I’m back and I’m scared! After weeks and weeks of touring in a generally freakishly warm America, I arrived in England yesterday evening to Siberian cold. So the flu has ravaged the US in a winter of extremities of hot and cold but did you now about the pandemic in 1918. Tens of millions of people were struck down between January 1918 and 1920. It affected 500 million people in the world and the approximation is that 50-100 million people died.
Seems like a lot of people don’t know about it. Whenever I talk about it, it seems like distant history has erased it from modern perception. Rather like the misery of war might be erased in outbursts of modern bravado. Horror and beauty/ horror and beauty, the pendulum swings between rage and respite. Left and Right. Black and Blue.
I spent weeks in the USA with no computer (it died) and had no time for sessions, no time for writing, no time for listening or reading. I visited excellent record stores, was offered wonderful hospitality and kindness, seeing old and making new friends and most importantly marrying the girl of my dreams. We went to the ballet in New York and saw Romeo And Juliet, we visited the Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree, The Hoover Dam and gazed on the white peaks of The Rockies in awe. We found stimulation in nature, the general wonder of the universe, the details, the cultural surprises that travel brings in a foreign land, the language, the traditions, the different faces, the food, the different sports, the strange television programmes and the screaming sirens in the noise of the city. Then there was the silence of the wilderness shattered by fear as another mentally disturbed boy teaches me the name of a repeating assault rifle through his terrible deed. It’s in these times I miss the naiveté of my own youth and wonder who is listening, who is finding solutions, who is evolving anymore?
And then there is this beautiful Swedish girl, Karin Dreijer and her Fever Raze engaging us in some kind of fetishistic sexual horror movie – or perhaps it’s just plain fun? It would shock my Mum that’s for sure, but then my Mum was shocked by Alice Cooper which probably is/was in fact more shocking than this. At least this is just dressing up and filming fantasy and sensation – Alice would behead people and hang himself, far more macabre than this innocent pleasure.
But the pictures, the images, they seem to draw attention to pleasure through the grotesque and as John Cleese said in The Meaning Of Life during his lesson on foreplay and how to stimulate your partner, in this case a man to a woman: “What about a little kiss boy?…before we stampede towards the clitoris.” But of course yesterday’s glimpse of an ankle is today’s Miley Cyrus. Mystery is replaced by the visceral and stimulation needs risk. Is stimulation no longer an act of kindness, gratefully received?
Frankly, Karin Dreijer and Fever Ray always scared me to death and I’m happy that this is the first release since the creepy brilliant debut of seven years past. I’m not sure my heart could take an album a year if the visuals were always such a decadent circus of sex and power. In the end I like the music, I like the songs, the melodies, the strange atmosphere that she creates with her voice. Today, first day in England, I bought Plunge, the rather clumsy title of the new album. I also bought the new First Aid Kit album which I imagine will be the anithesis of Fever Ray, Swedish polar opposites impressing the world with their talents, their ideas and their brainy visions.
In entertainment in the seventies we had Vincent Price scaring the kids and Black Sabbath scaring the parents, in the sixties it was the Rolling Stones and The Beatles scaring the parents and threatening the establishment with hair over their ears and war in Vietnam scaring the kids. In the fifties it was Elvis’ hips scaring the parents and racism scaring everyone. Before that we had terrible wars and I might be the first generation to have never fought in a war or any kind of conflict in the history of the planet. Are our first world frustrations pushing us to make trouble for ourselves as the haters take hold, as all kinds of equalities are still being questioned, when an atmosphere of violence permeates the sleepy suburbs? Don’t confuse Karin Dreijer with all this, she is not shocking, she is just free.
Hey, remember me?
I’ve been busy working like crazy
I know you like tangerine
And your kiss is sweet and creamy
Oh, can you imagine
A friend’s fixed for us to bump in
Oh, I’m done looking
Now things can start happening
Hey, remember me?
I’ve got so much, just come and get me
I played something catchy
You leaned forward and kissed me
First I take you then you take me
Breathe some life into a fantasy
Your lips, warm and fuzzy
I want to run my fingers up your pussy