The Eye of the Fish

Maximus
February 14, 2009

Little Fishes swim upstream

When I was younger, I sometimes thought it would be good to be a black woman, so that I could qualify as a backing singer for Talking Heads: they always seemed to have the best dancers / singers / ass-shakers in the business, and they could get so close to the Master Byrne himself. Perhaps that’s just me. I never viewed it as a comment on society that perhaps they were pigeon-holed into that role: I was just jealous that they had what I thought was the best job in the world.

That may come as some surprise to those who know me now, given that I still can’t sing, still can’t dance, and I’m still not a black woman. 

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Certainly David Byrne now has a fine array of fresh and funky young folk, black and white, to play music, sing to it, and dance all over the stage to it. What were their names? Natalie? and Stephen? and who else? Black, white, male or female – they were all damn hot. And it shows how much wider all our job roles are nowadays.

Perhaps I can now have my dream come true. Damn, no, of course not – I still can’t dance – have you ever seen a Fish dance? But at least I can swim to the front of the crowd and enjoy the mosh pit.

Having just come back from the concert, it seems only appropriate to blog about it on a Wellington architectural / urban blog: seeing as he always had an inkling to be an architect, and seeing as most of Wellington’s architectural community were there – a Herriot, a Melhuish, a Minty, even A Cox or two, and many many more architects besides.

You’re a pretty pakeha crowd as well, admit it, and upwardly mobile: I’ve never seen so many iPhones in one place except inside an Apple Store. Although that’s alright, seeing as the band all dressed like Generation 1 iPods, and the gig was all played off what looked like a 15inch MacBook – Byrne’s been an Apple fanboy for years, probably before I was even born. But dammit, Byrne’s lyrics are still all so architectural – who else writes songs about Walking in Line, Standing on Stairs, or Burning down the House?

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Certainly, it all seems so applicable now as the 80s roll around again in the form of a wave of oncoming redundancies – the Same as it Ever Was… some things happen more than Once in a Lifetime. Evidently some of you still remember the days of More Songs about Buildings and Food as you all started tapping your heels to that, but really got up rocking to Stop Making Sense’s “Take me to the River” (did you know that was originally a Grateful Dead Al Green song? I didn’t. Just found that out. The wonders of the googlewebstarkive, our resident pedant…;-). 

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Personally, I liked this gem from Everything that Happens:

From the milk of human kindness

From the breast we all partake

Hungry for a social contract

She welcomes you with dark embrace

(puts) socks and shoes

Upon our feet

Little fishes swim upstream

Oh my brother, I still wonder, are you alright?

In the deepest silence,

gold and diamonds,

all through the night

Everything that happens will happen today

nothing has changed, but nothing’s the same

and ev’ry tomorrow could be yesterday

and ev’rything that happens will happen today

Which is from Byrne and Eno’s latest album.

And I loved watching you, the audience, slowly and eventually really get into it in that reticently kiwi fashion – just 3 daring young 20 something year olds boogying at first in the empty pit up the front, with the rest of the crowd looking on, seated next to them, arms defiantly folded (stop having fun! stop dancing! I paid money for this seat and so I’m going to sit!), until enough girlfriends and wives egg on enough of their men to let them get up and start having fun. By the end of the night all 2000 of us were up and dancing – why don’t we start that whole process earlier so we can enjoy the night more? Perhaps it’s no wonder that some bands have twenty years between gigs in Wellington.

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In the mean time, we’ll tell you what we would like too – we know that lots of the architects in town read this blog, because the computer stats tell us, and perhaps in the future if you’re all laid off you’ll have more time to do so, but in the mean time: do feel free to comment online. Its your blog as much as ours. No point being silent.

We’ll still blog about buildings, and architecture, and urban matters, but if there are fewer buildings going up, or down, we’ll perhaps prattle away about other matters. Suggestions always welcome. Just post them online. Or click on Contact. Philip’s got the key to the box. I’m sure he’ll reappear some day. The Fish is holding the fort till then.

But it’s Valentines Day today, and much as we know you love Architecture, I’m sure there is someone else you love even more.

If you’re an architect with a big ego, that may just be yourself.

If you’re someone else, I’m sure you’ll love one another.

If it’s you, then: Happy Valentine’s Day.

Love, the Fish.

Robyn
14 - 02 - 09

Happy Valentine’s Day, te Fush.

Maximus
14 - 02 - 09

Gee thanks Robyn.

starkive
15 - 02 - 09

At the risk of coming over as the resident pedant… can I point out that Take Me To the River comes straight from the genius of the fundamentalist fun-cravers, the Rev. Al Green. “It’s you that I want, but it’s Him that I need”

Maximus
15 - 02 - 09

I’ve always wanted this column to have a resident pedant, so, thank you, yes Starkive, you can indeed have that role. And you are, of course, absolutely right. Which makes a lot more sense! Christianity would be a lot more fun if big Al was taking the service…

“Take Me To The River
Lyrics: Al Green, Mabon Hodges
Music: Al Green, Mabon Hodges
Notes: This was originally written and recorded by Al Green, though it is perhaps better known from the subsequent recording by Talking Heads. Played by Bob Weir with Ratdog throughout the 1990s, and briefly with the Grateful Dead in 1995.”

My only defense: it was very late at night by the time i finished that blog!

PS: How’s that building site going next to you? Bit noisy down there?

Robyn
15 - 02 - 09

I love with Talking Heads did with their version of the song. They made that river nice and dirty.

Maximus
15 - 02 - 09

speaking of Drop me in the Water, i must say I like your line:

“A man wearing only shoes, socks and an Afro wig, who’d just jumped into the harbour. Something about the water being quite cold.”

tres droll

Maximus
4 - 01 - 10

I've always wanted this column to have a resident pedant, so, thank you, yes Starkive, you can indeed have that role. And you are, of course, absolutely right. Which makes a lot more sense! Christianity would be a lot more fun if big Al was taking the service…

“Take Me To The River
Lyrics: Al Green, Mabon Hodges
Music: Al Green, Mabon Hodges
Notes: This was originally written and recorded by Al Green, though it is perhaps better known from the subsequent recording by Talking Heads. Played by Bob Weir with Ratdog throughout the 1990s, and briefly with the Grateful Dead in 1995.”

My only defense: it was very late at night by the time i finished that blog!

PS: How's that building site going next to you? Bit noisy down there?