John and Belle Used to Have a Blog

by Belle Waring on November 2, 2015

Remember? This post and comments are about meta songs that refer to themselves in the song, and I got a ton of great recommendations. Definitely enough for the themed mix I didn’t end up making and will do now. I noted that the genius Raspberries song “Overnight Sensation” has the lines “and if the program director don’t want it/he’s bound to get back a bullet,” which is ridiculous, as Eric Carmen is like the third least-hardcore person in the entire world, after Art Garfunkel and Usher. The plaintive would-be hit has a radio effect at 3:05 that I lovelovelove.

I thought the other day, you know, I wrote stuff almost daily for…7 or 8 years? But I never read it. Then someone linked to an old post and I was moved to go. It’s like I have a huge diary online, which I don’t look at.* It’s sort of weird. It does make me feel I should throw up posts more often on this here blog, just because there’s surely always one thing I have an opinion about each day. Such as, in Minecraft PE creative mode it seems as if you can use the monster spawn cages as industrial-style end tables, or cool window grilles. I’ve just tested them in a cave and gotten nothing; I haven’t built anything with them yet. But OTOH I’ve gotten actual monsters spawning out of the naturally occurring ones since the recent update (in which I got rain! I love Minecraft rain!). I like to spawn harmless monsters to give my smoothed, finished linked caverns some atmosphere, except not spiders because NO. Also ghasts make creepy noises you can hear from above-ground even after you brick them into a huge cave, mewling down there in their blockish-Lovecraftian fashion. But the girls loathe it when I make Endermen to walk around carrying the world away block by block to build the Enderlands. I wouldn’t want my realistic HDB window grilles to make my girls unhappy by generating Endermen inside at random. I bet you guys have lots of opinions about this. “Belle, don’t front. Endermen are straight creepy and you’re only acting brave because you never play Survival.” Or, “what the hell are you blogging about Minecraft for on this allegedly academic blog.” So many opinions. Tell me the stories of your people.

*Violet wants to explain that this is why, if you do a google image search for her name you…actually get a million baby pictures of her, personally. Also no one is named Holbo in the world except them and some other people originally from a single small farm in Norway.

{ 112 comments }

1

Lynne 11.02.15 at 1:31 pm

Yes, more posts, please. :) You’re making me want to try Minecraft.

2

oldster 11.02.15 at 1:47 pm

Is Eric Carmen trying to be hardcore? Or just making an insider joke about how fast-rising singles were indicated in Billboard Magazine?

3

Belle Waring 11.02.15 at 2:08 pm

Oooh, I don’t know, Oldster. Were they marked with bullet points or something?
Lynne: you should totally play Minecraft.

4

Lyle 11.02.15 at 2:21 pm

Silvia Knight did a meta piss-take that I thought was clever at the time.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KkydPOGTJKk

5

Jacob T. Levy 11.02.15 at 2:32 pm

If you do a google images search on my name, you *also* turn up images of Violet and Zoe, since some of the highest-traffic pages my name appears on were for so long my comments on J&BHAB.

6

rootlesscosmo 11.02.15 at 3:43 pm

Oldster is right–I think there was a song (Tower of Power?) called “Eighteen With a Bullet” (“Got my finger on the trigger and I’m gonna pull it”.) There was also a self-referential song, which I’d love to track down, about a flop: “It’s a hundred and three in Cashbox/In Billboard it can’t be found/And it’s a hundred and thirteen on the Record World charts/And going down.”
There are also poems that describe their own poetic form, like Swinburne’s “A Roundel,” which tells you how to write a roundel. This lovely riff on Anglican hymns appeared in “Punch” around 1954 (I haven’t been able to identify the author):

1. I love the hymns that put
Two three-foot lines in front,
And then bring in an extra foot
To give the third a bunt.

2. With Latin prosody
These learned authors thought
It right to elide an “O” or “E”
To achieve the effect they sought.

3. Nor was their work the worse,
In that they had the nerve
Their verbal order to reverse,
And verbs for rhymes reserve.

4. How simple was their faith,
These sober, staid divines,
Who buttressed an established Church
With weakly founded lines,

5. And still maintain, today,
When faith has more to meet,
The even tenor of their way
In odd iambic feet.

7

Mr Punch 11.02.15 at 3:57 pm

Sure, the bullet marked a fast-rising hit.
Zal Yanovsky, formerly of the Lovin’Spoonful (10 cc, in metric), who was mentioned in a quite self-referential hit (Creeque Alley), put out a solo record called something like “Is it a hit, or is it a miss” it was a miss.

8

DonBoy 11.02.15 at 4:17 pm

It’s “If the program director don’t pull it, then it’s bound to get back a bullet”. If he plays it, it’ll be a hit.

9

The Temporary Name 11.02.15 at 4:53 pm

Mind you, in the Eric Carmen days Italians ran the payola rackets…

10

oldster 11.02.15 at 5:32 pm

See, the last thing I want to do is to condescend to Belle, or appear to do so. Because she knows more than I do, as a general thing, and when it comes to pop culture she knows a *lot* more than I do.

So I knew that she knows what “a bullet” means in the old Billboard charts. I didn’t pretend to enlighten her about that, cause I know she knows it.

On the other hand, there’s knowing and there’s knowing. And it seemed to me that if the Billboard sense of “bullet” was firmly to the forefront of her conscious mind when she wrote that bit about Eric Carmen, then calling him “hardcore” for using it would not make any sense. (Does it? Maybe I just missed a deeper layer of joke? Enlighten me, Belle!)

So I took myself to be *reminding* her about something that she perfectly well knows, but might not have been keeping in mind when she wrote. That’s not condescending, because no matter how much you know, you can’t keep it all in mind at once.

The rest of y’all, tho, who think you are telling Belle something she didn’t know? Well: woe betide you, is all I have to say. I disavow you, and you are on your own.

11

Dave Heasman 11.02.15 at 7:55 pm

I think there was a song (Tower of Power?) called “Eighteen With a Bullet”

Actually soft Englishman Pete Wingfield.

12

Dave Heasman 11.02.15 at 7:58 pm

“It’s a hundred and three in Cashbox/In Billboard it can’t be found/And it’s a hundred and thirteen on the Record World charts/And going down.”

I think this was by Dr Hook

13

Teachable Moe 11.02.15 at 8:20 pm

Is it good or bad to be hardcore?

14

AN 11.02.15 at 8:32 pm

Please blog about minecraft, etc. on this academic blog. I come to this allegedly academic blog as a break from my allegedly academic life and thus desperately need some humanity. Some hardcore humanity.

15

The Temporary Name 11.02.15 at 9:01 pm

16

Dave Heasman 11.02.15 at 10:16 pm

101 on cash box

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGUKCFku1ZM

Chip Taylor. I have owned this record for 40 years..

17

rootlesscosmo 11.02.15 at 10:25 pm

Bless you, Dave Heasman. Now if anyone can point me to a video version (any format) of the Jacques Prévert film, “Voyage Surprise” then my world will be complete and perfect.

18

Peter Hovde 11.02.15 at 10:34 pm

Punk is a good source for meta-most explicit that I can remember off hand is the Clash’s “Complete control-even over this song!” But the Adverts really ran with self-process referentiality-“I knew my youth couldn’t last together/I knew some chords so I got the band together.” “I wonder what we’ll do when things go wrong/when we’re halfway through our favorite song/ we look up and the audience is gone/Will we feel a little bit obscure/think we’re not needed here/we must be New Wave, they’ll like us next year!”

