01 November 2007

8+

“Bela Lugosi's Dead” by Bauhaus which clocks in at 9:39

Halloween is over, Bela Lugosi is dead, Europe is on the horizon.

The one question I've gotten, more than any other, in regards to EAR FARM's Halloween mix has been "where's the Bauhaus? no 'Bela Lugosi's Dead', wtf?" - yeah, as if everything on EAR FARM doesn't happen according to a well thought out plan. As if I just simply overlooked one of my favorite long songs ever written. Dudes, I've been planning to unveil this song on the day after Halloween for a long time. The whole Bela being dead, "bats have left the bell tower", thing fits too perfectly with coming directly after Halloween that, I just couldn't resist. So slow down with the complaint emails, it's all happening according to the plan. Not just the posting, but also my life. That's right, it's bigger than you thought. Plans abound. Here a plan, there a plan, everywhere a plan plan. Plan, everybody plan plan you can do the plan plan, planny planny plan.

(Stop it. Now you're just being stupid. The word 'plan' looks all weird now. Way to ruin it. 'Plan' (and the act of planning) is essential to this post, and now you've made it all weird looking. Like that time you said 'cow' over and over a hundred times (or more) in the car just to see if you could make the word sound completely ridiculous. You'd just discovered the potential to take any standard, boring, word and twist and turn it into something entirely different. It worked. 'Cow' started to sound like 'cowl', and then like some Chinese word, and then like a sound that cats make when they mate. Then mom yelled at you and made you stop "acting like an idiot". Even now, the word 'cow' seems as if it's alive and totally malleable. You own it, in a sense, from saying it aloud so many times in a row. Not part of any plan, but 'cow' is yours now. Wait - more on plans in a moment - first, let's get out of this parenthetical inner monologue and into a story relevant to this song.)

The year was 1992, the summer of 1992. I had just finished my sophomore year of high school and was riding high on a serious love for all things British, and all things French. The Francophilia was more private. I adored my growing grasp of the language, wanted to move to France some day, and longed to find myself a French girl to date and/or marry. My Anglophilia was right out in the open. I obsessed over British history, music, comedy, films - my own heritage - everything. It emanated from me and was reflected in my choice of appearance and the art I consumed. But somehow, I didn't know who Bauhaus was. Yet.

So anyway, there I was, an impressionable young teen thirsty for Europe. I was fresh out of taking part in a new method of educating at my school called Paideia. The class basically combined our European history class with our literature class so that each was hitting on topics and readings relevant to what the other was talking about. You know, we would read the Canterbury Tales as we learned about The Hundred Years' War. Jean-Jacques Rousseau as we covered the French Revolution. It was pretty fantastic, thinking back, and I loved both of the teachers. Naturally, I jumped at the opportunity to go with them and nine other classmates to London, Paris, and Rome during the summer immediately following my completion of this class.

The trip turned out to be everything I could've ever imagined. It was spectacular, and seeing those three cities (at that perfect age) changed my life. I could regale you with tales from this trip for hours, but I won't. Not now at least. One story from the trip is very much destined to appear in 8+ land in the future, but you'll have to wait. For now, I simply mean to tell you that this trip was when I was first introduced to Bauhaus by way of the song “Bela Lugosi's Dead”.

While in London, one of my travel partners announced to me that she needed to pickup the CD single for “Bela Lugosi's Dead” because one couldn't get it in the US. I had no clue what she was talking about really, but a true love for all things vampiric meant that I'd long known who Bela Lugosi was. Heck, I'd dressed up as his version of Dracula something like four years in a row for Halloween as a kid. Needless to say, I was in. Off to the record store we headed.

Once we arrived, she quickly found and purchased their only two copies of this "Bela Lugosi's Dead” CD single. One for her, one for me. She promised I would like it. Later that night I listened to the song over and over and over again and discovered that she was right - I loved it. The song became part of me, as it had for so many others before me, and so many since. Something about the way Bauhaus mixed krautrock with dub and The Doors resonated profoundly with me and I became an immediate fan of the band.

But beyond Bauhaus, and as I already said, the entire trip truly resonated profoundly with me. It opened my eyes to the rest of the world and I've traveled to many other cities, countries, and continents ever since. And though it's been seven long years since I was last in Europe, I've been itching to get back.

(If you're keeping track, this is where we return to talking about plans.)

The plan. It is time for a vacation. A real one, which I haven't had in far too long. Where to? Can you guess?? That's right, I'm going to Europe - leaving tomorrow. It's only taken me 900 words to finally get it out, but there you have it. I'll be off to Amsterdam, Paris, and Barcelona for twelve days starting tomorrow. And I can't promise how much of me you'll see here on EAR FARM during that time. Some, to be sure, but the farming of ears isn't going to be my main priority whilst away. Instead, I leave you (and EAR FARM) in the capable hands of EF Mike. I'm sure he'll cook up a post or two worth your time, so enjoy his writing while I'm away and I'll see you back here full-time again in two weeks.

*above image found HERE

Buy Bauhaus Singles: 1979-1983, Volume 1 on Amazon/on iTunes.

EAR FARM's 8+ is a weekly feature that showcases songs longer than 8 minutes. In the recent past these songs were featured on EF's 8+:
Morrissey - "Moon River"
Miles Davis - "So What”
Tori Amos - "Yes, Anastasia"
Boduf Songs - “Bell for Harness”
8 Bold Souls - "Odyssey"
Artanker Convoy - "Open Up"
Dan Deacon - "Wham City"
Clan of Xymox - "A Day (Remix)"

To see a full list of every song featured in EAR FARM's 8+ click HERE.

5 comments:

Taylor said...

Have a great time! You'll be missed.

george said...

I think these guys are the gothic bomb and I hope you have a crazy good time in Europe.

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