17 December 2007

The Teenagers - 'Starlett Johannson'

At the time of writing I have just added up the number of plays for tunes by The Teenagers on both home and office computers (and one of the very best things about my job is that I get to listen to music all day long at work) and the count stands at 125, which suggests something like obsession. (The Last FM thing on the right there only counts some and doesn't function at all at work, for reasons that are doubtless too tedious to be worth understanding.) Actually, make that 127, as I had a couple further quick blasts on the portable MP3 player while slaloming around slow-moving crowds in London's busy West End this lunchtime. And of course that figure doesn't include countless turns of the hard copy vinyl artefacts on the trusty record player. (I haven't yet found a satisfactory way to capture analogue play counts and aggregate this with digital data. Perhaps I need to keep a notebook and pencil by the stereo? But we all know that if you try to record behaviour you end up influencing it.)

So yes, it would seem that I'm smitten by The Teenagers, and even though, as we've discussed before, that does make me feel rather the creepy Uncle Quentin meddling in the youngsters' fun (bands these days play 'all ages' gigs, but can I be alone in thinking an upper age limit might also be imposed?) there's not a lot I can do about it. It seems all my life I've been waiting for someone to come along and buy my soul in return for a fistful of cheeky, slightly cheesy, perhaps mildly misogynist and above all absolutely filthy Euro-pop-rock. Yes, perhaps I should have demanded a higher price, but on the other hand it's so damned catchy. And, as someone once said before he lost the plot, the music they play may say nothing to me about my life, but still I can't help it. Have I become a sort of voyeur here? Is that it? Is this why once again I spent a significant part of my weekend ferreting about amidst the innards of the miraculous Hype Machine seeking out and downloading fairly pointless Teenagers' remixes, none of which are, of course, as good as the original? (And naturally I have a theory about remixes too, the non-committal, anti-definitive and essentially open nature of which are perfect for these confused, relativist times. All versions are equal because the last thing we want is to have the courage of a clear conviction. See also directors' cuts and alternative endings.)

Of course nothing will ever quite replace The Homecoming in my affections, but this is still marvellous, being another slice of offbeat electro-rock about the almost eponymous heroine, who should either be amused or consider taking out some sort of restraining order. And naturally it connected neatly with my own Lost in Translation obsession, so maybe that's part of it. It's got a singalong chorus and they don't mind admitting they're scared of spiders. I am too. Perhaps there's a Facebook group all us arachnophobes could join?

Meanwhile the b side of the physical manifestation appears to be a hymn to the simple joys of self-abuse, in this case apparently aided by Christina Aguilera videos, which don't do it for me, but the diversity of human sexuality is a truly wonderful thing. There have been few songs about the pleasures of the humble wank - one thinks, of course, of the Buzzcocks' Orgasm Addict - and there really ought to be more. I've always considered it as evidence in support of Intelligent Design, or at least the existence of some sort of benign Creator, that human beings carry around with them all the essentials for solo sexual gratification - genitals, the means of manipulating them and an imagination. What better way to celebrate such a state of affairs than through the medium of song?

Where was I? But the magic doesn't stop there. Trawl the internet for the sleazier still Fuck Nicole - I've always had a fondness for the word 'quim', which is probably in Chaucer or something - or the straight-up, chorus-heavy rock of Tiger, two other personal favourites of the hour. Or find the strange but rather beautiful trombone-laden reimagining by Connan and the Mockasins, whose earlier tune Sneaky, Sneaky Dogfriend was one of the great lost classics of this website's two year nervous breakdown.

Got to go now. Play 128 is imminent.

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