19

js. 11.02.15 at 10:57 pm

I believe no one on the other thread mentioned “Political Song for Michael Jackson to Sing”. Inexcusable, really.

20

Robert King 11.03.15 at 1:00 am

Yes, more minecraft.

21

Belle Waring 11.03.15 at 1:40 am

Complete Control is one of my fave ever songs. Oldster: I did not know the thing you told me. You told me a fact about which I was ignorant. It was you who was right, while I, by contrast, was wrong.
Jacob that’s super-cute!

22

Anderson 11.03.15 at 2:08 am

“Broke into the Top 100 – with a bullet” used to be a phrase, I thought.

23

Teachable Moe 11.03.15 at 2:21 am

Vanity, thy name is Vanity.

24

Bill Murray 11.03.15 at 2:24 am

js. @19

perhaps few people jammed Econo at CT back then

25

Bill Murray 11.03.15 at 2:53 am

I would also add “The Streets of Where I’m From” by the Old 97s as a meta song.

26

The Temporary Name 11.03.15 at 3:26 am

Radio stations I question their blackness
They call themselves black but we’ll see if they’ll play this.

27

ZM 11.03.15 at 3:42 am

The blog linked to mentions Pavement’s Gold Sounds and Stereo. There is also Father to a Sister of Thought “writing device, I’ll say it twice, I’m too much, I’m too much comforted here.” The lyrics websites all say it is “rotten device, I’ll say it twice” but I always thought it was “writing device” myself.

I once met Pavement in 1994, when they sold inappropriate t-shirts for girls at an all ages show in a Melbourne suburb, and me and my friend accidentally bought one not realising it was inappropriate and I saw them backstage and we went to ask them to sign it. They signed the t-shirt without telling us it was inappropriate; I am sure this is why it was so awkward meeting Pavement since they knew they shouldn’t have sold the t-shirt to unwitting girls who travelled hours from the countryside to Melbourne to see them, as my friend told them.

28

ZM 11.03.15 at 3:44 am

“the people sang protest songs to try and stop the soldier’s gun
Protest Songs in a response to Military Aggression
Protest songs to try and stop the soldier’s gun
But the battle raged on……”

https://youtu.be/RY9TbZMlTaI

29

Alan White 11.03.15 at 5:24 am

I scanned the old thread and this one and didn’t see a classic–Do Re Mi:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jITsImZdlMQ

Now that’s self-referential.

30

Alan White 11.03.15 at 5:34 am

Follow-up: the opening to Do Re Mi is “when you know the notes to sing, you can sing most anything”–which is not just self-referential, but meta-referential and generalizes. Is that Russellian or what?

31

Martin Bento 11.03.15 at 5:37 am

Well, the obvious: Your Song by Elton John, A Song for You by Donny Hathaway

There are also songs that refer to their own harmony:

Every Time We Say Goodbye by Cole Porter “How strange the change from major to minor” – You change to minor there.

The same thing is in Timer by Laura Nyro “And if the song goes minor, I won’t mind” The song, of course, goes minor.

Also, Only a Northern Song by the Whassernames.
“If you’re listening to this song
You may think the chords are going wrong
But they’re not
We just wrote them like that”

32

Lyle 11.03.15 at 5:48 am

Is Tim Minchin still welcome?

“Dark Side”

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=OrmOTkcfZgA

33

Martin Bento 11.03.15 at 5:53 am

Oh, of course, Rock Steady by Aretha Franklin “Let’s call this song exactly what it is”

34

Lyle 11.03.15 at 5:56 am

(go for the meta, stay for the piana)

35

Belle Waring 11.03.15 at 6:37 am

Thanks for the awesome suggestions, peeps! You never disappoint. Well, like you ever disappoint, for some set of ‘you,’ not including all of you and including people not commenting in the music threads. Y’all right here don’t disappoint.
Alan White: yes to the “Do Re Mi” set theory.
Martin Bento: “Only a Northern Song” is a pet song of mine, using which (in addition to some other tracks like “Happiness is a Warm Gun”) I converted a non-liker-of-the-Beatles to the objectively true fact that The Beatles are the jam–wait; technically The Jam is the jam. Anyway, he paradoxically liked every power pop band ever but had an erroneous impression of what The Beatles sound like.
ZM: what was so inappropes about the shirts, if I may ask?

36

ZM 11.03.15 at 6:57 am

Belle,

The t-shirt was commercially called The Sunnyside Up T-shirt.

When we found out it was an inappropriate t-shirt after my friend wore it to school, it was called thereafter The Egg Breasts T-shirt.

You can probably guess the image and how it was inappropriate to sell to girls at an all ages show and also sign it as if it wasn’t inappropriate.

I tried to wear it to a music festival since it was our only signed t-shirt, but I couldn’t bear it, and bought a Hole t-shirt with a glittery heart as soon as I was in the festival gates. You might say that a Hole t-shirt was no less inappropriate for girls than a Sunnyside Up T-shirt, but it felt more appropriate.

37

Belle Waring 11.03.15 at 7:23 am

I would never have gotten that there was a boobs implication because I am pun-blind.

38

ZM 11.03.15 at 7:40 am

I thought it was a cheerful morning breakfast t-shirt, since I just thought of the t-shirt by itself and not of the t-shirt when worn by a female body.

39

Dave Heasman 11.03.15 at 8:35 am

Meta-songs don’t come much more meta than “Darling Listen to the Words of this Song”,
which I seem to have by the Royaltones and also by Ruth McFadden and the Supremes. Playing them back they seem to be identical.

40

Lee A. Arnold 11.03.15 at 10:19 am

“New Song” by The Who?

41

oldster 11.03.15 at 12:18 pm

Fair enough, Belle. I will continue to assume that you know more about pop-culture than I do, and try to avoid pop-splaining.

42

Jacob Haller 11.03.15 at 2:07 pm

Buck Owens’s ‘Truck Drivin’ Man’ is mostly about how you should play ‘Truck Drivin’ Man’ on the jukebox. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jcQSIyGOJk

43

Lasker 11.03.15 at 2:44 pm

@rootlesscosmo,

That is wonderful, thanks for sharing – I found myself imagining it sung to St. Thomas almost automatically.

44

The Temporary Name 11.03.15 at 2:46 pm

That’s a lot of coffee.

45

Belle Waring 11.03.15 at 3:23 pm

Dude, oldster, I’m being 100% serious! I didn’t know about the “gonna get back a bullet” thing, and then you told me, solving a problem that has mildly confused me (in retrospect) for like 20 years, about whether Eric Carmen was trying to be hardcore. It speaks very ill of my character that you think I’m still being pissy that you thought I ever didn’t know one thing. I was mixed up and your response was helpful and relevant. For real. I’m not sure how I can signal this more strongly.

46

rootlesscosmo 11.03.15 at 3:40 pm

@Lasker: that one hadn’t occurred to me but it works perfectly, much better than “The Church’s One Foundation” which was my first association. The internal self-references–“to elide an O or E/To achieve the effect,” “the verbal order to reverse/and verbs for rhymes reserve”–strike me as brilliant. The “elide” line stayed with me over six decades–no exaggeration–and I tried, half-heartedly, to find bound volumes of Punch for the early 1950s, but apparently someone cleared out the libraries of a thousand seaside resort boarding houses in Britain, because they’re not easy to locate. Then a Web search turned up exactly one hit, on a church organist’s site, but without attribution. So OK, standing offer: a dozen oysters and a frosty beverage of your choice at Hog Island Oyster Company in the San Francisco Ferry Building to anyone who can provide evidence of who wrote this (offer does not include transportation to and from San Francisco.)

