Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's BĂȘte Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Thursday, May 06, 2004


Thom Gunn, an English-born poet who lived most of his adult life in America, died last week. I don't know much of his poetry, but his poem called "Elvis Presley" has the prophetic line, "He turns revolt into a style." Gunn wrote the poem in 1957 -- an audaciously early critique of the myth that rock and roll = revolt.


Driving to work this morning (Wednesday morning; it's late Wednesday night for me now), I heard on the college jazz-folk-news-world-music station a swatch of intense freebop in the style of Miles Davis's '60s pre-electric band. Early in the morning, I had a momentary fantasy that the band had been up playing all night, that musicians are possessed and inspired always to play, play, play, all night long and long into the day.

Then I turned the station -- wasn't in the mood for freebop. The older-than-oldies station was playing Nat King Cole's awesomely dreamy & lush recording of Hoagy Carmichael's "Stardust." Not right either for early morning music. Counter-intuitive programming -- I've noticed radio does this quite a bit. Monday morning 8 o'clock I heard the great uplifting workday-done song, "Five O'Clock World" by the Vogues.

"But it's a five o'clock world when the whistle blows.
No one owns a piece of my time.
And there's a five o'clock me inside my clothes,
thinking that the world looks fine, yeah."

And then a swooping wordless full-hearted melodic yodel.

It seemed almost cruel, hearing it at 8 o'clock Monday morning, until I remembered that there IS a 5 o'clock me inside my clothes, always, and eventually that person & outward circumstances will coincide happily again.

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