Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Tuesday 09/09/08

On Saturday night after walking out on Ash, I find myself on Charing Cross Road and it’s 2115, so I decide to be sociable and give Scott a call to see what he’s up to and would he like to meet up? Scott is at some friend’s house outside central London, so I think maybe I should try other people and see if they’re out and about, but decide that I’ve been sociable enough for one evening, one decade perhaps and I head back home.

Straight from the tube station near home I go to Tesco, where I do my weekly food shopping, and there’s something extremely comforting and reassuring about doing your food shopping alone, very late on a Saturday evening, when the average person, the normal person really, is out living it up. And right now at Tesco I’m pretending that I chose this life and that it wasn’t imposed on me.

At 2300 I leave home again and get on the tube, making my way to Scott’s house. I’m still wearing the same Smiths t-shirt (with sweat marks), the same jeans and trainers. I like the fact that I haven’t changed all day. I’m just some guy. This guy doesn’t care about clothes.

For this journey I’m reading The Bell Jar, I’m playing The Living Dead by Suede on repeat (key lyric: “I was the wife of an acrobat, I looked like the living dead, boy”), I’m making eye contact with the floor and nothing above it.

And on this Saturday night on a tube line in West London reading Sylvia Plath, listening to Suede and wearing a Smiths t-shirt, I have never been to a night club, I have never gone to the gym, I do not know what a tricep extension is, I have never picked up QX.

Then I get to ___ (way too soon, I must have only played The Living Dead twelve times, I should make the main criterion of choosing my next boyfriend that they should live further away) and on the walk from the tube station to Scott’s house I decide to break the mould, go out on a limb and I put the iPod on shuffle.

As soon as the first song comes on, I know I’ve made the wrong choice. This is Romantic Love by Dana Dawson and I don’t think I can take it. I am simply not strong enough. This is a song so unknown it never charted in the UK or the US, but I absolutely and utterly love it.

This is the song that describes who I should be and what I should be doing. Actually, it’s written and sung from the perspective of a black teenage girl who’s about to go on her first date, but I’ve never aspired to be more than that.

Mind you, not a black teenage girl from South London spending her time shoplifting lip-gloss and Sugababes CD singles from the local Woolworth with her brash friends, but an innocent, sweet black teenage girl from a small town in America.

Here’s a brief analysis of the song, and why I should be that girl.

In the first verse, Dana tells us:

I will try

To come and see you tonight
Fix up my face
Look like a star, baby
I will buy
A flower to put in my hair
So you can see
Just where I am

She has never been on a date. She lives in a world of innocent first dates, first attempts at your make up, flowers in your hair. What she doesn’t know is that Tyrone will turn up, take her to the dance, make his move and when she tries to resist he will just rape her on the side of the car park, muffled screams heard by no one, the flower in her hair flat on the ground and covered in mud.

In the chorus, Dana tells us:

Say you will be

The one who dances up to me
The one who takes me to the sky
Way up high
Show a growing girl
A romantic world

There will be no dancing up to her. There will be no uplift to the sky. There is no romantic world. This girl will stop growing tonight.

In the second verse, Dana tells us:

I can't lie

I would not miss opening night
You're just the best
On your guitar, baby
But I won't try
No, I can't stay out all night
I must return
Before midnight

This is a reference to Dana’s curfew. Her Mother never wanted her to go out to this dance anyway; she gave in in the end but asked her to be back by 0000. Dana got back earlier than that – it all happened so quickly – but there was little point. It was much too late already.

In the morning, her Mother looking forward to hearing about the night before, she makes Dana’s breakfast and calls her name. When Dana doesn’t come down, her Mother doesn’t get worried. She doesn’t have a reason to get worried. There’s a piece of rope missing from the shed, but nobody knows yet. This is Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Virgin Suicides, except not anymore.

I don’t know why I have to think all this when hearing an innocuous teenage pop song, but I do. So there you go.


michael01 said...

You should be straight--or, at least, sexually clueless. You should be an innocent, romantic young American black girl. You should be raped? Hmmmm. The first "should" certainly sounds like you, the second one is surprising but interesting. The third one troublesome. Hmmmm again.

michael 01 said...

Oh yeah...and you should hang yourself. Fantasies are so interesting.

Troubled said...

Its just your innate ability to turn happy things to sad. The way u twisted the story is very nice! Keep up the good work ;) Btw very nice blog!

Anonymous said...

So did you two have a good time? No wait...you don't talk about that stuff.

mbzimme said...

Okay I started reading your blog a couple of months ago. Now all I can think about is how seriously I love London Preppy... You are my complete obsession. My Hero... You LP make my life worth living.. This week... Freaking love the blog!

Trybaby said...

I think it's natural to see that, especially when the lyrics are so naive and painfully innocent.

London Preppy said...

michael: Well. I would like to be that girl before all that happens

troubled: Cheers

anon: Wha?

mb: Erm...thanks

trybaby: Natural eh

MrM said...

So it was all a lie - the white straight boy buried deep inside of the West London Queen (your words, your words, not mine). Actually there is a candy cute little straight black girl... fine by me - as long as you don´t fit in.
And I don´t think it´s an issue of always turning things sad, but rather of sensing the inheret sadness to everything that is beautiful, that is colourful, that is filled up to the brim with expectations and hope.
I´ll be braiding a flower into my hair.

Anonymous said...

How do you manage to say absolutely nothing in so many words?

Oldyeller said...

This is a good example of a post in which your description of mundane activities that we all do somehow becomes interesting, funny, dark, puzzling, etc. But, more importantly, I wanted to stress that, when doing tricep extensions, one should always stablize the upper arms and just move the hands and forearms away from

London Preppy said...

anon: It's good, isn't it? 436 posts of NOTHING now and counting!

oldy: Ha ha, you just made the same point as anon above. Very good

Gav Dublin said...

Well I am just back from the old holidays and am so terribly tan and un-cool that I feel I cannot post again until I fade. Given that I live in Ireland that shall not be long.

Enjoyed catching up on all I missed, including the freak/pics/gym/obsessed/reporting you to the gym nazi's guy. He sounds fun.

Phoenix said...

What's wrong with buying sugababes CDs? Although their last album was so awful I couldn't buy it, and I don't think I'll ever get over the ridiculous lyrics about not being "a piece of meat in a delicatessen .... oh isn't this profound."

Did you think this song was profound? Do you think songs should move and inspire you, or are they just there to pass the time, provide a beat to dance to?

dickophile said...

Morbid Preppy?

Maluminas said...

I usually dislike songs with lyrics, because no matter how new it is, i've already heard the same lyrics a thousand times but with different beats... quite boring. Let the instruments speak! No lyric has ever made me cry, but a masterfully played violin or piano can rip my heart and crush my hopes, make me uncontrollably happy or smolderingly angry.

Just saying.

Jack in Sydney said...

There’s a piece of rope missing from the shed, but nobody knows yet.

Oh. My. God.

I was rapt with this post and hanging on every maudlin word, knowing that each sentence was coming and wondering how, HOW could I bear it, how could I bear another one?

And then that sentence about the rope and the shed. Just... please.

Please don't stop writing.

London Preppy said...

phoenix: Nothing wrong really, was just trying to think of someone teenage girls might like. Sugababes seemed to fit the bill

JamesR said...

LP - you are a veritable 21st century Proust.

Anonymous said...


DL said...

oldyeller really got it right. It's amazing how interesting you can make things so simple seem. And you write with such a great style that's so intriguing to read. I love your blog man!!

thebewlaybrother said...

As Noel Coward once said, "Strange, the potency of cheap music"

(And I mean that in a good way!)

Hermes said...

I loved the twist that you added