What the hell are you trying to sing??

8 07 2010

Ok now I must preface this by saying that I quite enjoy Damien Leith’s music in general. In his defence, he is, primarily , a chemist and gets a few mole of points from me on that score alone. However, for the sake of typing an article with a modicum of substance I must draw objections on several counts with the song “22 steps”.

The first of these is purely an economic issue:
“If I were him,
I’d know your birthday.
Just what to get.
The colors you wear.
We’d borrow bikes.
We’d ride on Sundays.
You’d review.
The books I sell.”

Ok, the guy sells books. I get that. Cool job, ‘got time to lean got time to glean’ and all that, however he is obviously no serious businessman… he would have to borrow a pair of bikes for them both to go for a Sunday ride? Mine cost $69 at Big W. I would have serious concerns about such a guy. He’s only a whisker away from selling The Big Issue on streetcorners, baby!

The second issue I have with the song is not that it blatantly lifts riffs from the Beatles, nor that this guy is contemplating “cutting another man’s lunch” which Daryl Kerrigan would most certainly not endorse, but the fact that the guy is a little creepy:

“And I know takes 22 steps.
from the walk to your door.
Takes 22 steps.
‘Cause I’ve tried it before.
And one day I’ll knock.
But just not yet.”

Ok, hang on, so this guy, at least once has had a go at walking up to your door slow enough to count the steps and then not knock?? Right. In my state you could get yourself arrested for that, or, at the very least invited to have an assessment for Asperger’s.

Now, finally, I take issue with our fine Oiriche friend in a metaphysical sense:

“If I were him.
I’d buy the rain coat.
The orange one.
That he forbade.
We’d wait for rain.
We’d walk by his house.
In the front.
Not by the lane.”

I confess, I have dwelt on this petite stanza for many hours (I blame the poor quality of free to air TV in Australia). I am closer to solving the Rubic’s cube than I am of understanding this enigmatic epithet. Oh, by the way, I am really crap with Rubic’s cubes.

My mind has a hard enough time getting around the propositional gymnastics of hypothetically being a man who who intentionally buys something that he simply hates for his girlfriend to wear so that he could really annoy himself by having her parade past his own house in it. Remember, he’s him! The real conundrum is that the slightly odd stalker who writes the song would rather be this complete twister than the comparatively benign creepy self. Yeah, and we thought George Costanza had problems!!

The curious thing is that if the writer were actually relationally attached to the interest of his affection then parading his new girlfriend in her new orange raincoat is likely to only reinforce the guy’s suspicions that:

a) If he had harboured any regret over the break up on the grounds of how attractive the girl had been, seeing her in a bright orange raincoat with her creepy new boyfriend could serve only to comfort him about his fine decision-making.

b) Only complete twats would be out in weather like this, whilst complete dickheads, like her new boyfriend have no raincoat at all.

c) His ex-girlfriend is indeed going out with a tight-arsed loser, whose idea of a date is to walk in the rain past her ex-boyfriend’s house.

d) His curtains were far too transparent if his ex-girlfriend can see him through the window snogging on the bearskin rug  in front of the fire with his new flame.

Yes, we can rest assured that this girl, whether or not she has indeed made a sensible choice of current mate, has most certainly made the correct choice not to have anything to do with the writer of this particular song. He should be commended however, for winning the prestigious prize of “worst use of the double-negative” (since Pink Floyd held the title for decades with the line: ‘we don’t need no education’ ironically giving strong evidence to the contrary for that particular proposition):

“And I’m not so sure
That you would not say.
Get out, don’t step in.
I will never try again.”

Socrates himself would have needed to spend a considerable amount of time in the water closet pondering the logic of this one (rumour had it that he was not, in fact fond of vegetables and did, in fact spend a great deal of time there!). Yes, this little tidbit of indecision would give this fine lass all the evidence she would need to keep this poor (in every sense possible) insecure git firmly on the other side of that shiny brass peephole.

Why Damien couldn’t sing about the joys of nucleophillic substitution is beyond me! A remake of the Dexie’s Midnight Runner’s classic “Come on Arene!” perhaps? Craig MacLaughlin’s one hit wonder “Ammonia, Amm, Amm, Amm, Amm, Ammonia”, anyone? For the kiddies, a Sound of Music standard “How do you solve a problem like Urea?”. So much scope and far less of the metaphysical pretzel bending!

Next, we dissect another classic one dimensional hit: “500 Miles” by the Proclaimers.




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