I recently discovered some footage of myself and Verity on stage in Berlin from a few years back.
I say ‘stage’. It was a tiny art gallery.
I’m taken with how shy yet possessed we look, how melodic we sound, Verity on keys and myself on vocals: tumbling arpeggios of sound. The worst sort of cliche would demand I write ‘waterfalls’ here, but in reality waterfalls are too gushing. The music, the Art is palpable… and it sure weren’t coming from my direction. The songs are very inward-turned, self-examination… the music almost demands it. There’s a song about Nikki Sudden, who’d died shortly before. There’s one about my dead father. The beauty is tangible… and it sure weren’t coming from my direction. I’m struck by a statement I made a while back, how I was always surprised The Deadnotes wanted to play with me in Brisbane for as long as they did. But dude! I had Electrelane on my side, back home in Brighton. I had Crayola Lectern. Andrew Clare and Noah Taylor. Danya (though she was a fuck-up like me – and if there are any Legend! fans out there at all, the true originator of the ‘I Want To Fuck A Man (With A Beard)’ lyric).
So. We come to this. Verity Susman on Tumblr. The phrase Nick Cave once used to describe my music to his son comes to mind. Pornographic poetry. So be it. Pornographic poetry. I’m reminded of Pete Shelley leaving my teenage faves Buzzcocks – and producing the mighty ‘Homosapien’ 12-inch. I have no real idea why.
It starts off. We’re in a cinema. The Duke of Yorks, probably. Early to mid-20th Century ambiance, and with incidental organ music playing as the punters take their seats. It speeds up. Popcorn is dropped in a flurry of shaven heels. Some of the backing drops out, playful. You’re thinking to yourself, an above-average album filler track from one of those above-average post-Neu! bands. Possibly. Enjoying it, grooving on down with the vibe, wondering how Verity makes it sound so effortless. Keyboards drop in, keyboards drop out. Playful. Fast rhythmic drum track in the background. And then that male voice starts, deep and salacious and repetitive and oddly disconnected:
“Spread your legs. Spread your legs. I’m going to slip my fingers inside you. I’m going to slip my fingers inside you. I’m going to slip my fingers inside you. Is that all right? Is that all right? Is that all right? Yes. Yes.”
Robot love. Robotic love. Love in the void. Clinical and retro-futuristic and – bam! It’s called ‘The Philip Glass Ceiling’. Pornographic poetry with hairy 70s mustaches and oil-slicked thighs attached. Thin, like Berlin. Call it what you will, all I know is I love the way it strangely disturbs and arouses me. Maybe that’s the ‘Homosapien’ element.
The introduction on this Song of the Day really doesn’t make much sense now, does it? Wait. Yes. It does. Here’s the other song from her Tumblr. ‘To Make You Afraid’. I can still hear echoes of those few brief moments we played together.
Just plain old-fashioned mesmeric.