Following on from my previous post: “Bell, or Pas Belle”…..
A while back, I read an article about a composer who found some old cassettes of his which had decayed over time, and he wrote a composition using these decayed tapes.
This caused me not a little concern. I have boxes and boxes of cassettes with irreplaceable data and recordings. So I am in the process of having my most precious recordings digitalized, although apparently my cassettes are, on the whole, in quite good nick – having been safely stored.
One of the recordings I’ve just had digitalized is of a song which I called Positive at the time, because it was about trying to think positively. Here, I’ve decided, instead, to use the beginning of the song as a title. It starts:
See it thus
Thin’s a child to the adult sex
I want none of that….none of that
This was when Susie Orbach’s book: Fat is a Feminist Issue, had made a big impression on me. The idea that the idealised thin (and devoid of body hair) aesthetic imposed on, and adopted by, women in the West, belongs to the concept of women as the child-like sex.
I was also influenced by an album by This Mortal Coil. In one of the songs on this album, you cannot make out any of the words which the singer is singing – intentionally. It is part of the style and atmosphere of the song.
This seemed like a great idea! In this song that I had written, I felt quite exposed by the words after the initial lines. So I decided to sing it disguising the words in a way that they were almost impossible to make out: the voice would be more like an instrument providing melody, atmosphere and emotion, without fully-decipherable words. After the opening lines, the words are not positive at all, but give expression to the way in which, in certain life (and death) situations, your pain can spill over, and other people’s pain can spill over onto you, in a way which can sap your confidence completely, and make it impossible to act on feelings of love, or of being in love. I had recently passed through such a time, writing songs which gave vent to some intense emotions. (“It’s slash your wrists time!” would be uttered – it was later revealed to me – when I got up to sing in my local folk club!)
I met up with a guy who I have to credit with producing this recording: Sal Paradise. He got me to work properly on the guitar part until it was perfect before he agreed to record it. He then doubled the guitar part with a delay inbetween the doublings, and added chorus, and a tabla sample on a loop. (On his travels, he had recorded musicians, but I omitted to ask who the tabla player was behind this sample.) He said he would make the vocal part “sweet”, but I think it is pretty much how I sounded back then, in the late 1980s.
He then made us both a curry.
Unfortunately, he never let me have a decent copy of the recording.
So here it is: Thin’s a child to the adult sex….