Sunday, January 28, 2007
Red Apple Falls
I do like Smog, I do. It's unusual, powerful music. However, sometimes, on a day like today, when there's a chill in the air and I have clearly had my fill of January, I just couldn't bear to listen to much of Bill Callahan's wintery cold words and endlessly drawn out melodies, his lyrics about wells and hard-wood floors and men and women not liking each other very much ("So she washed her cut in the sink./Without her clothes she looked like/A leper in the snow/I left her in the snow/Without her clothes"). Great.
Yes, I can find him a tad on the depressing side. So I was happy today to remember Red Apple Falls, an album from 1997 that has been lurking round my music collection for a while now, and I stuck it on my CD player, and it has now cured me of my Smog apathy completely. It is complex and uplifting songwriting, full of hope and heart and strong imagery littered with apples, rivers, husbands and horses. I can't recommend it enough as music for soothing those sore arms of winter which wrap around us all from time to time during these darker months.
I am presently in the midst of an icy haze of a cold bug which has been sweeping through my body and, most noticeably, my nose, for the last couple of days now, bringing with it a sense of what it is like to be a human marshmallow. Between long hours of sofa lurking, rolling inside my duvet and blowing into vast quantities of Co-op's finest re-cycled loo roll, I keep having spontaneous bursts of energy during which I want to leap into some creative project or other.
Hence, this afternoon, as the sun went down I took out my scissors and began chopping away at my hair, both at the length and my fringe, in a frenzy of rejeuvenating my 'look'. This 'look' of mine has been slowly deteriorating over the last months (and I wasn't even that sure what it was in the first place), but today, the slow and cruel slide from some kind of a Chrissy Hynde/Charlie's Angels look, to that of an Old English Sheep dog was more than I could bear.
I don't think I should have done it, however, whilst listening to The Only Ones, where one should most definitely be pogoing in a violent crowd, not trying to trim a perfect line of fringe, both exact and at the same time gradually descending down the side of my face into a neat blending into the rest of my hairdo. As a result, my careful cutting became increasingly frenzied, and it didn't matter how much I told myself that this was the genius inner hairdresser in me coming out, my fringe was getting shorter and shorter, and the line, wobblier and wobblier. I thought I'd try and temper it by chopping the ends off the rest of my hair aswell, making the whole hairdo shorter, and therefore the fringe look less out of balance. Well, it didn't work.
Oh, why didn't I just make myself some hot ginger tea and read my book? I now look like Joan Of Arc or that bloke off On The Buses or no, oh god, I've a horrid memory image coming to me - I am somewhat resembling Valerie Singleton on Blue Peter circa 1971, or even worse, a kind of amalgam of her with a bit of John Noakes and Peter Purves thrown in.
There's a thin line between quirky and crap, a very thin line. My dilemma now is: do I try and resurrect my fringe, somehow attempting to bring it back from the ashes of destruction into a new cutesy, sexy, boy-girl sprig of loveliness?
The quite clear risk here is the fact that it is ever shortening, and that instead of it ending up looking like Beatrice Dalle in the opening scenes of Betty Blue, where she smoulders, scantily clad at the entrance of her lover Zorg's perfect wooden beach house, gorgeous messy fringe sexily falling in her eyes, it instead would be Beatrice Dalle as Betty sometime later in the film, in the lipstick splodging/hair hacking/stew smearing/nervous-breakdown-sliding run up to eyeball poking-out dinner table scene.
Incidentally, recalling these two scenes from Betty Blue makes me realise how they seem to perfectly depict the typical difference between how women often start off in a relationship and how they unfortunately often end up. One minute we're setting our man's heart and loins alight (and his beach house) with our fiery passion, our innate charm and our incredible breasts. The next, we are weeping into our boeuf bourgignion, running off up alleyways in our knickers, and stabbing women in the arm with a fork. I am, however, trying not to encourage this line of thinking, still, as I am, hopefully on the sexy, sane side with my lover, with only a few fork brandishing type incidences, and I don't want to tempt fate. Nor do I want to tempt fate by carving a psychotic fringe for myself.
So, it seems clear now, I need to cut my losses (ha ha) and lay off the hairdressing for tonight. Instead, I am going to play it safe and keep my hands occupied by making dinner - a savoury and stodgy winter busting puff pastry roll. That could cheer up even Bill Callahan.