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Charlotte Gainsbourg: The Operation

Charlotte Gainsbourg is an actress and recording artist and the daughter of Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg. The dark lyrics in this song belie the candy-coated production: very “Euroronic”. There’s a transcript below.  

The Operation

I want to explore you, I’m going to get under your skin so you can feel me running through your veins: I want to examine every inch of your frame, the pressure points that cause your joy and pain.

Our love goes under the knife, there is no room for doubt.

Now I’m inside you, my hands can feel their way further inside than I have ever been: now I can really mess around with your heart and fill it to the brim with broken dreams.

Our love goes under the knife, two lives may be saved.

And if I pull this off I’ll refuse the nobel prize, instead I will look into your eyes: if I pull this off your whole body will be mine and I’m prepared to work throughout the night.

Our love goes under the knife, nothing is taboo… here on the cutting edge of science.

Too much information. I feel I’m getting lost, absorbed into the fibre of your soul, deep within the abbatoir of your entrails, your insides, lost in you forever, far from home.

Our love goes under the knife, someone got too close.

Our love goes under the knife, the heart was rejected by the host.

Ok, so I’m doing my time in the sun now.

But the bar scenes, the 2am lounge scenarios, the backstage kitchen sink sets, the imported stench from the ghettos in perfumed candle or aerosol formats, the blacks, spics, bubbles and micks around the place, strategically situated on bar-stools and banquettes just to brighten up the setting and muddy the narrative for the paradox that’s in it?

Well, sunshine doesn’t burn everything out completely.

“You know that stumbling feeling,” I recall Ted asking, “like you’re falling over your own shadow in the dark or tripping on a small piece of conversation somebody left on the carpet in a corner of the room? That’s what being me is all about.”

Ted may have been a degenerate asshole but he was right, life just won’t sustain such things, isn’t dense enough. They feed you that garbage all around the world, everywhere you go and it doesn’t get any sweeter no matter where you hear it. 

The sex only helped with the physical stuff, and the alcohol was a waste of time because nobody recognised that the pain was there in the first place. You can mend a bird’s broken wing but it sure as hell isn’t going to fly the same again.

A bird can’t fly with a limp and retain its grace, and the spirit of the people won’t be raised by a dictator speechifying with a lisp.

But it’s all way back when in the long gone and misty now. So we lived at night, denizens of the dark; but now we must take notice of the day and it doesn’t come easy. Maybe we just can’t adapt or perhaps it’s just that we won’t. Whatever.

No matter which way you cut it, it seems the past will remain there, right there where it belongs, even though every bone, nerve and thought tells us that it’s been following us right along, that it’s here right now in the present and will be all the way through to whatever future is waiting.

I just sit here and watch their shapes in the shadows. What I can’t see with my eyes I sketch in with my thoughts. Who can help but marvel at the workings of their mechanisms of hope?

Oh to be within touching distance of an understanding of the politics of transfer, to be blessed.

Link Wray: Rumble

This buzz is only for lovers

It’s a high you can’t buy even under the cover

Of  kisses and heartache and a tear in the wings

Of a stage made for two in a theatre of skin

Where the actors are naked

And the audience is blind

To this buzz.

Down there in the big black beyond the turnstiles and the ticket machines and the spies, the grey trains stop and go and stop and go.

Always in endless revolution, they pick up and drop off and pick up or don’t, just like the boys, the endless boys, making it and losing it, with the grime and the pain and the  emptiness and all the money gone, lost or wasted or cheated away.

Picking up and dropping off, picking up and dropping off.  The natural rhythm of the trains. They don’t care, they don’t sing, they don’t see, they are just used by bodies to get from A to B.

Some soft hidden knowledge, some weird sense of a hidden possibility in the dark, a soft sensibility, a possibility of the existence of solace in the act of leaving, someone to kiss you goodbye with the promise of their return, a new beginning in the face of a new arrival. It all seems to exist here but you can’t tell why.

On the street there is no promise. You hit back and you lash out, at a thought or a face or a lie, to humour the beast, all the while knowing that nothing that hits or slashes or harms you in any way will avoid you. For avoidance is not the will of demons.

The concourse is middle ground. The concourse is no man’s land. The concourse is purgatory. Here the stationary expiate their sins while they wait for movement.

Here he finds her.

She’s networking, begging for pills, demanding money with promises, drinking, loving, seeking security, searching for pain like a screamer out for sentiment and babies, as if all those are one and the same.

The gesture that starts from within becomes a look and then a beckoning smile and a head movement that cannot be ignored and then he is there, like a falling angel at the mouth of the subway, swimming in the smell of urine and tobacco.

