Sunday, April 5, 2009


I watched Donna's Emily dance at a local Esteddford a few weekends ago. She was wonderful.

While I was waiting for her to come on, I got to thinking about the whole Esteddford thing, and I wondered whether, like Physical Culture (remember fizzy?), it was an Australian only thing. Then I got thinking of other true Australian cultural activities, not the ockerism ones that we've allowed to become the opinion of the international world, but the little everyday ones that are in danger of extinction. And I couldn't really think of any more except fizzy and esteddfords, so my mind wandered and I was kind of in a world of my own when suddenly ...

Oh my God, can that be right? Is that young girl up there on the stage dancing to Tori Amos' Winter? What, no Britney If You Seek Amy? I was as suprised by it as I would have been if it were presented on Australian Idol. Gen Y - full of suprises that's for sure.

So I got thinking about the old Tori Amos songs I used to love so much. And I remembered a you tube video I'd seen with an interview at the end with Tori talking about herself ad nauseum. Her affected swivelling on the piano stool (do you think she's doing what I think she's doing?), the weird interview - the eccentricity was part of the appeal probably. Anyhow, I'll share it with you guys, because I got nothing on the knitting front that I'm allowed to talk about just yet ...

While we're on the subject of good songs, Emily did her dance to an acoustic version of Leonard Cohen's Allelujiah. Beautiful. I love that song.

But you know, the meaning of it? We'll I'm sure as hell I don't know, and I'd bet neither does anybody else. In isolation, the lyrics really are massively stupid.

She tied you to the kitchen chair. She broke your throne and she cut your hair.

Well, I heard there was a secret chord That David played and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?

I come over all gooey when I hear that song, and I fancy that I know what it means because it makes me feel something, but I'm not entirely sure what. I'd bet the choir of hard knocks don't really understand it either. But I guess a song doesn't have to have a literal meaning to stir an emotion (American Pie for example is riddled with bizarre lines), but the sum of the parts is what makes it appeal to someone's emotions.

But you know, when they put it in Shrek, and then let the winner of the UK X Factor Alexander Burke release it as a Christmas single, Jeff Buckley may well be spinning in his grave. It's also pretty obvious that Leonard Cohen needs the money.

Thank you for reading this far, I shall now leave you in peace. Did you say Halelujiah?


SallyO said...

An Australian thing? An Eisteddfod (you may spell it differently here) is a Welsh competitive festival with special emphasis on poetry and music. That's how it got the silly name.

I think Fizzy (? not sure if I've got that right) is an Aussie thing. Never heard of that before a friend here told me about it.

Bells said...

Big Tori fan from way back. I even buy her new stuff. I'm a bit more objective about her these days than I used to be. I have little time for Tori the artist in interviews. She's gotten weirder and more self involved than she ever was. At least she used to speak and write in proper sentences.

These days I'm just around for the voice and the piano. Everything else, her concepts, her excess plastic surgery, her complete removal from the world of actual people, is pretty distasteful for me.

But back in the day, oh, I was in love. I doubt I'll ever stop loving, just, maybe not in the same way.

Apparently loving Tori dates me terribly. Oh well.

Oh and I believe the phrase you're looking for is 'fucking the piano stool'.

Tara said...

It's funny, I've always loved Hallelujah. My father however, in his 60's seems to think the version from Shrek is the only version ever released - something I find odd given he was once quite the Cohen fan. I don't know what the song means either but it's in my top 5 of songs that never fails to give me shivers. Interestingly, so is American Pie. I saw a great online thingy with reasoning of the themes behind American Pie, all to do with American culture, specifically music, in the time between Don McClean was a paper boy and when he released the song. It really made alot of sense, but as always - I can't find the bloody link now.

Mandy said...

I think a lot of Cohen's songs are like that - great to listen to, and they bring out a lot of emotion, but if you really pay attention to the lyrics, they just don't make any sense! But Hallelujah has always been one of my favorites, too.

American Pie just brings back so many memories of my youth, and when my 8-year-old son says "I don't get that. What does he mean when he says X?" all I can do is just shake my head and say, "Honey, nobody really knows, but there are some theories..." My b-i-l had a whole folder about it from junior high school, if only we could find it. I still love to listen to that album (and, yes, I still have it on vinyl).

kms said...

ah fizzy. i was a fizzy girl... thanks for the reflections and the trip down memory lane!

sulkycat said...

ah, the great cohen ... several versions of this song written by him, lots of biblical references (tied you down and cut your hair = samson & delilah;broken thrones, bathing = king david & bathsheba), relationships turned bad - and , of course, jeff buckleys version based allegedly around the power of the orgasm ...

to understand cohens lyrics you need the history of the man behind them - and thats not always foolproof!

wonderfully complex