47

oldster 11.03.15 at 4:28 pm

It’s all okay, Belle. I believed you back at my 41. In this case, you lacked a certain piece of trivia, and I provided it. I accept that. My 41 was just to say that this anomalous instance will not affect my policy going forward–typically, I assume you know what you are talking about, and I will continue to do that.

So my 41 was not intended to reproach you for pissiness or impugn your character or demand louder signaling. It was intended to accept your account. It was just too terse for clarity.

48

Jim Buck 11.03.15 at 5:19 pm

49

TB 11.03.15 at 6:00 pm

Is it possible no one has listed Jackie is a Punk yet? (“Third verse, different from the first”)

50

Doug K 11.03.15 at 7:36 pm

@rootlesscosmo – every once in a while something comes up which is utterly outside the reach of the internets. Congratulations on finding another one ! ha.

I am sure I miss a lot of the jokes in there due to insufficient poetic studies, but it’s still very amusing to one reared as an Anglican.. thank you..

There are back issues of Punch available but only up to 1920, presumably due to copyright or other offenses against nature.
http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/gutbook/serial?name=Punch

The entire archive is online here, but it is only available to libraries and universities.
http://gale.cengage.co.uk/punch-historical-archive.aspx
If you are or know someone who is affiliated to a library or university, they can get a free trial.
The ‘odd iambic feet’ would be a unique phrase I imagine..

51

GHG 11.03.15 at 7:58 pm

As to post 26 above, I immediately thought of

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LK8sxngSWaU

I get on the mix late in the night/
They know I’m living right so here go the mike, sike

There’s an awful lot of “meta” in PE.

52

js. 11.03.15 at 11:56 pm

I think it’s actually difficult to find a hip hop song that’s not self-referential in some way. I’ve always loved Nas starting off “NY State of Mind” with, “I don’t know how to start this”. In any case, rhymes reflecting on their own structure or content is a totally standard technique.

53

Bartholomew 11.04.15 at 12:00 am

“This will be our last song together
Words will only make us cry
This will be our last song together
There’s no other way we can say goodbye”

Martin Bento @31: Re Cole Porter major-minor, Chico Buarque does something similar:
Voltei a cantar
porque senti saudade
do tempo em que eu andava pela cidade
Com sustenidos e bemóis
Desenhados na minha voz
E a saudade rola, rola
Como um disco de vitrola
Começo a recordar
Cantando em tom maior
E acabo no tom menor

I returned to sing
because I missed
the time when I walked around the city
With sharps and flats
Designed in my voice
And the longing rolls
Like a gramophone record
I begin to remember
Singing in major key
And I end up in a minor key

Also, I’ve heard singers, Sarah Vaughan for example, deliberately sing wrong notes in Gershwin:
‘The way your smile just beams, the way you sing off-key’

54

The Temporary Name 11.04.15 at 12:03 am

Every instance of “take it to the bridge” would count.

55

Mdc 11.04.15 at 12:33 am

Jobim, “One-note Samba” is very clever.

56

JPL 11.04.15 at 9:51 am

Everything I say is a lie, including the following sentence. Let’s not forget about this song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jn2PNlhvy8E
.

57

Bartholomew 11.04.15 at 10:48 am

And even earlier than the ‘One-note samba’, there is this from the thirties, sung by Josephine Baker:
Sur deux notes
Je te dis que je t’aime
Sur trois notes
Je te donne mon cœur
Sur quatre notes
Je développe le thème
Et sur toute la gamme
Je chante mon bonheur

58

David Harmon 11.04.15 at 2:07 pm

“Endermen to walk around carrying the world away block by block to build the Enderlands”

… Ohhh! THAT’S why they do that! :)

59

ajay 11.04.15 at 2:38 pm

23 is annoying because, as I seem to recall someone (d2?) pointing out, it is not vain to think this song is about you, because it actually is about you.

60

oldster 11.04.15 at 2:59 pm

I disagree, ajay. The fact that you think the song is about you may still be a manifestation of your vanity, even if the song is, in fact, about you.

The singer’s argument is not, “I concede that this song is about you, but if you think that (obviously true) fact, then by thinking it you are being vain.” That argument would suffer from the problem that you and (d2?) complain about, since no general imputation of vanity arises from thinking true facts.

Rather, the argument is, “your vanity is displayed in many ways, listed in my verses, one of which is your tendency to think that *everything* is about you–this song, other songs, political elections, the weather, etc. While you may be right in this case, you still would have thought it even if you were wrong–and that’s a manifestation of your vanity. You are the sort of person who habitually thinks that songs are about you, and so you probably think this one is, too. Your being right in this case does nothing to change the fact that your patterns and predispositions prove your vanity.”

Having said that, I am eager to agree that 23 is annoying for many, many reasons.

61

MG 11.04.15 at 3:24 pm

I love this blog post if only it allows me share a story that as a teenager, I once served Eric Carmen a piece of pie (not a metaphor for something else — I was a waitress in a pie shop in Northeast Ohio). Everyone in the restaurant was so happy to see a son of Cleveland kicking around. He was super nice, a good tipper and was sitting *all by himself*.

62

mdc 11.04.15 at 3:35 pm

I think it’s pretty clear that “You’re So Vain” *supposed* to be paradoxical. The singer finds herself in an impossible situation: she wants to castigate the vanity of the addressee, but can’t do so without confirming the addressee in his vanity. This paradoxical situation is at least as maddening as the addressee’s vanity itself (“don’t you? don’t you? don’t you?”)

One implicit consequence is that the singer’s need to condemn another’s vanity is itself a form of vanity: the vanity of the moral scourge, of the critic. Sort of a masterstroke of irony.

On the other hand, the realization of this clever drama in this particular music is pretty tedious and annoying, I agree.

63

The Temporary Name 11.04.15 at 3:46 pm

64

Tom Slee 11.04.15 at 5:50 pm

I’ve never been sure whether the Stone Roses “This is the One” is self-referential or not.

65

Dean C. Rowan 11.04.15 at 6:55 pm

A blog consisting of daily posts of “Overnight Sensation” would be perfectly acceptable to me. The song captures the quintessence of power pop, and for this reason Eric Carmen, to my mind and to my ears, will never have to vie for a place at the hard-core table. He’s up there with Lemmy. But I’ve always thought the lyric was, “and if the program director don’t pull it…,” thus effecting a perfect rhyme.

66

Dean C. Rowan 11.04.15 at 7:02 pm

As for self-referentiality, consider Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.

67

Dipper 11.04.15 at 7:39 pm

Elton John Your Song.

68

Bloix 11.04.15 at 9:14 pm

Love Song (Sarah Bareilles) is a song that is about not being about itself. Ceci n’est pas une chanson d’amour.

69

Dean C. Rowan 11.04.15 at 9:23 pm

At this very moment, Irwin Chusid at station WFMU is playing the fade-out of a song by Ben Mason, “As the Music Fades.”

70

Woody Guthrie's Axe 11.04.15 at 9:24 pm

In that bit of “Every Time I Say Goodbye,” the music actually doesn’t go from major to minor, although you’d think it would.

