Thursday, December 18, 2008

Five songs

I was tagged once, long ago, to make a list of songs I’d like played at my funeral. There was no logic involved in how I chose them. A couple were evergreen favourites and the rest just popped in my head [no they didn’t – music never pops in my head. Cold springs don’t pop in Kutch. They trickle petulantly, after five and forty virginal cows birth five and forty full-grown healthy bulls under five and forty consecutive full moons.]

So when Ben asked me to make a list of my favourite five, I panicked. There’re only so many times virginal cows birth full-grown healthy bulls under full moons. You don’t challenge Providence with such injudicious frequency.

So I did the next best thing. I EB-ed* U into making a list. Not just any list. But a list of songs [since you’re so aurally aware and musically evolved, I said, massaging this inflatable nub of self-appreciation in his head] that characterise me.

Characterise you? He said, looking worried. As in the songs you like? I could swear he almost added – but there’s nothing to pick from, but he didn’t. Marriage has clearly worked wonders on his tongue. Mostly.

Nonono. I said with the golden ease of a greasy ileesh slipping through a Bengali fishnet. Why would I make you do something so nothing-ish, baba? I want you to do this because you have something special that I don’t have.

He beamed.

A unique perspective on me, I said, beaming back.

It’s like when I taste the raw pungency of mustard oil, I think of you [to him it is a compliment] there must be something you associate with me, na?

Ok he said. Nostrils flaring from the pressure of an over-massaged distended nub of self-admiration.

Thaaaaaaaaakeeeeeeeeeyoooooooooo. I gushed, overcome with genuine gratitude and love for my brother, and more importantly a deep excitement at the prospect of having a unique musical perspective on myself from someone who had had unequalled opportunity to observe and admire me since he was a baby and had compiled 101 gb of music along the way.

Big mistake, it turned out. For this is what he came up with:


Ani DiFranko – buildings and bridges

Or anything by Alanis Morisette. He added.
Why? He panicked. But that wasn’t part of the deal.
Of course it was. Do you think I care for the songs? I want the reason, I said, thumping my chest – the feeling of H-ness to it.
Okaaay. They both have a similar sort of errr… thought and errr… intensity to their music. Not just in what they’re saying but even the way they sing.
So you mean I’m angsty, hanh?
No ya. C’maawwwn. [he’s picked up this irritating way of refuting something in a way that he’s not really refuting it, but expects you not to confront him with it. Because. And that’s why it must be said with a jarring faux American accent. Because.]

It’s just… [and while he left this ellipsis hanging in the air, a wicked thought formed in his head] Well, he started afresh – firmly this time, it’s you. Just something about it reminds me of you. Here, he said, thumping his chest.

Madonna – La Isla Bonita

This is for the cheesy dated 80s side of you.
… But NOT in a bad way, he said, looking at my face.

Boy George – Karma Chameleon

For your general androgynous nature.

Stony silence.

No not in the way you look he added, close to tears now. But for your general appreciation of the general construct of androgyny.

My brother uses two words with alarming abandon when he’s nervous – general and pedagogy. When pedagogy enters the conversation you know there’s trouble. Thankfully this conversation was still creeping around general. We had two more songs to go, see.

And then, he added with what seemed like genuine fondness, getting uncomfortably close to something – and of course for its 80s charm.

Okay. I said. OKAY. You’re trying to say something to me, aren’t you?

Listen to the next one now, he said.

Outkast – Hey Ya

Outcast - Hey Ya link

Because they’ve got a nice quirkiness about them. It’s a nice mix of errr…


He has this way of saying 60IES?!?!?!? Like you’ve gone farking off the edge. Like you’re hallucinating about pork chops in your tea. This so effing contemporary! Trust me. I wouldn’t associate anything from the 60ies with you. 80ies maybe.

Two seconds later he added: Weeeeeeeeeell, I guess what’s quirky about them is they mix retro elements with contemporary rhythm structures with a very ummm kind of… errr kind of a semi kitch space. You know, he added, warming up to his own voice, it’s like a vibrant poster using rich patterns and motifs.

It’s FUN, you mean, I suggested, to which he shrugged.

… and NOW moving on. He said. Moving on.

Bryan Adams – When you love a woman

Apparently I demand this in my idea of being adored.

It’s the Ooo pamper me side of you. Your girlie side, he said.

I don’t know… somehow, from my brother, it sounds like an effing accusation. Na?

And finally, his bonus song…

Carl Douglas - Everybody was kung fu fighting

For the inherent violent streak in you, he said affectionately. Shouting from behind closed doors and rolled up windows and all that fake bravado. He knew I’d take this one as a compliment.

My brother does know me.

But. Such sibling-ly love and the-advantage-of-a-lifetime’s-opportunity-to-observe-and-admire-you considered, never ask your brother which songs remind him of you. Despite a 100-and-1 gb collection of music from around the world, he’s going to pick the cheesiest pop off the top of his head, so he can quickly dispense with your stupid requests and race home to his lovely-like-jazz wife and a costlier-than-a-solid-gold-pair-o-bollix custom made analogue audio system.


* ElBowed, Emotionally-Blackmailed, and Elder-sibling-Bullied.


Ben Ditty said...

Oh, this was a lovely treat h'y :)

You didn't seem to like Hey Ya very much though. That song was soo big when I was in Highschool. And it's kind of sad now in way because they're discontinuing polaroid picture film.

They all had a sweet quality to them though.

I wonder what ones Bob would pick for Ben :p

go(ld)phish said...

oh mannnnnn,

(gimme a minute)


fuckin' helll

(could i have done a better job?)


*rotfl X into much of tommorrow :D

H said...

Ben. Glad you liked it. Nonono. I do like Hey Ya.


Rule #1 about anything you get your sibling to do for you: satisfaction is always guaranteed – not achieved.

Yes. I wonder about Bob’s list ;-)

Phish: And *this* is why you love me? Now to call A about a list on you…

lost said...

wat can stand next to asking sibling 2 pick up d songs?May be somewhere they do can come up with a kind of honesty which will b a cross of asking mom and mom in law to list d songs:-

Saif said...

H. Your magnum opus. Though that generally means nothing greater is going to come. Not the import of the compliment that. Keep writing!

go(ld)phish said...

i agree though. about it being magnum opus. ive to stop re-reading it.

Psst: In an informal chat with G(oblin), it was discussed who (else) can be 'like-jazz'. After little dithering on our fast dwindling friend list, we agreed it was

It's true.

H said...

Lost, hahaha. Wow. I’d love to hear the mom in law version.

Saifius. Your magnanimity. It generally means I will labour under its weightiness and never be able to write. But thank you. I will persevere!

Phish, but why did you dither at all?


… Still scraping my burst bits off the walls. It’s true.

houseband00 said...

Nice picks, H! Merry Christmas! =)

H said...

HB! Oh my. Such joy to see you here. Scrambled over, hoping you were blogging again.

Merry merry merry Christmas to you and D.

Will [grudgingly] tell U you thought his list was 'nice'. :-D

lizza said...

Do you know that I enjoy most of these songs whenever I hear them? The acoustic version of Hey Ya is way cool.

Your post is a great read, as always, dear H.

Hope everything is well.

H said...

Lizza. Thank you my dear. :-)