Monday, February 25, 2013
Nicholas Reid reflects in essay form on general matters and ideas related to literature, history, popular culture and the arts. You are free to agree or disagree with him.
A CULTURALLY SIGNIFICANT ICON FOR OUR TIMES
Sometimes you are harmlessly reading a newspaper when you come across an interview of such penetrating insight and urgency that you wonder why all interviews are not so attuned to matters of similar great cultural importance. It happened to me recently when I was reading a Sunday supplement and came across the following. It is truly awesome in its grasp of the really significant things of life….
Naïve Worshipper: Gosh, Marianne Fitful, it’s such a privilege to interview a cultural icon like you. I feel so humble and awed to be talking to you. I mean. Wow. It’s just incredible. Well, like, I’ve always wanted to talk to somebody like you and here we are on the phone and we’re talking and it’s as if all my dreams have come true and I’ve admired you for years and I’m in New Zealand and you’re in…
Marianne Fitful: Do you want to ask me something?
Naïve Worshipper: Oh. Yes. Sure. Sorry. Um….how are you?
Marianne Fitful: Tired. I’ve been partying. We opened last night with the new production of Ubelascu’s famous 1920s Romanian atonal opera satire Sin, Sin, Sin. It’s all very sexy. I get to stab somebody on stage and have sex afterwards. I like it.
Naïve Worshipper: Gosh. Wow. That’s really pushing the envelope. I mean, it’s edgy. Wish I could see that. Um… aren’t some of your relatives minor aristocracy?
Marianne Fitful: F**k off. Talk about something else please. I don’t want my fans to think I grew up privileged or anything.
Naïve Worshipper: Oh. Yeah. Sure. Anything you say. Um, anyway, how do you feel now that it’s nearly fifty years since your first single As Sniffles Get Loose?
Marianne Fitful: Okay. Okay. So I’m in my seventies now. You don’t have to tell everyone. Anyhow, I don’t feel too bad about it. I couldn’t sing then and I still can’t sing a note so I guess time hasn’t made much difference to my talent and I’m just right for an atonal opera. But, yeah, it’s quite funny in a way to think that kids in the sixties thought that stuff was important. I mean, we were cracking up in the studio when I recorded it. You know it was the first composition of Mike Jigger and Kiff Rockers?
Naïve Worshipper: Yeah. Wow. Awesome. Do you remember how you first broke into recording?
Marianne Fitful: Yeah. I was at a party for Mike Jigger and the Rolling Rocks and I’d been dating most of them, Mike and Kiff and the others, if you know what I mean, and they sort of thought they had to give me something back so their producer banged me into a studio and there I was.
Naïve Worshipper: Wow. Awesome. Incredible. I mean wow – what a significant cultural moment. And then you were in that iconic and significant 1960s film Girl in a Tight-Fitting Leather Cat Suit. Wow. I still remember how I cried when you came off your motorcycle and crashed through the windscreen of…
Marianne Fitful: Actually the film was complete crap. Are you sure you’ve even seen it? Anyway, they used a body double and it was all just about tits and leather. Complete crap.
Naïve Worshipper: Um. Yeah. Sure. Awesome. And, um, didn’t you get into a lot of drugs once and go homeless?
Marianne Fitful: Yeah, but I still had rich friends and contacts and we got some good druggie songs out of all that.
Naïve Worshipper: Wow. Awesome. Um, do you mind if I ask you about your epoch-making 1979 album Semi-Coherent English? I mean this was a big change of pace for you wasn’t it, much edgier and earthier than the earlier stuff and I mean it was influenced by punk and the radical rebels in Europe and…
Marianne Fitful: Well what happened was I still couldn’t sing but my voice was even crappier now because I was getting older and other stuff, so we thought it’d be a real laugh to get me in the studio and let rip even though I couldn’t hit the notes. And it worked. The critics in the pop music press praised it. You know you’ve pulled it off when that happens. Once they praise something really crappy it gets to be cult. Then you can laugh. Because most of Semi-Coherent English was complete crap, of course.
Naïve Worshipper: Wow. Incredible. Really epoch-making. And what do you think of today’s pop stars.
Marianne Fitful: Complete crap.
Naïve Worshipper: Gosh. Wow. Awesome. I mean really, really, really significant. And you are a cultural icon after all aren’t you. And I really feel so privileged to be talking to you after all your years of high creativity and…
Marianne Fitful: Oh for f**ck’s sake. [Hangs up]