71

rootlesscosmo 11.04.15 at 11:23 pm

Hm. The tonality of the song certainly doesn’t, but I got to wondering about the changes and looked in a fake book. This has the home key as (concert) E flat and the chord under “from major to” is A flat minor 7, then D flat 7 under “minor.” It does have A flat major 7 under “change from” in the second half of the preceding bar, so there is a hint of major-minor shift. But as I learned the changes long ago (off a Coltrane recording, long ago) I heard A flat major 7 under “from major” and A flat minor 7 (not D flat anything) under “to minor.” I don’t have that recording to hand, though, and it wouldn’t be the first time my ears tripped me up (and how’s that for an image?)–I had the wrong changes to “Stella by Starlight” for a long time until an irritated bass player set me straight.

72

Martin Schafer 11.04.15 at 11:34 pm

Lyric from First Overnight Guest by my friend Nate Bucklin (end of the last verse)

“He writes these words about himself to sing in the third person.
There’s no other way to get things off his chest,
And he’s waiting for the first overnight guest.”

73

rootlesscosmo 11.04.15 at 11:34 pm

On the Ella Fitzgerald record the arrangement uses the chords as in my fake book, but on Charlie Haden Quartet West the shift is in the second (“major to minor”) bar, subdominant major 7 to subdominant minor 7. The research continues.

74

Shylock Homeslice 11.05.15 at 1:19 am

Searched youtube for Seven Lively Arts Ev’ry time We Say Goodbye to find a non-jazz version. There are a bunch of them.
Here’s Kiri TeKanawa’s version.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYmInCWaUWk

There are 2 iterations of the line: one at about 1:46, and one at about 2:30. Sounds to me like the 1st one is more like the Ella changes and the 2nd is more like the Haden changes.

75

George de Verges 11.05.15 at 1:39 am

Sometimes y’all wear me out.

76

js. 11.05.15 at 2:30 am

People are getting way too fancy here. To bring us back:

There’s not a line that goes here that rhymes with anything.

77

js. 11.05.15 at 3:27 am

Tom Slee @64:

Surely, “The One” is Ian Brown referring to himself—I mean, he’s just told us he’s the resurrection! (Seriously, I love the band, but that dude might have a Jesus problem?)

78

PJW 11.05.15 at 3:59 am

“They’re a band beyond description, Like Jehovah’s favorite choir.” (The Music Never Stopped, The Dead)

79

Jim Buck 11.05.15 at 7:58 am

“Now you say it Modern Lovers”:

80

Martin Bento 11.05.15 at 8:13 am

Yeah, in Every Time We Say Goodbye, it’s more a matter of how it’s usually played. I usually hear what this page is calling the “Haden version”. Stan Kenton didn’t play it that way, and I thought it sounded kind of lunkheaded.

The classic 1m, 1mmaj7, 1m7, 1m6 opening of My Funny Valentine isn’t what’s written in the original version either.

81

Martin Bento 11.05.15 at 8:19 am

Prelude to a Kiss by Duke Ellingon seems self-referential to me.It is actually written as though it is describing another song, but I think it impossible to actually hear it that way. Part of the seduction is how you’re hearing the melody being described.

And, of course, Gershwin touch is another reference to what the harmony does just then.

82

mdc 11.05.15 at 12:21 pm

I think you’re right about the minor IV in “Ev’ry Time.” It’s a pretty song, but the joke is a bit cheap, since the borrowed chord is perfectly conventional, and not at all “strange.”

One nice meta touch is Gershwin’s “I Got Rhythm”: the title lyric is sung with so much syncopation as to sound comically arhythmic. It was pointed out to me that once the tune became a standard, jazz players took the syncopation out, in order to make it “swing”- ruining the joke.

83

The Temporary Name 11.05.15 at 4:36 pm

Are you thinking of Fascinatin’ Rhythm?

84

The Temporary Name 11.05.15 at 4:43 pm

…because I think this swings.

85

rootlesscosmo 11.05.15 at 8:41 pm

It certainly does. I don’t think it’s in the key signature most beboppers played the tune (or its congeners) in, though, which was concert B flat. Is he in E flat? I used to have absolute pitch but as I’ve lost high-frequency hearing it’s become less accurate–I usually “hear” high, so if I’m hearing E flat it might be as much as a whole step lower.

86

The Temporary Name 11.05.15 at 8:51 pm

I still wish I had your ears rootlesscosmo.

87

SqueakyRat 11.05.15 at 11:24 pm

You’re So Vain deserves a special mention for the way it’s self-reference undermines the song itself: You’re so vain, you probably think this song is about you. Delicious.

88

Alan White 11.05.15 at 11:42 pm

I can’t believe I forgot this one–talk about self-reference in a song!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPeAL657lnk

I mean, I wonder if Kaplan ghost-wrote it for Edward Bear!

89

Martin Bento 11.06.15 at 12:01 am

mdc, agreed, though if the change were actually highly unusual it would call attention to itself. As it is, we were debating whether it was even there So is it cheap or is it subtle? I dunno.

90

JPL 11.06.15 at 7:35 am

Another song that should be included is “Moody’s mood”, Eddie Jefferson’s reworking of “I’m in the mood for love”, based on a James Moody sax solo. In the last line of the song, the singer sings something like, “Moody [or ‘James’, or ‘James Moody’] will you come on in, man, you can blow now if you want to, I’m through” referring to saxman Moody, who Jefferson recorded with. But the words are part of the song as written, filling out the last line, and just about everyone who does this tune includes something like this as the last line. For example, this version by George Benson and Patti Austin.

91

Jim Buck 11.06.15 at 12:47 pm

92

The Modesto Kid 11.06.15 at 5:56 pm

Sylvia is totally into Minecraft. I occasionally think about trying it out but have not to date because (a) I need another time-suck like I need a hole in the head and (b) it’s Sylvia’s thing, I’ve got plenty of things. I enjoy listening to Sylvia narrate things she’s been doing in Minecraft but I draw the line at trying to understand the narration.

93

ZM 11.07.15 at 3:00 am

I already mentioned how I met Pavement in 1994 and they sold me an inappropriate T-shirt and signed it.

When I wrote on Crooked Timber in 2013 David Berman from The Silver Jews wrote on his blog Menthol Mountains blog he read Crooked Timber. I wrote to Will Oldham at the same time, about climate change and his corrections policy. Will Oldham and David Berman then wrote a poem together.

David Berman was my idea of my reader when I returned to commenting in 2014.

Crooked Timber has not been referred to on a Pavement record, but David Berman from The Silver Jews referred to my Crooked Timber and John Quiggin blog comments in a series of film clips which I am sure will be of historical interest now. These are the film clips for Bonnie “Prince” Billy’s Quail and Dumplings (on the importance of wearing sunscreen and on being a waitress as a picture of a woman flashes before his eyes), New Black Rich (Tusks) (on Lillian Gish, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and the tale in Ovid of the centaurs throwing trees on Caenis, with the story representing Will Oldham’s affair with Joanna Newsom who is represented as the centaur), Angel Olsen’s Windows (where she has her face painted in vaseline and then dresses up as a Elizabethan Queen in padding in a Victorian table decoration).

Another cruel one is Singer’s Grave A Sea Of Tongues: An Exploration Into The Heart of the Matter. This one references my comments on reading Andre Gide when I 12 and how at least Andre Gide doesn’t write about you (the performance poet representing me eating and crying made a record called The Immoralist [since she is mean and an awful person]), about going to the history of science professor and talking about ideas of Time and asking what the referent of Space-Time is, about how Bruno Latour told Marshall Sahlins to go to the University of Chicago’s Physics department and tell them their cosmology was relative, and about natural philosophy and Margaret Wertheim’s work (she does a crochet the coral reef project and you see Coral is the artwork for Joanna Newsom’s new record Divers):

https://youtu.be/MtVW1upOIwk

94

ZM 11.07.15 at 3:04 am

David Berman’s father is the consultant Richard Berman who I have sometimes read in the Washington Post. They are estranged. But I have complained to him about David Berman several times now.

