Girls talk

In a previous column I wrote about Elvis Costello’s very interesting show on Sundance, Spectacle with Elvis Costello. Talk, music, and special guests, the show offers much for many. I remember the first time I heard about Elvis Costello. It was in an X-Men comic when the Beast visited an old ex from his college days. She had gone “new wave” and mentioned Elvis Costello. The next time was when Rykodisc released The Very Best of Elvis Costello and the Attractions collection in 1994. I had been working at Wherehouse records for a few months by that point and I remember my manager looking for something play in the store. I suggested the Elvis. I heard it and while I cannot remember the actual timeline, I fell in love with the music (and with the concept of Jenny Brenner’s daughter, a customer who was replacing her tapes one by one on CD—I met her once but she had great taste) and would go on to own all the Elvis CDs on Rykodisc.

I Can't Stand Up (For Falling Down)

I Can't Stand Up (For Falling Down)

Watching the show has led me to listening to the Elvis catalog for the first time in years. Get Happy is a particular favorite and I dinked around YouTube the other evening finding some of the obscure-ish videos from that period. “New Amsterdam” — “Possession” — “Love For Tender” — “I Can’t Stand Up (For Falling Down)” — “High Fidelity,” all great favorites from the disc. In my journey back when I was young I tracked down the 7” for “I Can’t Stand Up (For Falling Down)” and the B-side, which always warms my heart, “Girls Talk.” My YouTube trip started with Elvis, then I started thinking about Nick Lowe. I watched a few videos from the Live Stiff Tour, then I started thinking about Rockpile, so I watched some clips from Rockpalast and other gigs. Rockpile got me thinking about Dave Edmunds and so I watched his version of the song “Girls Talk.” Costello wrote the song, gave it to Edmunds (the story goes) who released his version the year before it appeared on the 7”. Somewhere in there, Linda Rondstadt also recorded and released the song. I enjoyed the journey, linear though it may have been, but as I relistened to the song it really got me thinking. One line in particular:

“I’ve got a loaded imagination being fired by girls talk.”

My God.
Oh I want to hear girls talk
That line.
Oh I want to hear girls talk
Sums up everything.

What do we want when we listen to music? For years, YEARS, I just wanted to hear girls talk. I bought records based on what girls in the store would buy just in case, in the off chance that I summoned up any guts, any gumption, that if they entered my apartment we would have something more to find common ground on. Music is molecular, and it is about a series of moments, of associations you are changed when you first hear a song, one that really touches you, seeps into your brain and your DNA. You are never the same and yet you are chasing that feeling from that point onwards. It is about the moment, that initial rush. Like the first buzz you get from your first cigarette, the feeling of the first kiss, the first lay, the first drink. It is the feeling that you have once that disappears, only to remain in your brain for the rest of your days. These are the things that haunt you, the way a great line in a great song can do. It can haunt you because it is so true; it is so pure and so insightful. Maybe not to everyone, but to you. You can have many ladies in your life, but that feeling of that purity, that innocence, that wonder is gone and you yearn for it. Those feelings, that thrill. It never really goes away, but it really never comes back. . . Oh I want to hear girls talk.

2 Responses to “Girls talk”
  1. Mike V says:

    Apologies for a few sloppy bits…

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  1. […] allowed me to revisit items I haven’t heard in some time. I think my favorite column is probably “Girls talk.” There is something in there, something I think I could expand outwards, something about that topic […]

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