As I careen toward 60, I find myself making increasingly desperate attempts to appear young-at-heart and switched-on. Here’s my attitude: If I am doomed to become an alta cacca, then at least let me be a trendy and pop-literate alta cacca. You should hear me screeching and hooting along with “Alejandro” on the car radio. I’m totally tuned in!
Strictly entre nous, I find this latest Gaga offering to be quite subpar, à la a Eurovision Song Contest. And what’s with those lyrics? The unexplained litany of Latino stud names suggests that Lady G is using this track to send out embedded reproaches to all her former hairdressers. … Roberto! Fernando! More spit curls, Orlando! Gimme more height, Julio!
So what, when I am not pretending to be 14 years old, are my real musical tastes? This brings us to my iPod and the sordid cavalcade of geriatric nostalgia concealed therein.
We alta caccas love an organ, and nothing beats the sound of the all-but-forgotten Cherry Wainer pounding the crap out of her Hammond.
My playlist, by me:
1. “Substitute,” by the Who. This 1966 hit-the year the Brits won the World Cup-is literally the most perfect pop song every written. Gaga, take note of the scalpel-cut lyrics:
Substitute! Your lies for fact
I can see right through your plastic mac
I look all white, but my dad was black
My fine-looking suit is really made out of sack
2. “Peter Gunn,” by Cherry Wainer. 1966 again! We alta caccas love an organ, and nothing beats the sound of the all-but-forgotten Cherry pounding the crap out of her Hammond. For extra thrills, YouTube Cherry in action. Keep an eye out for the white poodle who shares her piano stool-sorry, I mean organ stool.
3. “Claire de Lune,” by Tomita. This trippy electronic version of Debussy’s classic was used extensively on The Robin Byrd Show back in the ’80s. FYI, the lady Byrd is still around and her boobs look great.
4. “Sound and Vision,” by David Bowie. Memory Lane: me and my demented pals, Biddie, Hattie, Sweep and Broom (nicknames were big in mid-’70s London) standing at the bar in the Blitz Club and all screaming in unison “Blue! Blue ‘lectric blue! That’s the color of my room!” and feeling the exhilaration that comes from knowing your entire life is unfurling in front of you. And now look! There’s only a third of it left!
5. “People are Strange,” by the Doors. I told you I love an organ, and an organist: Doors keyboard genius Ray Manzarek was a big fashion customer at the store (Maxfield) where I worked in L.A. in the late ’70s/early ’80s, and he was a real gent. So there!
6. “Animal Farm,” by the Kinks. Ray Davies was a visionary. This song foreshadows the whole back-to-the-farm-and-make-you-own-goat’s-cheese rustic fetish, which is currently raging hilariously through our culture.
7. “Let It Whip,” by the Dazz Band. I have worshipped at the church of Don Cornelius since the ’70s. (He was a Maxfield customer, too!) Soul Train remains the most important style show EVER to assault the US airwaves.
8. “Arnold Layne,” by Pink Floyd. It’s hard to imagine a contemporary artist-Justin Bieber for example-making a hit song about a dirty old geezer who gets his kicks stealing ladies’ knickers off washing lines.
9. “Sorrow,” by the Mersey Beats. Nineteen sixty-six AGAIN!
10. “Les Sucettes,” by France Gall and Serge Gainsbourg. This was the song that scandalized Paree in 1966. The young and innocent Mademoiselle Gall was famously and shockingly duped, by Serge and others, into singing this double-entendre-riddled song about sucking lollipops. When she realized the full horror of her sordid and unwitting collusion, she barricaded herself at home and did not go out for weeks. It’s hard to imagine a contemporary chanteuse like Ke$ha experiencing this kind of embarrassment.
Re Ke$ha: I will be adding a little jejune sizzle to my remaining years by Ke$ha-izing the spelling of my name: et voilà! $imon!