There is nothing worse than being stalked by someone whose skill is in oblique referencing. David Berman should write me an apology for this, but instead this year he only embedded film clips of Old Violin about giving your life to music and tonight music might make you want to take your life, and Old Soldiers, when he shouldn’t encourage warlike behaviour.

95

Dan S. 11.07.15 at 3:34 am

“It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift”

96

Bloix 11.07.15 at 4:52 am

#88 – Kee-rist, what an awful song that was. I remember whenever it came on the radio thinking, she must be so happy you’re going to stop stalking her.

97

Jim Buck 11.07.15 at 11:40 am

@95 major lift from this?

98

Lynne 11.07.15 at 1:59 pm

ZM @ 93, I listened to your link, but I didn’t see what made you think they were referring to you. Can you tell me?

99

Ted 11.07.15 at 8:12 pm

Would Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” count?

We got no class
We got no principals
We got no innocence
We can’t even think of a word that rhymes

Or this line from Wilco’s “I Thought I Held You”

I’m like a songwriter;
You’re the reason I’ve run out,
Run out of metaphors

100

ZM 11.08.15 at 1:31 am

Lynne,

I might write a lengthy essay over the summer holidays when I have finished my assignment. Like Bartleby The Commenter I would prefer not to, but I have written most of my reasons for asserting I am one of the women referred to in Will Oldham’s songs and Joanna Newsom’s songs to Sean O’Hagan at The Guardian but he has not agreed on writing an article at this stage.

I have sent the record company a cease and desist notice applying to the company selling records with songs referring to me and the artists performing songs referring to me live Etc. I may take criminal or civil legal action where I think it is appropriate. I have been trying to get an explanation from Will Oldham but he has not given me one. He was in a relationship with a sadist for more than a decade and I am not sure if he sang songs about me because he wanted to meet me or as a cruel game with the sadist.

Without me or Sean O’Hagan doing an essay it probably does not make sense if you are not familiar with these singers work and styles of writing and the arc of the record natrratives over time and what was happening in real life.

When I was a teenager Ben Lee had a song about Evan Dando from The Lemmonheads singing “he even understands the words to Pavement songs” so you can gather that these singers utilise rather oblique writing techniques.

Pavement started out on Drag City records, which is the American label for David Berman, Will Oldham, and Joanna Newsom.

I gave contacted the head of Stephen Malkmus from Pavement’s present record company Matador Records , Patrick Amory, and requested Stephen Malkmus agree to be my key witness since he knows the singers involved but is no longer on Drag City and seems the most likely to tell the truth even though he sold and signed an inappropriate t-shirt when I met him as a teenager. He has not yet agreed, but only Tweeted two tweets to one of my Twitter accounts.

I intend to get all the records with any songs referring to me withdrawn from sale and damages.

101

ZM 11.08.15 at 6:22 am

I can tell you the basic plot though. I will be crying the entire time of writing it, but then Crooked Timber will have the exclusive story before any mainstream media outlet, at least in plot outline form from my perspective: Bonnie “Prince” Billy: A History From Below. Stephen Malkmus has a song about Surreal Teenagers on Wig Out At Jag Bags. When I emailed Will Oldham the gmail account I used was from The Magnetic Fields song Epitaph For My Heart.

In 1996 when I studied year 12 I started the year and decided it would be amusing and ironic and fun to treat “serious” indie/alt bands in a teenage fangirl way and decorated my school binders accordingly. One of my friends, a couple of years younger, cut Pavement into her arm one day and stopped going to school. I visited her a lot and we made up a Pavement sitcom with people from bands in. Will Palace (Will Oldham) and Bill Smog (Bill Callahan) were in our Pavement sitcom, and we used to call Drag City regularly asking when Palace and Smog would tour Australia. We made a pact that for their first Australian tours we would go to as many as we could afford.

We read Pushkin as he was mentioned in a Palace song, and most of the other classic Russian writers, and have a race to see which of us can finish War And Peace first. We read The Grande Meaulnes as it was mentioned in a Palace song and also Jack Kerouac reads it in On The Road. I read Martin Amis’ The Information due to Smog mentioning he liked Martin Amis in an interview, but I don’t like it much and the characters are awful. I ask the librarian if there are any books by Dick K Phillips who was mentioned in a Smog song, but he smiled and said “do you mean Phillip K Dick?”, and I said “No”.

In 1996 I saw the band The Dirty Three at The Prince Of Wales, their saddest wildest songs always made tears well up in my eyes and flow.

Lo and behold, come end of year the first Will Oldham Australian tour is announced for early 1997. It is not a Palace tour, as his last record Arise, Therefore had no band name. Bill Callahan’s girlfriend Cindy Dall released a record at the same time with no band name. This suggests Will Oldham and Cindy Dall had an affair around that time. Will Oldham only played two Australian dates in 1997, one in Melbourne and one in Sydney.

My friend and I traveled to Sydney and we arrive at the venue early and sit outside waiting for the show reading books aloud, I was reading a D H Lawrence poetry book since I studied Sons and Lovers for year 12 and read Will Oldham was reading D H Lawrence in an interview (I din’t tell my friend this), and she was reading a Moomintrolls book. I was wearing a skirt I made out of blue and white and gold curtain fabric and vintage tap dancing sandals that hurt my feet when we walked around as the heads of the nails protruded out of the insoles.

Will Oldham drove past in the passenger side of a car and pressed his face to the window staring at us. During the concert that night he played a song he had adapted from a D H Lawrence poem, The Risen Lord.

Pavement tour Australia in 1997 for their Brighten The Corners record, which I didn’t like as much as their previous records. For the first concert I ought an ornamental pineapple as an accessory to the show like Stephen Malkmus has a sceptre sort of thing in the Cut My Hair film clip, and me and my friend sit near the back of the room near the band The Sea Scouts, and we put the singer from the Sea Scouts Tim Edwards into our Pavement sitcom as Stephen Malkmus’ long lost brother who was raised in Tasmania. For the second show we go to the front, and play cards on stage part of the time due to me not liking Brighten The Corners as much as the other 4 Pavement record and assorted singles and EPs.

Stephen Malkmus and David Berman recommend Barry Hannah and John Ashbery in interviews, and I read John Ashbery’s Selected Poems and just about everything written by Barry Hannah.

In 1997 I find it hard to live in the city, since I miss nature and there are too many people. I don’t like the subjects I am studying in first year university and the Monash campus is too big and modern compared to my small gold rush town of about 1000 people. I read a lot of books and watch a lot of foreign and arthouse movies.

In early 1998 Smog, Bill Callahan, makes his first tour of Australia, and plays several shows in several states. My friend goes to Sydney, we both go to Adelaide and Melbourne, and I go to Tasmania.

The noise guitarist Chris Smith saw my friend waiting outside the venue for the Smog concert in Sydney, and asked her to go to have dinner with the bands. She went and said Bill Callahan ordered the House Red wine and we both thought this must be a sophisticated way to choose wine. She wrote to me this year and said she didn’t talk much at the dinner, mainly not wanting to seem awestruck.

