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 Everett True

The importance of being Helen

The importance of being Helen
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I have two mice.  One for good thoughts, one for evil.

Forgive while I wallow for a little in one of those years I have no memory of: 1983, say.  Somewhere, I lost track.  Somewhere I lost sight of the…

I’m thinking of what your fingers would look like holding this mouse, the stretch and length of them.  I’m wondering if the…

I survive an entire day at an academic seminar, and then need to take two Valium to overcome nerves at seeing one of…

Punk is viewed as a male construct, it is always about John Lydon lighting the touch-paper, The Clash The Damned Buzzcocks Vicious, whatever…

The women always made the more interesting music to me, more willing to take chances possibly precisely because they were commonly ignored by the patriarchy so it may not have mattered either way.  In 1982, I recall talking extremely, breathlessly, fast to Helen McCookerybook of The Chefs in the Rock Garden.  Sweet and wise beyond men’s comprehension, and clearly with bones of steel.  I watch her tonight play the Green Door in Brighton as part of some form of John Peel revivalism night, sandwiched between loud men playing loud guitars and am struck once again by how much extra punk she is – whatever the hell punk means: I have always chosen it to mean DIY and female and creating own rules, not following others (like, most obviously, The Clash who were so see-through it was kind of nice their clothes didn’t reflect their marketing).  She acknowledges errors and turns them into songs with extra special meaning.  She plays some sweet new songs, steely like Viv Albertine reinventing and smoothing over the past.  She plays some old Helen And The Horns songs (a band that partly formed out of a band I was in, Futile Hurling) and fills in the brass sections herself, the bits we aren’t loudly singing along to in our own heads), she reimagines some Chefs songs and explains the connection between DIY punk-pop and Giorgio Moroder (I can understand why Pete Waterman went for her now).  She jangles and plucks with a Rickenbacker that makes all the boys on Facebook drool, and hits a string that sounds like a chorus-line of imps deeply chuckling. She plays the plaintive, heroic ‘Heaven Avenue’ and it’s more than I can do not to sob.  Emotions overwhelm me and I fucking wish they wouldn’t and I desperately hope she doesn’t mention me from on stage because I want to remain invisible in this land under my Stranger beanie.  She jokes and smiles and does that whole thing where she is clearly enjoying playing music so much that she cannot hold back the laughter.  I mourn friends I can no longer remember the names, faces or stories of.  I mourn wind smells, shapes the smoke used to make above Chelmsford in the early morning.  I want to feel dew between my toes.  I can hear harpsichords.

I dunno.  As usual, I have nothing to say but a burning desire to say it.  I want to make everyone dance and swoon and understand the importance of being Helen.  That unfailing thirst, wonder, steel.

One mouse looks dead now, disappointed.  The other feels useless in my hands.  I wonder what your fingers would look like caressing it.

I mourn my lost self.

I nearly don’t make it down the street, but I’m so glad…

I have nothing to boast about, brag…

One day I will learn how to write about music and then I will be in clover and cynical and without a heart like Barbara Ellen.

The importance of being Helen.

2 Responses to The importance of being Helen

  1. Pingback: Song of the day (the old and the new) – 14. Helen McCookerybook and Dolly Parton | Music That I Like

  2. Pingback: Ideas for future directions | a poll | Music That I Like

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