of a twitter storm to pull his mondegreens from and a criminally under-used house band in the studio (what were they there for, if not to help us work out which song the misheard lyrics came from?). One fail, for me at least, was “Hit me with your pet shark,” – does anyone know what song that’s supposed to be from? Anyone?

Read more…

bullshit, horse-shit, testosterone & pee

Bull running in Céret

Céretferia

Céret is famous for three things: its Musée d’Art Moderne1; its cherries; and its feria.

Running over Bastille weekend, the Céret feria, which finished yesterday, is a 3-day festival of bullshit, horse-shit, testosterone and pee. It is famous for its bull-running and bullfights, and for being an orgy of drunkenness that attracts thousands of revellers to the town (both the bullfights and the drunks leading to a fair share of controversy). 

The feria temporarily transforms Céret from a picturesque, tranquil, civilised ville to a loutish, shouty party-vile, where the rosé is warm, the beer is cheap and the streets run with rivers of pee. Like bulls spotting the crimson swirl of a torreador’s cape, the pissed, pumped-up rugby players thronging Céret’s streets snort, bellow and paw the ground at the sight of red-lipped girls wearing shorts, crop tops and red & yellow USAP socks.  Read more…

Oops…

I heard of a great version of lyrical mondegreen this week, relating to The Gap Band’s ‘Oops upside your head‘. Even if you’re too young to remember this first time around, you must have heard it; in fact you’ve almost certainly been mortified by your tipsy mum and her friends sitting on the floor and shimmying along to it with the rest of the wedding, bar mitzvah or Christmas party crowd.

3870652466_d3245b42bdAt my friend Alexis’s wedding party at Fulham Palace on Tuesday, I ended up swapping stories with Rachel, a friend I used to sing with in a gospel group called ‘Many Rivers’ (we had a regular gospel Sunday lunch slot at the Oxo Tower, and the 606 Jazz Club). Rachel mentioned a well-endowed girlfriend of hers who believed that The Gap Band were singing ‘Say, boobs upside your head, say, boobs upside your head’: this makes more sense when you realise that she has huge boobs, which really do end up upside her head when she shimmies.

I was hoping to find a specific term for misheard song lyrics but I don’t believe one exists, hence lyrical mondegreen. However, I did find soramimi, which is the Japanese term for lyrics in one language being misheard as intelligible words in another. (Apparently that’s what happens with the ‘Numa Numa’ song…) To show you what I mean, this is Mike Sutton, aka Buffalax, using soramimi on YouTube, overlaying Hindi film music clips with the words he thinks he hears in English, to humorous effect.

I’ll be posting more misheard lyrics later: in the meantime, it would be great to hear your examples.

orderly conduct

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Have you ever noticed how, when you talk about couples you know, you say their names in a particular order? In our family, for instance, we always say Jilly and Colin, never Colin and Jilly, and Sue and Donald, not Donald and Sue… Somehow it would feel wrong if you changed the names around. Why is that? The lyrical quality of the word order, perhaps? Your subconscious mind taking over and letting you know who matters most? Read more…

striking the wrong chord

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“Me myself personally, I do prefer the funky stuff…”

Jimmy G was the son of a local haulier, drawn to our house by the presence of four nubile teenage girls, but spotted by my dad and made to listen to his piano-playing. Once my dad started playing, it was always hard to stop him, but this time he made the mistake of asking Jimmy mid-piece what he thought of the music he was playing. When he heard Jimmy’s ripe and rustic response, “Me myself personally, I do prefer the funky stuff”, his hands briefly trembled in mid-air and then fell to the keyboard with a cacophonous clang. Read more…

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