Vomit, Hang the DJ, loop times 25 approximately. It’s 2015 and The Smiths have made a comeback in my mind, while I vomit and shit out some parasitic bacteria that takes three days to clear. I hear it reverberate off the tiled walls of my petit white bathroom. Earlier in the year I lie on my couch shivering with influenza, and “The Queen Is Dead” plays and plays, especially the cascading drum intro, as loud as a gun salute.
The night before I see my girlfriend after an absence of six months, I can’t sleep because of the song “Have You Seen Her Lately?” by Pulp. The Cardigans’ “And Then You Kissed Me” tests my patience the night before a holiday. “Perfect Day” by Lou Reed has me gritting my teeth as I walk to a job interview in 2008. I get the job, yay, and Lou shuts up, because he is only interested in irony: they call me with an offer as I walk back to my car. He must be gutted!
This year so far the songs are of an unknown composition, and they’re all about anal sex. Lyrics and catchy choruses flood into my head, triggered by the smallest change in circumstances, good or bad. I’m not compelled to have anal sex, nor am I especially interested in anal sex; in fact when I see it in porn (I’m straight) it strikes me as a wasted opportunity.
There are pastiches of popular songs. At this very moment Everything But The Girl’s “Missing” is playing, but the chorus has been modified. “And I miss you” has become “Anal misuse”.
Did you ever read John Wyndham’s “Chocky”? Chocky lives in my brain too. He has a keen interest in comedic applications of the word “anal”.
And even now, because he can change up at the speed of 40000 supercomputers, we have diversified. Now it’s every song with the word “love”, but it’s swapped with “muff”. Wow, I haven’t thought about Robert Palmer for a while, but I might as well face it.
Music can hold enormous power in memories and experiences, transporting us instantly to an age, location, or person. What sonic joys, mysteries, disbelief, and clarity have you experienced? Identify songs of influence in your life and explore them like variations on a theme, melding syntax and song structure, recalling the seriousness or levity that accompanies. Whether it’s an account of when a specific song first entered your life, the process of learning to play a song, teaching someone a song, experiencing the same song in different places as it weaves through your life, unbelievable radio timing, sharing songs with those in need, tracking the passing down of songs, creative song analysis etc, I am interested in those ineffable moments and welcoming submissions of your own variations on a theme, as drawn from your life’s soundtrack. Please email submissions to email@example.com keep an eye out for others’ Variations.
**(“song” is a broad phrase: could be a pop song, a traditional tune, a symphony, commercial jingles, a hummed lullaby, 2nd grade recorder class horror stories, etc)**
Simon Pinkerton writes fiction and humour for Word Riot, McSweeney’s, Minor Literature[s], Razed. @simonpinkerton