Thursday, 17 June 2010

Destruction | Music | Jared Leto Gets Twatted

So mutters Ed Norton at the close of what is probably late-teen-emo-osophy-fest Fight Club’s most infamous and intellectualised scene, Angel Face Gets Twatted (as one on-the-money Youtube user has christened it). Now, I haven’t sat down and watched Fight Club for quite some time – for reasons that I daresay the above five-part composite noun make pretty clear (goodness’ sake, Fightstar released a track called ‘Palahniuk’s Laughter’: I’m not just being contrary). But I can still appreciate why the glamourised fucking up of a beautiful, semi-feminised male face is kind of interesting, even when it’s accompanied by piss-poor pop-profoundness (“I felt like putting a bullet between the eyes of every panda that wouldn’t screw to save its species. I wanted to open the dump-valves on oil tankers and smother all the French beaches I’d never see.”) This recent piece by the mostly-excellent Penny Red, concerning itself with how often it is violence against women that is used as a shorthand shortcut to stylised edginess and iconoclasm, goes some way to pointing towards why that is. This isn’t bad either.

Not that I can be bothered to hover around questions of postmodernism and masculinity for the next couple hundred words. Rather, I’m much more interested in the following, and probably-no-less-scholarly conundrum that surely dominated director David Fincher’s mindset for at least a couple days: what would be the best/most somehow-gorgeous (gore-geous? Hahahahahahahahaha)/most shiny-stylish/most Fightstar-rad way to go about destroying Jared Leto’s excellent face? It’s a question (or a mild-variation on the question) that resulted in what is, very possibly, American Psycho’s best scene. And it’s a question that inspires today’s exercise in Music As Reading: think of some poems built out of an elegant symmetry, a versatile but unambiguous handsomeness to compare with that exhaled by the American Beauty of Jared Leto’s features. Then think of some music to destroy them. And juxtapose the two, as painfully as possible. Music As The Death Of Reading – I daresay it’s an idea that’s been floated before, probably in the Mail On Sunday or summat…

Oh, and I’m not just talking about Huey Lewis and the News… In 87, Huey released this, Fore, their most accomplished album. I think their undisputed masterpiece is ‘Hip to be Square’, a song so catchy most people probably don’t listen to the lyrics. But they should, because it’s not just about the pleasures of conformity, and the importance of trends, it’s also a personal statement about the band itself. Hey Paul! TRY GETTING A RESERVATION AS DORSIA NOW YOU FUCKING STUPID BASTARD! YOU! FUCKING! BASTARD!

Byron + Mayhem

Byron and Leto, or more specifically Byron’s verse and Leto’s face – it’s not too big a leap to make. Only, Leto’s face is, I think, a little simplistic, a little pretty-pretty, not enough sardonically lined with experience to group with George Gordon’s monster poems – we need a little briskly-metred lyric, I think. With just a bit of an edge, befitting Leto’s vaguely greebo credentials…

So, we’ll go no more a roving
So late into the night,
Though the heart be still as loving,
And the moon be still as bright.

For the sword outwears its sheath,
And the soul wears out the breast,
And the heart must pause to breathe,
And love itself have rest.

Though the night was made for loving,
And the day returns to soon,
Yet we’ll go no more a roving
By the light of the moon.


HEY PAUL! Destroy with the help of Mayhem (the Norwegian black metal band what ate a stew brewed from their singer’s brain – that’s the singer who used to bury his clothes for weeks before wearing them, incidentally) and their masterpiece, ‘Rape Humanity With Pride.’ This one speaks for itself.

Hopkins + Burzum

Like Jared Leto’s features, Hopkins’ sonnets, particularly this one, combine extraordinarily perfect shape-symmetry with ‘outrides’ (Hopkins’ coinage), extra bits, distributed carefully to form uncannily beautiful patternings – just look at Leto’s fringe, his slightly too-round nose.

The Windhover, to Christ Our Lord

I caught this morning morning's minion, king-
      dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
      Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,
      As a skate's heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding
      Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird, – the achieve of, the mastery of the thing. 

Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
      Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!
      No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
      Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermilion.


HEY PAUL! Gerard Manley Hopkins bloody loved God and churches and so on – Varg Vikernes, the man behind one-man-band Burzum, burnt down several historically important Norwegian churches before murdering the Mayhem guitarist what made the aforementioned brain stew, ‘Euronymous’. Destroy this most exquisite of poems (barring that horrible ‘Stirred for a bird’ line) then, with the help of the just-under-ten-minutes-long ‘Snu Mikrokosmos Tegn’, a track no doubt constructed to headphone-accompany acts of ecclesiastical arson.

Isaac Rosenberg + David Banner

Look at that horrible t-shirt Leto’s wearing. And that Rooney-like rosary. And yet, with that Leto-face, that gaze, both become oddly beautiful, hypnotic. Isaac Rosenberg, to my mind the greatest of all the WW1 poets, achieved the same effect with a conflict that killed over 16 million people.

Break of Day in the Trenches

The darkness crumbles away 
It is the same old druid Time as ever, 
Only a live thing leaps my hand, 
A queer sardonic rat, 
As I pull the parapet's poppy
To stick behind my ear. 
Droll rat, they would shoot you if they knew 
Your cosmopolitan sympathies, 
Now you have touched this English hand 
You will do the same to a German
Soon, no doubt, if it be your pleasure 
To cross the sleeping green between. 
It seems you inwardly grin as you pass 
Strong eyes, fine limbs, haughty athletes, 
Less chanced than you for life,
Bonds to the whims of murder, 
Sprawled in the bowels of the earth, 
The torn fields of France. 
What do you see in our eyes 
At the shrieking iron and flame
Hurled through still heavens? 
What quaver -what heart aghast? 
Poppies whose roots are in men's veins 
Drop, and are ever dropping; 
But mine in my ear is safe,
Just a little white with the dust. 


HEY PAUL! In David Banner’s ‘Play’, Isaac, lies a contemporary realisation of the freedoms you and young men the world over died for. All together now, Finger fuck your pussy like you want some, girl / Work it like a nigga straight licking on your pearl / I wanna see you cum in the middle of the dance floor / A nigga can't fuck, what you think your finger made for / I'ma beat that pussy up / You get it wet enough, I might lick it up / Lickey, lickey, lickey, like a peppermint swirl Lick that clit / Cum girl / Uh, I wanna see your legs shake. This may very well be the single most depressing and destructive juxtaposition of all time.

And now it’s your turn. Juxtapose the most perfect, beautiful fragment of writing you can find with some nasty tunez and see what happens. A spot of filthy, filthy dubstep (possibly Bratkilla…) or some Lightning Bolt or Oxes may very well do the trick (Lightning Bolt and Oxes are both mega incidentally – just not, I suspect, for poetry). For one week only, let’s incinerate some fucken churches.

(To access a Spotify essay-soundtrack-playlist to accompany the above, click here)

Sam Kinchin-Smith
Music Editor

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