The big one. The reason I did this whole 30 Days fiasco backwards in the first place. What we’ve been counting down to…
Bang Bang Machine – Geek Love
…And you’re probably thinking: what?
I don’t normally go in for obscurity for obscurity’s sake. But my favourite song is one I’ve never heard, anywhere, except through my own speakers and headphones. It’s not on Spotify, I didn’t know there was a video until today (and even that’s half the full length), the self-proclaimed “only site dedicated to Bang Bang Machine” on the internet is a relic, a hangover from the pre-56k days…. Geek Love could almost not exist outside of this lone mp3 on my hard-drive.
Some days, I can almost believe it doesn’t.
And, despite the song sounding like a broken half-transmission from an alternative reality (in which, perhaps, Geek Love was a #1 hit) that’s silly, really. Apart from the obvious fact that my mind has the musical creativity and ability of a beached manatee mid-labour, it was a #1. Sort of. It topped John Peel’s annual Festive 50, in 1992. Which, incidentally, is where my copy was ripped from: for a year or so, before I discovered Audacity, the song was bookended by Peel talking, every single time I listened to it.
Which added to the feel of it being a broken transmission, from a time and place that could have been. Where post-rock took over and became, merely, rock. Where instead of Britpop, something entirely different was built out of Saint Etienne’s legacy as eyes were lifted from shoes (and navels), guitars and alternative dance music holding hands and walking into the 20th Century’s sunset, burning brighter than in our own world…
I’m getting carried away, but it’s that kind of song. The kind that carries you away with it. A looping 9 minute monster of a song, with barely-decipherable vocals. I’ve sang along to the lyrics dozens of times, but I couldn’t for the life of me tell you a single line from it, even as I’m listening to it now.
It could be about first contact with the other gender, or living alone with only a set of headphones for company… it’s actually, according to Wikipedia, about a travelling family of circus freaks. It even incorporates noises from controversial film-classic Freaks. That simultaenously surprises me and explains everything.
You might notice I’m using italics a lot. It’s that kind of song, written in the elegant looping language of italics. The kind of song that wraps thick arms around you and whispers: calm. safe. shhhhhh. The kind of song that inspires in me what could, no doubt, be labelled pretentiousness.
Except, obviously, I mean it. I mean all of it.