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21st Century Dublin Girl

Re: My Tattoo.

Re: My Tattoo.

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Scott Walker.
Ok, I said yesterday I wanted to explain my tattoo and so Ive decided to finally do that. I have a tattoo on my left shoulder of lyrics by Scott Walker (my icon here). Theyre from "Farmer in the City". I would link you to it, but German internet says that the song isnt available in this country on youtube thanks to Sony or whatever it is. So if you want to hear it (and I recommend it), youll have to look it up yourself.

But anyway, to the reasoning behind it all:

The song, is dedicated to Pasolini, the Italian film director, who was murdered in the late 1930s. He was gay and he was a communist at a time when Fascism was on the rise.
My interpretation of these words has always been that when Scott says "citizen", he means being a part of society and the things you do, without realising it, to fit into this society and its demands. It is only when you decided to stop being a citizen and break away from this, and to assert your own individuality, that you realise the power and pressure society has put you under.

I think this has huge meaning, in reference to Scott's own life. Scott started out as the lead singer with The Walker Brothers and they, for a couple of years, were as famous as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. They were almost like the first boyband. They had ridiculously hysterical fans and he had no privacy, no life of his own. Security was terrible in those days, so on stage, Scott would be besieged by fans and was often actually injured, they then also figured out where he lived and stalked him there as well. He was also being made to be part of a pop machine he didnt want to be part of. The other two in the group were happy to sing ballads and play shows, whereas Scott was already writing his own slightly off-kilter songs, so far ahead of his time. But he was forced to stay in this tiny category. It got so bad, that it culminated in Scott making a series of suicide attempts in quick succession.

Then there were a few wonderful years, where he broke up The Walker Brothers and in his own words "let my imagination soar". He wrote exactly the music he wanted and produced four incredible albums. Scott has the greatest singing voice on earth, its unbelievable, not even just technically speaking but also its sincerity and ability to touch and communicate. Hes very much influenced by classical music and commands whole orchestras to express his work. Then the albums didnt sell- he had no money, he was forced under a contract to sing only songs by other people. He didnt write any more of his own music. The albums were terrible. He started to drink far too much.
In the 80s, it finally came together. Scott, under new management, was able to start writing music again and since then he was written some of the most incredible, unique music you will ever hear. Avant-garde is too lazy a way of describing it but I dont know what else to say. Again, he still uses strings and woodwind but he also uses anything he thinks will convey the sound of what he wants, even if that instrument turns out to be punching a piece of meat rhythmically (seriously, it works.) He still sings over the songs too and his lyrics are fragments of things, inpenetrable but arresting. He is now following his own vision, creating the only exactly the music he wants to create. And it is absolutely stunning to hear.
The pressure of being a "citizen" wasted Scotts talents and almost cost him his life. And when he tried to break away from it, he was pulled back again and manipulated by the music industry.

I have the tattoo because I feel I can in some minor way identify with this. I was bullied at school and Im still recovering from an eating problem I developed at 15. I didnt fit in, as I was interested in knowledge and strange music and writing. So, the other kids kept me out of their circle. I felt I wasnt beautiful, again, according to the norm, so I starved myself to fit in.
Once I removed myself from these pressures (which Ive probably only succeeded in doing in the past few years), I was able to see what unneccessary pressure I was putting myself under. I am fine the way I am. I know never to let something like that compromise my beliefs or my life. I know how unhappy, how deeply unhappy it would make me and how it would also dilute whatever minor talent I may have to offer the world. I have the tattoo as a reminder of where Ive come from and to never go back to that again. Thats the inspiration and the connection I feel in Scotts music, in his lyrics.
  • Chloe, this was wonderful! I totally get what you mean now. It's beautiful. As are you.

    One thing that is amazing about Scott's lyrics is that - I think you also mentioned something like this in your previous comment - they have such a strong vibe about them that is very closely intertwined to the sound of the songs, so a lot of the times I couldn't even quote his lyrics but still I could tell exactly what they're about. If that makes any sense? I love the imagery in the songs, it's so strong, the way he writes.

    Apart from Suede, Scott is the only one I've been listening to all the time in the past 10+ years, and am pretty sure I'll never stop listening to. Even when I'm not listening to the music - again, if that makes any sense: I just feel like the music is somewhere so deep inside me it's never going to leave. So, if I ever get more tattoos, I'm thinking Scott is very high on my list.
    • Thank you for this touching comment.

      I know exactly what you mean about Scott and the affect of his music. Scott is the singer I listen to and never stop listening to. I actually often take his music around with me on a discman and I find different settings to listent to his work in, as I find it actually changes the impact!! How mad is that? And I too feel that his music is always there somewhere inside me. I may admire other bands but Scott is the only singer who is actually a part of my daily life, my mind and indeed my heart. And I think a tattoo was the only way I knew to express that absolute affinity that I feel with the man.
  • (no subject) - space_dementia6
    • Thank you so much. Thats the feeling I have too, that this wont wear out. I feel like this is something thatll determine my life really.
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