In the Adelaide concert I dress in a gingham skirt my friend and I half stapled and half hand sewed. For my accessories I carried an egg basket full of boxes of tea and small tea cups, a crocheted blanket like on the back cover photo of Smog’s Forgotten Foundation, and a small suitcase. My friend and I were amused at the men at the show in their old fashioned heavy metal t-shirts.

After breaking up with Cindy Dall Bill Callahan (Smog) was dating Chan Marshall from Cat Power at the time. I didn’t like her music. She made a record called What Would The Community Think? thus showing she thought doing things the community wouldn’t approve of was cool and amusing.

Including mocking teenage members of her boyfriend’s audience on records.

Cat Power made Moon Pix with two members of The Dirty Three, Mick Turner and Jim White. The title Moon Pix refers to the songs being sketches of a strange world, like the Moon. The cover art is Chan Marshall spying on someone under a tree.

(I am going to embed some you tube clips. Me embedding these clips in no way shows that I condone these singers singing about me without asking me or telling me or caring in the least what the effects of their songs were on my life from 19 to 37. The effects of their songs on my life has only been negative. I want all the songs withdrawn from sale and damages. The singers did not know me, and put a lot of things onto the character based on me that are not true)

One of the songs is Cross Bones Style which is about a younger woman she thinks is behaving like a child and a pirate, who tries to rescue singers. This is based on Chan Marshall’s observations of me and my friend at the Smog shows. She stole my concept of ironic indie band teenage fandom for the film clip. Cross Bones Style starts “how time flies” because seeing me and my friend as teenagers reminded her of when she was a teenager, as she sings on another song on Moon Pix “when we were teenagers, we wanted to be the sky”.

https://youtu.be/Y2cvNPI5wkI

102

ZM 11.08.15 at 7:13 am

I had thought about Will Oldham since we saw him in 1997. Some things I thought were he reminded me of D W Griffith whose autobiography I read in 1997 and someone had put in footnotes after he died where he had not told the truth in his autobiography. I also thought he seemed to be going to turn into someone like a character played by Marcallo Mastroianni. And I also thought that his liking for Scottish things was a good influence, like his adaption of a Scottish song into The Ohio River Boat Song, and his adaptation of Dick Gaughan’s Both Sides The Tweed into Idea and Deed.

It was announced there would be another Will Oldham Australian tour one early 1998. My friend went to Sydney to see the NSW concerts, she met Tim Evans from The Sea Scouts in Sydney and she met Will Oldham and liked she had asked Ben Lee if she could touch his hand once, she asked Will Oldham to be her first kiss, which he agreed to. She was upset that he left the venue with an older woman and didn’t go to the other NSW concerts she had planned to but went to visit her family.

When she met Will Oldham she lent him a copy of Turgenev’s Sketches From A Huntsman’s Album, and told him he reminded her of the singer in one of the stories. She also got him to give her a IOU saying he would buy her a drink in Melbourne. She was still upset about the kiss at the Melbourne shows, and at The Punter’s Club concerts the pianist Liam Hayes talked to her and told her not to mind as Will Oldham just does what he does, and that she looked like Mia Farrow.

I went to the show in a skirt I made like one worn by Lillian Gish in Orphans Of The Storm. I thought that be wearing old fashioned things but in a more punk ragged and wrecked way, it suited my looks and my background of growing up in my small goldrush town, and also showed that I was a dissenter from the present days fashions. Since I thought Will Oldham was going to turn into a person like a character played by Marcello Mastroianni I bought a Scottish Robert Burns poetry book I had bought when I was in Tasmania to see Smog — this was to be a good influence — and a white beaded bag that was the same as the one a woman had in the Marcello Mastroianni film Dark Eyes, except hers had circles and mine had leaves.

Will Oldham somehow took my Robert Burns book without asking and I observed him reading a book while ostentatiously leaning against a pole, then he walked into the middle of the room and asked “whose book is this?” I saw it was my book, and I said “That’s my book!” He didn’t move, so I had to walk over to where he was to get it back, and I said “Thank you!” in a small voice with a sad smile since he upset my friend and I didn’t know what to say.

My friend did not want to leave until Will Oldham left. Liam Hayes danced with the drummer Jim White’s mother. I was sitting on the floor sometimes reading my book, and sometimes watching what was going on in the room. Will Oldham talked to a couple of girls. My back was against the low stage and I noticed a shoe bearing down upon my head, and I quickly ducked. When the person had walked over me, I looked up and who did the show belong to but Will Oldham, who was leaving the venue.

My friend told me later she had watched and he was leaving with the two girls to go and smoke pot at their squat. I felt upset he took my book impolitely and tried to step on my head so I would see him leave with two girls.

The next concert was at a venue in Prahran called The Continental Cafe. Me friend and I bought tickets for the dinner and show, and were at a table shared with people, but we couldn’t eat the meals since they were not vegetarian.

Will Oldham stared at me with a pained look during the whole of the song Give Me Children, which is not about having children, the man says that he is “living on the memory of this love, memory is knowledge dove” but the woman says “”don’t let anyone see us, Say what they’ve seen and expose us, I’ve seen how they are and i hate it, They could never talk about where you’ve been.”

Tim Evans was at the concert again and we saw him and he had taken Will Oldham’s whisky to stop him drinking, and he needed a place to stay the night so we cordially asked him back to the friends house we were staying at.

Will Oldham then changed his band name to Bonnie Prince Billy, like the Scottish Bonnie Prince Charlie. I thought this might have something to do with my Scottish poetry book as I thought Scottish things were a good influence for Will Oldham, and my friend said Bill Callahan would be ticked off and it must be due to some “thing” between Will Oldham and Bill Callahan.

The first single had free international postage, so I wrote away for one for me and one for my friend. But when I got it I was upset since the original song was about drinking and dying and “I also try to keep my looks in case an angel loves me and lifts me up with angel hooks to somewhere high above me”.

I was so upset that my Scottish poetry book led to a song about drinking and dying that I walked into the bush on a starless night and told God that anything could happen to me so long as Will Oldham didn’t meet the fate of drinking and dying.

Will Oldham’s next record was I See A Darkness. I did not realise any of the songs were about me at the time, like I did not realise Chan Marshall had cruelly made Cross Bones Style about me at the time either.

The song Madeline Mary is about me, like Cross Bones Style it impolitely likens me to a pirate and also mentions how my eyes would fill with tears as they did during the sad and wild songs, and rudely calls me burly:

https://youtu.be/ptRjg4fjF6g

103

ZM 11.08.15 at 7:43 am

Will Oldham toured Australia for I See A Darkness and played with The Dirty Three at The Forum Theatre.

Some years later a friend’s boyfriend said he saw Will Oldham walk through the crowd before the show. Me and my friend went. Since I was working now I didn’t dress like I had in the past and just wore a shift dress with cornflowers in my hair. Me and my friend were at the front, she left during The Dirty Three’s set, I stayed at the front. Will Oldham sat on the side of the stage where he could look in my direction while he was watching the band.

His next record was Ease Down The Road which on a song called Mrs William seems to describe him going to a bondage dungeon alone and saying he will sell everything for a woman there:

https://youtu.be/T7rqziE55kA

This is possibly a song about meeting his sadist creep girlfriend Sue Schofield. I didn’t realise the songs were about bondage dungeons until John Holbo kept bringing up bondage dungeons so often in his comments.

