22 May 2004

Hey! Poetry made it to the ABC TV News tonight: no royal weddings, but Adrian Mitchell was there: a poet on the news ! What is the world coming to ... If only there were a news slot every night for poetry, imagine ...
Talking of poetry, I recently heard Radiohead live in Melbourne, and as I write, I am listening to their album, Hail to the thief. The poster for the album (a giant 2 meter-square poster) resides in one of my son's rooms (don't ask me how it got there ... ) It is composed entirely of words drawn from our contemporary culture:
BLOCK | 24HR | POOR | VIDEO | RETIREMENT | RAPID | PATROL | LUBE | DONUT | VCR | LOSS | SOON | ANYTIME | GOD | COLOR | SOON | SALE | TV | ARMED | GASOLINE | PERFECT | DANGER | COPIES | COIN | BANGBANG | 25C | USED | BACON | TEST | HOME | LONG STAY | ULTRA | GIRLS | AUTOS | SCREEN | NOTHING | AUTOS | OIL | POOL | AWAY | 100% | DELICIOUS | FINE | ZONE | AID | BE | ONLY | PLAYERS | ENTER | PHOTO | ENFORCED | CHECK | MANIA | BEEF | TURN | MAIL | CENTER | FEAR | COLLISION | BALLISTIC | DRUGS | EXTRA | LIQUOR | EXIT | 99c | TROUBLE | ANTI | TANNING | TROUBLE | RECOVERY | COIFFURE | LUXURIES | HAIR | KARAOKE | HAMBURGER | SECURITY | REMEMBERING | HAUNTED | TEENS | ADVISOR | POPCORN | SPRITUAL | $ | DEPOT | PROSECUTED | SUNSET | BEEPERS | MEDIA | VACANT | SALE | WILL | TOW | XING | BAIL | CALL | MEAT | THEFT | ...
I haven't been this excited about a band since the days of Beatlemania. But it's not cool to be too excited these days...
" are you such a dreamer?
to put the world to rights?
I'll stay home forever
Where two & two always
makes up five
I'll lay down the tracks
Sandbag & hide
January has April's showers
And two & two always
makes up five"
There was a program on "in the deep end" the other night about what makes a good song. You might think, reading them, that Radiohead's lyrics wouldn't make for good song, but something about their synthesis of word-sound and instrument, their use of voice as instrument, their touching a nerve of present-tense angst, all adds up to more than the sum of those parts ... "Morning bell, Morning bell" is a case in point. And this song:
(As dead as leaves)
"I'm walking out
in a force ten gale
Birds thrown around
Bullets for hail
The roof is pulling off
By its fingernails
Your voice is rapping
On my window sill

"Yesterday's headlines
Blown by the wind
Yesterday's people
End up
SCATTERBRAIN
Then any fool can
Easy pick a hole
("If only I could fall in")
Somewhere I'm not
Scatterbrain
Somewhere I'm not
Scatterbrain
Lightning fuse
Powercut
SCATTERBRAIN

"A moving target
in a firing range"
Or how about "The Boney King of Nowhere" ...
"In pitch dark
I go walking in
Your landscape
Broken branches
Trip me as I speak
Just because you feel it
Doesn't mean it's there
Just because you feel it
Doesn't mean it's there ..."
(Source: lyric-sheet for the Radiohead, album: Hail to the thief.)

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