Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Marianne Faithful, Broken English and Stream of Conciousnes

I’m listening to music on the radio in the car and something (I can’t now remember what the song may have been as once the stream of consciousness started, I only really remember where I ended up and where that led ) made me think of Marianne Faithful. Then, as noted above, I was off and running. I started thinking about one of my favorite albums of hers: Broken English. Marianne had been a ‘folksinger’ in the sixties, with a birdlike, sweet voice. She famously became involved with both Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones and spent the seventies nearly destroying her life (she attempted suicide) and ended up living with a serious heroin addiction on the streets of London. No career, no life and not much hope of having either. But then she pulled herself out of it and recorded Broken English in 1979. By then, the smoking, drugs and alcohol had turned that sweet bird-like voice into something much different: Rough, low and perfectly suited to the material on Broken English. I love the title track, but the real punch to the gut comes with Why’d Ya Do It. You just have to hear it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mvAMEaWgTQ Also on the album is The Ballad of Lucy Jordan, written by Shel Silverstein. Thinking about that song (yes, the stream of consciousness is running) I remembered a 1981 film titled Montenegro which features the song (it was also featured in Thelma and Louise). Montenegro stars Susan Anspach as a ‘housewife’ living in Sweden with her husband and family. While outwardly ‘calm and serene’ she is actually a little crazy. Anyway, she ends up with a bunch of expatriate eastern Europeans in an enclave with a bar named the Zanzibar. I love the film; it is bizarre and very funny. One scene I particularly remember involves a fight between two of the slav brothers. One brother ends up with a an axe buried in the middle of his forehead. Not dead, Alex (the defacto leader of the expats and soon to be Anspach’s lover) takes the axe-headed brother to the hospital. The brother is in the front seat between Alex and Anspach with the axe sticking out of his forehead. Everyone is quite calm as if this happens everyday. It is that kind of picture. The stream finally led me to Irina Palm, a 2007 film starring Marianne as a fifty year old woman need to make money for her grandsons medical treatment. There is not a lot of work out there for fifty year old women, particularly those with few or no job skills or history. Marianne sees a sign advertising for a ‘hostess’. She inquires about the job but soon learns that ‘hostess’ is a euphemism for ‘sex worker’. But needing the money she takes the job and is quite successful. She takes on the name Irina Palm, which as you might guess suggests what her particular talent is.

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