Will Oldham refers to me as his wife on a number of songs. I did not realise this at the time. And for a while I couldn’t work out why, but then I realised it was because in 1997 and 1998 I would have looked somewhat like the woman playing his wife in the Palace Old Jerusalem film clip, and he jumped to the conclusion I was going to his concerts dressed up as his wife. But the film clip was only shown once in Australia and I went out the night it was on and didn’t see it until the early 2000s on the internet.

https://youtu.be/Atra0qJFKlE

He toured Australia for Ease Down The Road in 2001. I won tickets to the Meredith music festival and my friend and I went with her boyfriend and some of his friends. We were at the front again but Will Oldham didn’t acknowledge us at the show like some bands do when you regularly go to their concerts.

I went alone to the two other concerts, since he ignored me at the I See A Darkness concert and at the Meredith concert I only made up my mind to go at the last minute to those shows.

At the final show he sang another song, from the EP Get On Jolly staring at me with a pained expression for the whole performance of it, singing repeatedly “waiting for you to see you”. I didn’t know what this meant, or if it was nice or mean, and I went to get some water and the venue closed and I walked home. This is described on the record Master and Everyone on the song Even If Love:

https://youtu.be/8gB72yVl80g

In the record Master and Everyone he puts me in a love triangle with his sadist creep girlfriend in other songs too. I did not realise either that his girlfriend was a sadist or I was the person being referred to as “another gathers roses for me, on this we [him and the sadist] do agree”.

The record cover is like a photo of a bushranger like Ned Kelly having been caught by the police. Around this time he also recorded Bonnie “Prince” Billy Sings Greatest Palace Music, where David Berman coached him in the performance of the songs to be like a middle aged Italian man. David Berman’s partner is from Louisville so I think possibly David Berman and his partner encouraged Will Oldham to go to bondage dungeons where he met the sadist creep Sue Schofield, due to the last self titled Bonnie “Prince” Billy record featuring a Natural Bridge like the 1990s Silver Jews record, and because there is a photo from the same photo shoot of Sings Greatest Palace Music with Will Oldham holding money, and David Berman in a fanzine I read covered up that this was what the sadist Sue Schofield was doing by saying Dan Koretzky of Drag City took photos of the singers holding money he lent them.

The two singles of that record were Agnes Queen Of Sorrows chosen to refer to me since I was waiting for Will Oldham as described on Maser and Everyone as “another gathers roses for me”, and No More Workhorse Blues which was the song my friend requested him to sing in 1998.

Harmony Korine directed the film clip for No More Workhorse Blues, and as I have mentioned Will Oldham refers to me as his wife in songs, and Harmony Korine has a bedraggled bride in this who is hanged from a tree like in the song Strange Fruits but not serious in Harmony Korine fashion instead:

https://youtu.be/MOlcMUnFFBM

104

ZM 11.08.15 at 8:10 am

As I have said, at this point I have no idea what Will Oldham’s reasons were for writing songs about me, and whether it was as he wanted to meet me or as a sadistic game with his girlfriend and to sell records about a tragic love triangle/rectangle.

Will Oldham toured Australia for Master and Everyone in 2004. My friend invited me to the radio recording as her boyfriend worked there, and I went with one of my housemates. Will Oldham announced Agnes Queen of Sorrows with the emphasis on the ass. I went to the two concerts, and Will Oldham seemed flat until my housemate got a blood nose and left the audience with his girlfriend and then he perked up but launched into New Partner (on Wolfroy Goes To Town and Singer’s Grave A Sea Of Tongues he references New Partner’s lyrics “awful actions” on a song about “ending her” by these actions he “thought were fun.” He did not acknowledge me at the three shows or my friend at the two shows despite us having gone to all of his Australian tours since 1997 and us being at the front most times. The first night he asked the girl in the band if she would go back to his hotel room and everyone was disconcerted and she shook her head and said “no” and then everyone laughed. The second night he played the whole show with a sad expression and closed eyes that were in my direction but not making eye contact or showing where he was looking. I was glad to see he was okay, since i had been concerned about him. In 2002 wish I read an interview where he said he loved his girlfriend and he re-dedicated Palace’s We All Us Three Will Ride to her (which he references doing on the S/T record in a song about sleeping with twins and his girlfriend taking a photo of “this holy group of three.”) and I didn’t know she was a sadist since i thought Master and Everyone was a reference to Master and Margarita. But I saw the photos of him in the blue tracksuit and the photos for Greatest Palace Music and was concerned, and was glad to see he seemed okay in 2004 but was aware he had a girlfriend which he affirmed by singing New Partner. After the show my housemate said he thought Will Oldham came to Australia so often to see me, but in 1998 his behaviour to me was not very nice, and he never acknowledged me after 1998 except for the one time in 2001 when he looked at me with a pained look for a song.

The next record was Superwolf with the guitarist Matt Sweeney who had played at the 2004 Australian concerts. I did not like this record and tried not to listen to it when it was played. The song about me, continuing the storyline of the woman who was waiting for him from Master and Everyone, was What Are You “waiting for it must be me, to take you over my knee and spank you mercilessly”. I did not know the song was about me at the time, and I did not know he was going to bondage dungeons and his girlfriend was a sadist. I don’t know if I was just stupid and most people knew this about Will Oldham and his girlfriend, or it was not widely known. I never read about it in interviews or reviews and I have read a lot of them trying to work out the history.

The sadist who is twee as well — mixing cruelty and tweeness must be surely against some sort of genre convention —designed a shield for Superwolf representing herself and Will Oldham. Will Oldham references this on the cover art of the record Wolfroy Goes To Town where there is a ball and chain hanging from the ceiling and a shield on the wall and it continues the wolf theme.

Superwolf closes with the song I Gave You, Will Oldham singing “I gave you a child and you didn’t want it, that’s the most that I have to give…now you are vanished into the air, the air in which I must live” He calls his songs children. But he did not give me the songs about me, he just recorded and released them without asking me if I wanted to be in songs, and without telling me they were about me so I didn’t know.

https://youtu.be/q9–s3ELazs

105

ZM 11.08.15 at 9:56 am

I did not know Will Oldham had written any songs about me. I was in the audience, I had only met him once. I went to his concerts regularly after 1998 and he only acknowledged me one time in 2001 by staring at me during a song with the lines “waiting for you to see you”. For me what was happening was that I was going to his concerts wanting him to acknowledge me and to try to talk to me, and for him what was happening was there was a love triangle between his sadist girlfriend and me in Australia waiting for him.

As well as starting seeing the sadist Will Oldham discovered Joanna Newsom. They have the common characteristic of being crafty and using tweeness to seem childish.

He told her about me and she appears to have written songs about me and Will Oldham from The Milk Eyed Mender onwards.

I took a third poetry book to Will Oldham’s I See A Darkness concert, selected poems by the Australian poet John Shaw Neilsen called The Sun Is Up. John Shaw Neilsen wrote poems for a woman he called Sadie who rejected his marriage proposal, and he walked a long way in the aftermath. One Sadie poem was unpublished as it was too grief stricken.

Will Oldham and Rian Murphy had a nonsense song called Sadie on their record All Most Heaven — which Bill Callahan refers to on the song Eid Ma Clack Shaw. And Joanna Newsom has a song Sadie on The Milk Eyed Mender. The music journalist Anthony Carew wrote about the song Sadie for the promo piece on Bill Callahan and Joanna Newsom’s Australian tour in 2005, and on stage in Melbourne she announced he was wrong it was not about her dog that was dead it was a metaphor.

