Blancmange and Onions

I’ve loved introducing my children to the quirky neighborhoods in the world of popular music that I admire; each of them has picked up much of what I endorse, and each has overlooked and added selections on her or his own, and that’s part of the delight. Pippa has always been particularly fond of classic soul music; Si is writing his senior project on performance poetry in conjunction with song lyrics and hip-hop; Nate is writing his dissertation on Radiohead. One song we all especially enjoy is the Beautiful South’s “Song For Whoever,” because over and above its stylish composition and parched wit, it name-checks both Pippa and Jennifer (two family members in one song!). That came to Pippa’s attention the other day as she asked me about the Housemartins (from which band Paul Heaton and Dave Hemingway departed to form the Beautiful South); she, in turn, looked up the video for “Song For Whoever,” which piqued her interest because of the featured blancmange, and mine for the performing penguin. Sadly, the video concentrates solely on an extended version of the first half of the song, leaving out the second phase (“Late at night by the typewriter light….”).
We’ve also revisited those fab four Rrrrutland lads, the Rutles! Pip enjoyed the soundtrack album from the TV special; we’re waiting for the opportunity to view the special, but that’ll come. In the meantime, we took out The Rutles 2: Can’t Buy Me Lunch from the local library, and it motivated me to add a fierce and emphatic warning to all Rutles fans: this DVD merits less favorable attention than the insulting characterizations from Monty Python’s Argument Clinic sketch (“heap of parrot droppings”) or the concluding confrontation between Westley and Prince Humperdinck (“miserable vomitous mass”). Life is precious, and money is hard to come by; squander neither on this regurgitation of the luscious, savory feast that was the original documentary.
Meanwhile, The Kids Are Alright arrives from Netflix today, and Pippa wants to watch Tommy. And to think, some people believe that today’s youth have no taste…. (Well, we’ll see what she thinks of Ken Russell’s Tommy.)

5 thoughts on “Blancmange and Onions

  1. Meanwhile, The Kids Are Alright arrives from Netflix today, and Pippa wants to watch Tommy.

    Any “Quadrophenia” on the docket?

  2. Don’t forget that Fat Boy Slim came from The Housemartins, too!

    Ah, The Housemartins: a happier version of The Smiths…

  3. I had to go over the Housemartins -> Fatboy Slim connection a couple of times when Pip and I were in the car, talking through all this. Pippa noted that the Housemartins had a proclivity for repeating arrangements; “Flag Day” sounds very much like one of the other songs from London 0 Hull 4 (which is out in the car, where we were listening to it, which provoked this discussion, but I’m not putting my shoes on to go get it right at the moment).

  4. I thikn the pair of songs that struck her were “Happy Hour” and “Sheep,” the intros of which (apart from the sigh and drum count-off at the beginning of “Sheep”) sound quite similar.

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