Oh, It’s a Perfect Day

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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.

7 responses »

  1. I adored it at the time, and adore it now.

    “…in a lengthy corporate promotion of its diverse music coverage which was broadcast on BBC channels and in cinemas. It featured Lou Reed himself and other major artists in what the Financial Times described as “an astonishing line-up of world class performers”. In reference to the licence fee, the film ends with the message “Whatever your musical taste, it is catered for by BBC Radio and Television. This is only possible thanks to the unique way the BBC is paid for by you. BBC. You make it what it is.” In response to accusations from commercial competitors that the corporation had wasted vast sums on the film it was revealed that each artist received a “token” £250 because of their belief in the BBC.

    Prompted by a huge public demand the track was released on November 17 1997 as a charity single for Children in Need, and Lou Reed said “I have never been more impressed with a performance of one of my songs.” It was the UK's number one single for three weeks, in two separate spells. The record contributed £2,125,000 to the charity's highest fundraising total in six years,[7] and by November 2012 has sold 1.55 million copies.

    In addition to the artists mentioned, it also has contributions from Elton John, Boyzone, Lesley Garrett, Thomas Allen, Emmylou Harris, Tammy Wynette, Robert Cray, Joan Armatrading and Gabrielle, and – best of the lot – Heather Small (from M People)!”

    Jx

    Like

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