Secret Agent Fred and I stumbled in to a little place we know for dinner tonight and while we were tucking in, a wheezy three piece combo in the room next door struck up. I was willing to ignore them until I realized they were covering (or attempting to do so) Pink Floyd’s Money.
From there on, it was just down hill, of course. A Beatle’s medley; something Fred claimed was from The Smiths (for which I took his word, since I hate all things Morrisey;) and finally the smooth jazz sound of Perfect Day.
I like Perfect Day very much, the mismatch between the song’s cheery bubble of lalalalala and Lou Reed’s kind of atonal drone. I have always assumed it was something of a sneer on his part against the very sunny type of music it parodies so spot on. And yet, it also seems to be his sincere appreciation of what a perfect day is: simple, unstructured but full, happy. With you.
So to then hear it ground out by the very kind of band the underlying mockery is aiming at was not just ironic, but thought provoking. Three hacks plodding through their set, stuck in a barful of people who wouldn’t pay them any attention if their combined hair (which wasn’t much) was on fire. Did the band get the joke? Is that why they were playing it? Or had some snarky hipster requested it and then gone off to snicker at his musical wit.
You know there’s that old joke that not that many people bought the Velvet Underground’s music, but they all went right out and started their own band. Maybe that’s the drummer’s story and he insisted on including it. Maybe it’s one twelve songs the keyboardist knows. There are many possibilities.
Then when I was looking for a video to illustrate this post, I ran across this promo one from the BBC in 1997. Again, it largely seems to miss out on the sarcasm I’ve always heard in the song, so maybe I’m just imagining it, bitter old queen that I am. Still, that’s my story and I’m sticking with it.
The cast is certainly star-studded. Of course, Bono makes an appearance. Is there ever one of these kind of things he misses out on? But also, David Bowie, in an earring that, were he not a Big Star or if he had had a friend on hand, surely he would have been talked out of.
Also, (look quick or you’ll miss them) Suzanne Vega, Doctor John (!), Emmylou Harris, sounding swell, and Tom Jones, who is not identified. Did the BBC assume everyone would know who he is? Maybe they were right. Not to mention, Mrs. Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, pixie-ish as ever.
I hope you enjoy it. Try not to get stuck on Bowie’s ear-bob.