Panic costs him his breath and he begins to drown in that wonderful redolence of fear and power and expensive leather coats, now safe in the big black half way to Knightsbridge, Earls Court, Fulham, Chelsea…

He asphyxiates in the stink of the sweat and the breath and the alcohol that is the miasma of all the subways of the world, in the fog of which the same events are occurring or are about to occur and will endlessly repeat.

She greets him as if he is an old acquaintance and he invents a name for her out of the air while a man to whom she has been talking shuffles his feet and coughs.

His hands obscure his features from the beam of the overhead cameras and passers by.  He knows the situation isn’t right and he senses his own fear but fails to walk away, just as the boy knows that she isn’t quite right and he also fails, because she fascinates and transfixes him with her swaying rhythmic motion and strange accent, which he thinks may be Greek or Italian but with East London vowel sounds.

And then she’s offering a drink from a bottle of cheap brandy mixed with something sweet and slightly carbonated, but the neck hardly reaches his lips before she snatches it back with terrible laughter and hands too large to be feminine, then it’s in her mouth and a sense of weird sex, devoid of tenderness and existing alone and dangerous for its own sake entrances him and he sees the demon.

For a moment he is repulsed but it draws him back and holds him close and firm and he cannot break away. He grabs the man’s arm and pulls him close, too close, so that their faces almost touch and he can smell the fear on the guy’s breath and the power in his own and in the demon’s voice he’s screaming:


And the man’s coat collar clenched tightly now in both the boy’s hands as he head-butts him once then twice then once again and pulls him by the hair deeper into the subway out of range of the camera with the hair ripping from his scalp and the sound of his own screaming and the man sobbing and choking in panic echoing in his head and the boy head-butts him again and again until there is a sickening crack as the man’s nose bursts and the back of his head hits the wall and a ragged swathe of blood explodes across the white tiles before he slides to the ground with the girl’s big hand and horrible nails tearing the wallet from his coat pocket and the boy finishing him off with a final, fatal kick in the head.

They exchange a glance and leave the subway by the stairs up to the street. At the top of the stairs she links her arm into his and smiles.

He flicks a blur from his eye with his middle finger and a bloody tear dissipates in the night air.

I met Suzanne outside the Hawley Arms in Camden in 1983. She had big sad eyes. I asked her what the problem was. Bridget was embarrassed. I was drunk.

“Why did you leave us?” she asked.

I said, “What do you mean?”

There were tears in her eyes. I lit a cigarette and offered her one.

“I haven’t smoked since Chinatown,” she said. Bridget shuffled her feet.

“Buy me a drink.”

I said, “Do I know you?”

“Two Barley Wines,” she replied, “buy me two Barley Wines and I’ll forgive you.”

“Forgive me for what,” I asked.

“I’ll have that cigarette after all,” she said, taking one from the pack. “Two Barley Wines… one for each of your dead children.”

You know why they call it the American dream? Because you have to be asleep to believe it. Why do you seem not to care? Is it because you’re asleep or because you’re all sheep?

Wake up America and shake off the gangsters who think they own you. You are not Republicans. You are not Democrats. You are not Independents.


Or is it too late already?

Native America

Harmon Percy Marble was an Indian Agent between 1911 and 1926. During this time he made hundreds of images of Navajo, Menominee and Sioux Native Americans. While lacking the artistic sense and quality of the work of some of his better known contemporaries, Marble’s photographs probably provide the most honest and uncontrived portrayal of Native American life available to us.

Founding Fathers


Founding Fathers: Chief Joseph, Sitting Bull, Geronimo, Red Cloud,
George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln.

Amazing space, a raindrop for every tear, an epic queen’s lament (we dare not speak her name): ‘Fear the bandanaed man,’ she cries.

Dragona Hartley’s Rose of Sharon, like a swallow hovering over the city, sweetly but darkly and out of context.

My friend thinks she may be a bat.

She hesitates not, however, to pencil in, like the artist she is, a movement’s exploration through a savannah ruin: a farm, a Spandex hill, the high- lands to the right, the Union delicately defining the horizon…

I am a turtle with a violin, dying, a mouthless man with a trumpet, falling over, as everything falls into place, or space, or doesn’t.

I’m at the bottom of her steps, the restaurant screams and stinks above me, endless labyrinthine corridors around me leading here, there and where…

And a possible opening that declares, in obvious, un-white horror:

‘This Door Is Alarmed!’

I kiss her, softly at first, then, as I sense her soul yielding and her flesh heating, my tongue parts her teeth and devours her palate, with extreme prejudice, and, fearful still, she opens.

Get me?

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