punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

There's more to life than this...

A long time ago, I got turned onto a group known as "The Sugarcubes." I don't recall who, but it was someone in the FanTek writer's group who turned me onto this group. Some of you punk/emo/goth people know who the female lead vocalist was, and what she ended up doing. The history of this girl is interesting, and only when I became an older teen did I find out the semi-glam punk band was from Iceland, which I thought was "tre exotic." I found out she was a teen, who had a varied musical background. Her father Gundomnd was a producer, and she ended up being a very talented musician. She appeared as a star on Icelandic TV by age 8 or so, and by 11, she had her first album. I later found out I had listened to an LP of her first punk band, Tappi Tikarass, from a friend of mine who got me hooked onto early Siouxsie and the Banshees.

Shortly after I got married, the lead singer broke out on her own with a solo work. The way I found out was I was watching MTV late at night, and came across "Human Behavior," a totally weird video with a great song. And the the singer's distinct voice and poetic lyrics was very familiar. Yes, it was Bjork from the Sugarcubes! Since my eclectic taste in music was shared only with the voices in my head, we all went out and bought "Debut," and listened to the cassette over and over again while I was taking the bus back and forth to work. I almost wore it out.

First of all, Bjork is nuts. I mean, certifiably, over-eccentric, raised-by-artistic-parents-in-a-commune nuts. She represents what happens to the human brain when they have been raised outside of society's norm, given a ton of intellect, and reacted to the real world with the grace and style of a gibbon. I doubt I could meet her in person, because I bet after a few hours, we'd get into a physical altercation. I have seen her in interviews, and she's what my wife and I would call "touched." Part child, part animal, and all poetic genius. I mean, she's smart. Real smart. But her temper tantrums, anger, and soulful primitive cries wailed into a microphone make me believe if she didn't have music, she'd be in an insane asylum. Her music and poetry are raw, primitive, and emotional.

I love her work, but she scares me.

In the last few days, I have been converting a bunch of albums I have to vorbis ogg files, and I just burned a CD version of Debut I didn't know I had. I think I got it from a friend who asked if I wanted it when I got my first CD player (in 1994, I know I am behind the times, but you'll be happy to know the first album I bought was Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon"), or maybe I ordered it from Half.com, or from a promo back when SecondSpin.com kept sending me voluminous coupons. I don't recall. So I burned it to my hard drive, and spent part of last night and this morning listening to tracks I haven't heard since... well, 1993 or so.

The memories it brought back...

One track in mind was "There's More to Life Than This," which seems to be the effect of someone singing over a generic dance club music and mocking it. Like the real song had generic club lyrics and pseudo-Motown backup singers (the kind that Lou Reed called "the colored girls that go 'doo do doo do doo do do doo'"). The effect of the song is that Bjork's voice seems to be singing in your ear over the other song, and even as you go into the women's restroom with her, and you can picture her singing into the mirror, adjusting her makeup, before kicking open the door back into the lame dance club floor. This song was so... close to my experiences at really bad parties, and the people I hung out with.

come on girl!
let's sneak out of this party
it's getting boring
there's more to life than this!

As a gothy young teen, we'd sneak into some dumbass kid's party, who was too drunk or stoned to notice, grab free food, and maybe even nick some stuff (I never did, but I had some friends who actually stole albums and small stuff like that). The parties got boring real quick. I mean, they were usually half over by the time we got there, as the punk and goth element were one of the first signs your party has been crashed in general, and within a few hours, the cops would be there for some reason. Not that I ever tossed billiard balls into some rich kid's parent's greenhouse windows. Nope. Who would have guessed plastic shatters, too?

it's still early morning
we could go down to the harbor
and jump between the boats
and see the sun come up

This is awesome. Marinas in the morning are often chilly, and everything is wet from the dew, even if it was 80 degrees last night. The air is crisp, maybe misty, and you can sometimes see your breath and the breath of your comrades. At sunrise, the marina is dead except for a few early fishermen, and you feel alone, like the world was really only open you those that had beaten the night.

we could nick a boat
and sneak off to this island
i could bring my little ghettoblaster
there's more to life than this!

I never stole a boat (cars I would never admit to), but sometimes a friend would bring their little ghetto blaster (does anyone use that term anymore? It used to mean "boom box" or a portable stereo with a big handle on the top), and we'd play something. Well, honestly, among my friends, that wasn't too common because the goth crowd doesn't exactly try and get noticed by blasting Robert Smith or Black Flag. And back then, ghettoblasters were fairly big and heavy, like the size of 4 reams of copier paper.

but then we'd have to rush back
to the town's best baker
to get the first bread of the morning
there's more to life than this!

Or the first Krispy Kreme donuts, or when the coffee at some diner was just brewed. We didn't have many bakeries in downtown Vienna, except the Amphora's, and they baked bread all day and night, being a 24/7 restaurant. The Krispy Creme on Route 1 used to have these laminated steel outdoor tables and benches, and we'd sit and share a box of donuts, drinking hot coffee, getting our asses wet from the dew that had condensed on the metal overnight. You were kind of loopy on sleep-dep, high on coffee and sugar, looking at the Saturday morning traffic starting to pick up.

Goth1: I am so tired.
Goth2: Fuck, yeah.
Goth3: Where can I get some chocolate?
Goth2: This coffee is terrible.
Goth3: Don't eat all the donuts!
Goth1: So, like, do you think that girl at the counter was scared of us?
Goth2: Who gives a shit.
Goth3: She was so establishment. So bourgeoisie.
Goth1: I want chocolate, too.
Goth2: How much money you got left?
Goth3: I am tapped out, I just gave you my last nickel for the coffee.
Goth1: I got about a buck fifty. Let me have another donut.
Goth2: Between us, we have enough for 4 candy bars at High's over there.
Goth3: There's more to life than this...
Goth2: When does the Dairy Queen open?

Oh yeah. Good times. :)

This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000560.html
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