Thursday, 10 November 2011

Dat Way him naw go plop plop - Rediscovering Grace Jones aka being distracted from work

Ok one of the advantages of working from home (amongst many including slopping around in jammies and raiding the pantry every 5 secs) is that while I type away robotically responding to endless email queries and "isewes", I can soundtrack this mindless tedium with a selection from the mouldy and mothridden recesses of our record collection.

As I type this, the gruff booming tones of one Grace Jones is blaring out of the speakers at me. Our musical accompaniement today is supplied by Grace Jones' "Living my life".

What would Grace Jones be without Sly Dunbar and that Armani Jacket!! There was a whole teenage era when hordes of bespectacled schoolboys harried their local "Supercuts" with shrill requests to look like Ms Jones, in an effort to surreptitiously flout the short back and sides hairstyle rules by piling everything up top and giving it one fell swoop with a chainsaw to emulate the hirsute representation of the geographical feature known as a plateau! And in the 80s, you made your money in hair gel ... nuff said!

I say hordes of schoolboys, but frankly speaking it was really only schoolboys of a certain inclination ... i.e. the entire flute section of the school band ... and the odd percussionist at the back.

Anyhoos, Living my Life, perhaps not as well known as Nighclubbing, is still a fantastic album with some banging tracks, least of all is "My Jamaican Guy". The production values are suberb. Sly Dunbar really knew how to work the spaces in between their dub and dancehall riffs. And Grace isn't just a pretty face .. no really! She wrote quite a lot of her own material. And there are very few singers who have a sound and a voice distinctively their own. It wasn't the autotuned hell we now consider pop music these days.

And although the album in many ways is a lovesong to her spiritual home, New York, some of its social concerns are both topical and relevant to our country today. Just listen to "Cry now Laugh Later" (my fav track here):

"I don't know why I'm laughing
Immigration breathing down my back
Ain't got no money for a pay off
Stay in jail until they send me back
I don't know why I'm laughing
I'm still hurting from the pain
A foreigner in this hell hole
He ain't never gonna touch me again"

Finger on the pulse peops ... finger on the pulse.

*Commercial Manager: "get back to work Temasek!*

PS - another thing to add to the list to advantages working from home - updating your blog!


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