You see since I wrote to Will Oldham in late 2013 he talks about a dog in interviews and a dog appears in the film clip for Bad Man and the film clip for Blindlessness.

In Castlemaine she and Bill Callahan played the song Emily, which refers to me and Will Oldham knew it was my middle name (he shortens it to Milly on one song, and Bill Callahan changes it to Emma in his epistolary novel book [Joanna Newsom references the epistolary novel Daddy Long Legs in a song about this]). I did not watch Joanna Newsom or Bill Callahan directly in Castlemaine because earlier the woman from the band The Tenniscoats stared at me for the length of the song Sheepies from We Are Everyone, with the lyrics.

Joanna Newsom sings about seeing me in Castlemaine, calling me Lola Montez, and calling Bill Callahan The King Of Bavaria (because after me and my friend met Will Oldham he called himself Bonnie Prince Billy). And in her promo photo for Inherent Vice last year she oblique reference stalked me like David Berman did, with her hairstyle referring to my hairstyle when she saw me in Castlemaine as she sings about.

In Sawdust and Diamonds Joanna Newsom sings about me waiting for Will Oldham, and about him singing about me which is the sawdust part. She ends the song deciding to have an affair with Will Oldham.

Another thing Joanna Newsom and the sadist have in common is unkindly likening Will Oldham’s music to sideshows and circuses. The sadist told him his music was like a sideshow so he called a record Wondershow of The World. And Joanna Newsom likens to to a sideshow on Sawdust and Diamonds and on Monkey and Bear, and on Have One On Me she sings in a ringmaster fashion “See Lo-La Ta Da Ta Dum Do Her Famous Spider Dance For You.”

On The Letting Go (formerly called wai pronounced eee) Will Oldham has a song where he feels bad for “skinning” me — this being a metaphor for singing about me. On Ys Joanna Newsom has a song about during her affair with Will Oldham telling him it was Only Skin and he shouldn’t worry about hurting me by singing about me and he can go on to make better music with her, after singing about “a woman or two” being me and the sadist.

Will Oldham refers to me as a bear as well in the film clips for The Letting Go.

I never heard The Letting Go until years after it came out, as it was preceded by an EP called Cursed Sleep. The song is about a “cursed love” and a woman with “cursed arms never closing”. During the shooting of the film clip for this song Will Oldham’s father died, his mother then got dementia, and the day after I listened to the song which refers to me and curses me I had a psychotic episode and whenever I listened to Will Oldham records afterwards got to unwell to think clearly and often went to hospital. I went to Lisbon to try to see him in 2010 but I had a panic attack at the door, I left my details and the man at the door said he would pass them on, and then Romanian travellers stole my phone. I never knew if he got my note or not.

I cannot recall Will Oldham singing spells before or after Cursed Sleep made during his affair with Joanna Newsom. However, Joanna Newsom sings spells on Have One On Me about Will Oldham “go back to your funnel web, I knew you once, now I know you less.”

And she ends her new record Divers with a spell as well, this time pretending to be nice in the spell.

However, Divers has a Finnegan’s Wake theme.

This means a record by Joanna Newsom with a wake theme, is released after Will Oldham has released a record called Singers Grave A Sea Of Tongues.

I believe Joanna Newsom made Will Oldham and Bill Callahan lie about who the songs were about for 9 years.

I only found out for sure after writing to Will Oldham in late 2013 that he was referring to me.

When I emailed him if he really was dying or I had hopefully jumped to conclusions, he Tweeted Life Fades Away by Danzig.

The singers knew that I had a psychotic episode in 2006) I believe through my housemates at the time who knew their tour promoter Woody) as in their 2010 records both Bill Callahan and Will Oldham sang about it. Bill Callahan’s song on 2010’s Apocalypse, Drover, refers to my psychotic episode, to the Australian short story by Henry Lawson The Drover’s Wife, and refers to Will Oldham giving the song about me Even If Love to be in the Zoey Deschanel film All The Real Girls:

https://youtu.be/G_IEQSqpF9Y

But no body contacted me.

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ZM 11.08.15 at 9:59 am

When I wrote to Will Oldham about climate change and his corrections policy in 2013, while unwell after listening to his self-titled Bonnie “Prince” Billy record, he made a film clip for climate change straightaway with the lyrics corrected from the lyrics on his Wolfroy Goes To Town record:

https://youtu.be/oXp-hsHq1Ck

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ZM 11.08.15 at 10:07 am

Then his next record was a corrected version of his record Wolfroy Goes To Town, called Singer’s Grave A Sea Of Tongues.

Except it wasn’t a genuine record, he said it was like a parallel universe in DC comics, and wore a jacket with a transfer on the back, which Rich Puchalsky wrote on Crooked Timber meant role play or cosplay.

And all the film clips for the record referred to my internet comments.

And I still have not been given an explanation for all of this even though it is very upsetting for me. I don’t know why Will Oldham wrote songs about me, and now I don’t know if he is really dying, or just made Singer’s Grave A Sea Of Tongues and put the Danzig song Life Fades Away on his Twitter account for a black humoured joke.

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ZM 11.08.15 at 10:09 am

That is the brief version Lynne. If I have to write a proper essay explicating all the details, it would take me too long and be too long. That comment already took me too long and was too long for a comment. Hopefully since it is a Belle post she won’t mind.

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Lynne 11.08.15 at 11:07 am

ZM I am sorry I asked. I did not mean to distress you. I didn’t see in the video what you saw—the woman never cried as you said she did. I guess you know, though, that other people do not see this conspiracy you talk about. I’m very sorry to have distressed you. I won’t respond again because truly I don’t know what to say except that I wish you well.

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ZM 11.08.15 at 11:31 am

I think if you want to argue my interpretation of Will Oldham and Joanna Newsom’s songs and lives is inaccurate, and that they refer to me as the woman who was waiting for Will Oldham in the songs, you should offer another interpretation and find another woman who was waiting for Will Oldham in the period of Master and Everyone to The Letting Go and who then disappeared after The Letting Go in 2006 and went crazy, and who Joanna Newsom saw in Castlemaine when she was here with Bill Callahan.

I don’t have time to write a thorough essay on this now, it would take me several weeks or more, and I could only do that in the Summer Holidays when I have handed in my assignment.

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oldster 11.08.15 at 1:40 pm

You know, ZM, it’s really true what they say, that living well is the best revenge.

You will never get any satisfaction from those people–you won’t get an apology or compensation or any kind of acknowledgment.

But you can get something better: you can live your own life, and make it a good one. When you think about those people less, you can invest more in what makes you happy now. As you do more of what makes you happy now, you’ll find that you think about those people less.

Some time down the road, you’ll find that you haven’t thought about them in a week, and realize that it was the best week you have lived in a while. Further down the road, you’ll find you haven’t thought about them in years.

Fuck ’em. Cut them out of your life–their music, their words, everything about them. Consign them to oblivion. They don’t deserve another minute of your thoughts. The rest of your life is too important to waste it on them.

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Kiwanda 11.08.15 at 8:39 pm

A Song for You by Donny Hathaway

by Leon Russell, but a great cover.

“Well, this is just a simple song”
Simple Song, the Shins.

“Smiling and waving and looking so fine. I don’t think you knew you were in this song” Five Years, David Bowie.

“Let’s duet and make that sacred sound
Put two and two together, perfect harmony we found”
“Let’s Duet”, Hughes and Wadhams.

“Radio Friendly Unit Shifter”, Nirvana, in the category of “ironic self-referential titles”

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