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

Monday, April 04, 2005


From the 1972 Penguin anthology, “Imagist Poetry,” ed. Peter Jones, an appendix of contemporaneous parodies, this anonymous dollop published in the “The Chapbook: A Monthly Miscellany,” May 1921.

“Tutti Frutti”

On the spots of
The brown cushion
My love
Has laid her yellow hairs.

Her fan is not moving:

Is the drunken juggler?

[JOHN COMMENTS: Anticipating not only Little Richard, but the closest Sondheim ever came to a hit, “Send in the Clowns.” Where is the drunken juggler indeed. Ezra Pound wasn’t really a lunatic, but he played one for the hanging judge; in a late poem Carl Sandburg referred to Pound as “my crazy brudder.”]


My friend Jay Sherman-Godfrey writes in response to recent posts on Barry Manilow and Elvis Presley's soundtrack to "Loving You." First up, "Loving You." Here's Jay:

"Loving You is my fave Elvis picture. He plays a cleaned up proxy of himself and the story line is an up an coming singer who overshadows his mentor (and falls for the mentoress). The title song is delicous -- what a groggy tempo, and thos druneken L's --- llllllovingggg you... One Night of Sin is the original lyric (Fats Domino again) to E's big hit One Night With You. I didn't know he had recorded the origianl lyric. The hit has a great burlesque, stripper drum thing going, so it's clean-ness is only skin deep."

And, here's Jay on barriers to Loving Barry:

"I think another barrier for the rock crit crowd is theatricality. Some rockers, Bowie, etc., can get away with it by couching it in concept -- making it art. And, young Elvis is of course a great performer, but it is called inspiration -- dancing in tongues, so to speak -- uncalculated. Vegas Elvis, on the other hand, gets no respect -- showbiz, calculated theater.

"But generous performance, and the emotive kind of music making that goes with it is a no no.

"Eisenberg talks about the idea of cool. Rocker's must stay cool, though they are allowed to be moved by the spirit."

JOHN REPLIES: Right about "Loving You" (which I forgot to mention as a highlight of the album!); right about the Stripper Drums to both of Elvis's "One Night"s (good call! I hadn't thought of it that way, and you're right); and right about theatricality. I would add that not only does Bowie bring "art" to his theatricality, but irony as well. Same in soul music -- theatricality is fine in the Motown acts and Otis Redding, but by the '70s, Earth Wind & Fire's unironic theatricality doesn't cut it with the critics nearly as well as Funkadelic's ironic take on staginess does.

Digressive afterthought: Is there a relationship between the embrace of irony in the '70s and the shrinking historical hopes that parallelled the shrinking economy?
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