23 May 2010

Lily Allen wins prizes

I'm not surprised. Well, yes, in a way I am. Usually I like things that are not popular. I liked Star Trek back when SF was considered weird and not something that anyone would admit to. Robert Bloch, at an SF convention, remarked that fans had to hide their sf inside porn magazines to avoid being noticed. We laughed, but we knew what he meant.

(Now that I think of it, that convention had a theme song that was played whenever we were waiting for panels and things to start, "They're coming to take me away," although I think that was really an expression of the harassed feelings of the con organizers rather than a comment on fandom generally.)

I liked the TV series Moonlighting, because it broke the fourth wall, as Wikipedia puts it, which is to say that the characters addressed the camera, and were aware of the audience, thus playing with that suspension of disbelief that is the cornerstone of drama. It was fun, the way the Threepenny Opera (where the song, "Mack The Knife" comes from) is fun when the characters announce the Deus ex Machina that is going to come and save their protagonist. While I liked Moonlighting for its fun, I was given to understand that sensible people preferred Remington Steele, which I didn't dislike and therefore could not argue about.

Back to Lily Allen, though. When she sang "The Fear" in a little studio for TV, and the words were so clear, it just stunned my socks off. Maybe the song is about her own feelings, or about the angst of the 21st century, it's  hard to tell. Perhaps it's both.

"22" is pretty grim as well. What are we to make of a song that tells us that at nearly thirty a young woman's life is already over? She hasn't got a guy, and her work is OK but not a career. It looks like the chances of anything great happening for her are gone. Depressing.

So I like Lily Allen's songs, but it's weird to find that other people also like them. It's a bit like when I liked Buffy, and it was very popular at the same time. It's like some law of physics is getting broken and a fine will have to be paid somewhere.

Here's a link to the usual music clip of "The Fear" - I couldn't find the one I like on Youtube.
Here's Louis Armstrong with Mack the Knife - there's about a million covers of this song, but I like Louis Armstrong.
Here's Lily Allen's "22", in case you're not sick of seeing it at the gym everyday.

Oh, and the prizes Allen won are Ivor Novello prizes for songwriting.

Morva Shepley

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