Coach (of course) (tkdcoach) wrote,
Coach (of course)
tkdcoach

  • Music:

Why?

More trips down memory lane to get this Saturday started with my absolute contemporary, Jimmy Somerville...born three months before me in the UK...a contemporaneity made more personal by my friendship with another Glaswegian & martial arts instructor. Of course, the Bronskis were initially just as well known for "reclaiming" gay disco anthems from the "divas" who had by this time performed ritual disavowals over (then) HTLV-III (sic)...Donna Summers particularly. And since those songs come couched in their original "subtexts" easier for them to log into the UK Top 20 with several hits and at least penetrate renascent American dancefloors (at that time, largely only in gay bars anyhow). Clearing the way for an industrial disco document of liberation--informed by and quoting Joy Division and representing a step towards IDM in general--this was not your older sister's disco.

The Bronski Beat's album "The Age of Consent" with its elegaic, lovely & brutal leadoff  "Why?" couldn't have been more important to me in 1984/5. That The Smiths were happening at roughly the same time on the post-punk side raised in me an awareness. And, I do mean in a practical sense of being aware of my surroundings, of who would assassinate my character, right down to where the liars lived and dwelt, the jokes they told, how to undercut and how to avoid them and that I had already been attacked myself only made this information more crucial:


Contempt in your eyes
As I turn to kiss his lips

Broken I lie
All my feelings denied
Blood on your fist

Can you tell me why?

You in your false securities
Tear up my life
Condemning me
Name me an illness
Call me a sin
Never feel guilty
Never give in

Tell me why?

You and me together
Fighting for our love
Can you tell me why?


The last three lines become a chant that begins in a whisper to one's compatriot, we are no longer singing (or even thinking about) the antagonist(s), the homoerotophobic Greek chorus, of the earlier lines. Tenderness for what is within our circle and on our own path, and a righteous dagger towards that (now far without)...antagonist(s).

From that point in our own personal history, we are no longer fielding lies. We are deconstructing "contra naturam". We have Foucault, we have Boswell.

We are challenging mal-theology in its most intimate forms and on our own terms, and its secular thuggish forms replete with phalanxes of tough guys (cowardly in packs, with baseball bats) winked at by the reverand and/or priest from on high. They make no claim to know about the violence done in their own name(s). See Matthew Shepard. The phenomology of tragic teachings after the sun has gone down.

In not taking our enemy's false premises seriously at all, we are no longer reacting to them. But speaking in our heart of hearts only to the significant Other and in turning to face one another instead, victory. Through this--our own world of friends with its own affirmations and encouragements. No longer moving in circles of impairment, but surfeit with delight are we. Spiritual victory. Only connect, said Forster. "Achille, che per amore il fine commbatteo" wrote Dante. Achilles, who in the end, fought for love.

The album sequence moves from "Why?" to a stunning cover of George & Ira Gershwin's "It Ain't Necessarily So" that is quite sub-lime, quite proficient. Since the false charge of being the "new decadence" is always a lie our enemy is fit to use; as if we hadn't been around in the 1920s, 30s, or 1530, or 0130s, this historicism is a record of ongoing challenge and of our inscrutable presence in creation--I found this to be an effective seque of liberation, perhaps the most effective rhetorical seque on a pop record, ever.

A few years later, Somerville's sweetness in The Communards song, "TMTL TBMG," has a vengeful, righteous edge that was once again like water to me only this time so much more assured, relaxed:

I would like to shout it from the highest moutain to tell the world
I found love and what it means to me
But all around there's violence and laws to make me think again
Maybe one day they will understand

There's more to love than boy meets girl
There's more to love than boy meets girl
For love is strange and uncontrolled
and it can happen to anyone
There's more to love than boy meets girl

How can one man decide the fate and destiny of innocent lovers?
And why is it less of a crime to take the life of another?
Through time they've always tried to hide and cast aside this love denied
In the shadows we held each other tight
There's more to love than boy meets girl
There's more to love than boy meets girl
For love is strange and uncontrolled, it can happen to anyone
There's more to love than boy meets girl

I saw your face, it caught the light, infatuation swirls inside
My every thought for days was only you
So I'll climb that mountain and shout it loud
I'll never let them bring me down
And one day they will have to understand
There's more to love than boy meets girl
There's more to love than boy meets girl
For love is strange and uncontrolled, it can happen to anyone
There's more to love than boy meets girl

There's more to love than boy meets girl
There's more to love than boy meets girl
For love is strange and uncontrolled, it can happen to anyone
There's more to love than boy meets girl

There's more to love than boy meets girl
There's more to love than boy meets girl
For love is strange and uncontrolled, it can happen to anyone
There's more to love than boy meets girl


The protagonist has learned. He remains calm, resolute--spiritually pure. He is not upset, messed up, overwrought, or berated by the force of lies or or their false premises. It's a pop song. Several decades later, my admiration for Jimmy Somerville's slight--but important--body of work remains true. An ethical, repleate vision of integrity and bravery. //


Tags: bronski beat, communards, homophobia, jimmy somerville, liberation
Subscribe
  • Post a new comment

    Error

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

  • 0 comments