Thursday, 22 July 2010

Sex | Music | Elephant makes love to Janine off-of EastEnders

I have a memory that I literally can’t account for, beyond the reasonable assumption that, knowing this took place when I was eleven or twelve years old, even the most innocuous sniff of something sexy on the telly was always going to lodge itself in the long-game of my recollection. (Even if that sniff of something sexy involved Janine from ’Enders’ awful pale-piggy-moonface and Mike ‘everybody’s favourite homophobic racist’ Reid. In hindsight, brrrrrrrrrr.)

The scene is the soon-to-be (maybe already?) no more Queen Vic. Fraaaaaaank’s behind the bar, at the peak of his powers (‘Only a kiss!? You nearly swallowed ’im ’ole’). Terrible, awful Janine drags Jamie (remember, the boy what looked like a girl – like Hannah from S Club 7 but in reverse) upstairs and into her sty. ‘I told you, downstairs was just a taster.’ ‘Look, Janine, what about your dad?’ ‘Look, chill out, he won’t disturb us. You want to dontcha?’ ‘Yeah…yeah…?’ ‘Have you done it before? It’s alright, I have, LOADS OF TIMES…’

Unbelievably, I’ve found the clip on YouTube – the above wasn’t all from memory, obvs. In fact, I could have only really sketched out the framing if it wasn’t for the apparently exhaustive ’Enders YouTube channel. No, this bizarre memory is all about one particular detail – the context less important than it is JUST FUCKING BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN.

Detail’s this – and on second thoughts, perhaps it’s also embedded in my memorybanks because, even at the age of twelve, I could recognise the magnificent crassness of the thing.

Janine: ‘I like doing it to music, don’t you?’
Jamie: ‘What?’
Background: it’s only Another GODDAM Level man, ‘Let’s get legitimate and concentrate on us / So when we’re intimate our love is based on trust / Love is so good when there is two / People involved just me and you / Cause the thought of you with someone else / Just makes me crazy, baby’ ALL TOGETHER NOW ‘I want you for myself, I don’t want nobody else. To try to intervene or come between you and me. Cause we got a good thing, yeah…’

Janine off-of ’Enders ‘likes doing it to music.’ Don’t we all? Not to put too fine a point on it – I mean, you’d have to be a fairly ridiculous person to actually copy the whole Janine thang and design a sexual encounter around an (admittedly achingly romantic) song. But most people have surely – be it for reasons of, I don’t know, noise sensitivity or merely the whims of an iTunes shuffle – done stuff with music on in the background and at some point during the stuff thought to him or herself, goodness, this is an excellent song, I really like this song and I also like what’s happening and the combination of the song and what’s happening is a good combination that I like and this is kind of great and afterwards, maybe a couple days later, remembered the combination and said to him or herself, Janine-like, I like doing it to music.

Some music.

Which begs the question, what songs are good songs for such good combinations? This question is, inevitably, an incredibly personal one – revealing too, I never looked at the girl who explained that her favourite such combination involved the demented fairground stomp of Nick Cave’s cover of ‘Sleeping Annaleah’ in the same way again (reader, I married her!). Too personal, revealing, idiosyncratic to catalyse a bloggable general rule, then – better, as ever, turn to South Park I suppose. (But not before acknowledging that I’ve personally had great results with Richard Strauss’ ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra’ and Peaches’ ‘Fuck the Pain Away.’)

Specifically an episode from, I guess, a similar era to Dogface’s seduction of Jamie, ‘Elephant Makes Love To A Pig’ – in which Chef, in headier days long before the whole Scientology debacle, explains the following (taken direct from the script, available here – for the song itself, turn to this week’s essay-soundtrack-playlist):

Ohh, children, you just can’t stick a drunk pig with a drunk elephant, and, and, expect them to do the mattress mambo. You need to set the mood. [moves over to a boombox with a mike attached] Let me show you boys what I'm talking about.

Tonight is a-right for love,
you know I -- want tuh touch you where the lights don’t go.
Tonight is a-right for love, love gravay.
Expressing love so sweet.
I want tuh -- keep you burnin’ like a dog in heat.
Tonight is a-right for love, love graaavaaay.

[The elephant and pig approach each other. Fluffy smiles at the elephant, then turns around in order to receive him]

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Elton John!

[Enter Elton John. Intermingled shots of Fluffy and elephant getting interested.]

Long and short of it, where sex is concerned, music can bloody achieve things. This being Music As Reading though, we can’t just leave it at an acceptance of that: we have to ask, can literature, reading do the same?

Jon Ware says no. The Bad Sex Awards say no. George Bataille says yes, but George Bataille is, essentially, on a level with Another Level where this subject is concerned –  ‘Guffaws emerged like foolish and involuntary hiccups but scarcely managed to interrupt a brutal onslaught on cunts and cocks’ one, lovely unexpected combinations nil. The case of a former Warwick University Students’ Union President (name no cough JOE KIRBY cough) who attempted, once upon a time, to introduce select passages of Shakespeare into his love-play says no.

So what are we left with? An elephant making love to a pig. Jamie Mitchell attempting to make love to a pig. For that reason and that reason alone, the following are the most erotic novels ever written. Trust.

Animal Farm – George Orwell
Lord of the Flies – William Golding
P. G. Wodehouse’s Blandings Castle stories
A. A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh stories
AND Babe: the Gallant Pig – Dick King Smith

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

Sam Kinchin-Smith
Music Editor

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