Current Essays

Tam Dot Lin On:2004-02-26 06:24:33

One of the most wonderfully ironic things about the latest technology is the way it makes it so much easier to live in the past. (I've had thoughts like these before, and I'm sure I must have mentioned them on this station before, probably because I'm getting too long in the essay not to repeat myself).

Take, as a very good example, Apple's new iTunes Music Store

which, since it's been around for, what, four months or more, is I suppose verging on the merely newISH, but it still has a certain cachet of up to the minuteness in spite of its wild success. Anyway in my longinthetoothiness I find that I increasingly remember odd snippetts of song from earlier times and then can't forget the buggers for ages---why just the other day there was a line that somehow got stuck in my mind (you know that and getting little bits of apple skin stuck in your teeth are the most horribel low-level worrisome things in the universe). So of course to put the damn thing to rest I searched online at the iTunes Music Store for it.

I got 59 hits on 'Flamingo' none of which was for my song (if the Store has a fault is it that, in common with most American institutions, it does not have a sufficiently British bias for my liking) so I had to find the song by what we in the trade call 'other means' and what those were is none of your business.
Oh and before I forget, I should let you know that the tune was that Sixties not quite classic 'Pretty Flamingo' by Manfred Mann and the loop that had forced itself between a couple of back molars in my mind was this


'She walks so fine like a flamingo'???--'She walks LIKE A FLAMINGO!!'

Now far be it from me to criticise any music from that glorious period of creativity and love and zoological improbability the sixties, so in the defence of Messers Manfred Mann I should mention that I'm sure I don't remember any National Geographic Specials on flamingoes in the sixties and so maybe the singers never had seen a flamingo walk, BUT, but, but the most rudimentary research should have told them that any girl who tried to walk like a flamingo would certainly have rapidly ended her walk by squalking like a flamingo and being rushed straight to the emergency room, I mean their legs don't even bend in the same direction and furthermore any guy who found walking like a flamingo a turn-on should in turn be whisked off to the Psych Ward before he does anyone any harm.

I suppose I'm taking this too much to heart, and that I should just accept the fact people frequently do weird or impossible things in songs, a fact in fact clearly demonstrated by the main downside of modern technology's ease, you see whilst unsuccessfully searching for 'Pretty Flamingo' I succumbed to the dreaded iTunes Music Store impulse (or as it should be called for consistency iMpulse-with a capital mmm in the mmmiddle) and got diverted and bought (after all it's only 99cents plus tax, and that gets you every time) that great British folk-rock group Fairport Convention's 'Tam Lin' a wild folk song that, starting with a warning to 'you maidens all' not to travel to Carterhaugh because of young Tam Lin (who seems to have something of a reputation), largely consists of a young lady called Janet tying her kirtle a little above the knee and then rushing there and back several times as 'fast as go can she' and becoming pregnant on at least one of her excursions (thus preserving Tam Lin's reputation if not her's)-well it was originally an old border ballad so what else could you expect especially since he seems to be a temporary elf, and it does prove my point--totally weird behaviour.

And as I leave you I'm now wondering if Manfred Mann hadn't got their minds into a weird and elf-like state (well it was the sixties) at London Zoo and if 'Pretty Flamingo' had a large curved nose that she dragged upside-down through her soup whilst feeding?

Cheerio for now
from Richard Howland-Bolton

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