tremble clef

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

David Sylvian and Riuichi Sakamato, "Forbidden Colours" (1983)

I'm not an especially charitable person. I will cut you for the last piece of chocolate, and I won't share my cake. Like George Costanza, I feel that "women and children first" is something of an antiquated notion; it should be every man, woman, child and invalid for themselves. If I could, I would rob the poor to pay myself.

And I've tried. It's the late 80s, I'm in what we here call junior college (you might call it eleventh grade), and our class has to participate in the school funfair. The plan is to yank gullible parents, friends, and random passers-by onto the school grounds, where they would have to enjoy themselves, if it kills them, by forking over their hard-earned money in the name of fun. That money would end up going to designated charities, which, I forget, may or may not have included the school's coffers. We are told by some central organizing committee that some classes will set up food stalls, and some will do game stalls. We get the latter. They even tell us what our game should be, though not much detail about how to set it up. It's a hot mess.

Several weeks of blind stumbling around later, our class is hurdled around our constructed stall. At least we have a jaunty sign. It says, if memory serves, "Coconut-A-Go-Go." Here's the game: people have to hurl something at something else, and if something happens when they do so, then they win, something. And by that last "something," I mean "mostly crap that each of us brought from home in the hope that it will strike someone, who thinks that hurling coconuts is fun in the first place, as a desireable prize."

But a classmate didn't get that memo. He shows up with some records he no longer wants, and donates them to the prize table.

Ooh, meaningful homoerotic glances!He brings, for one thing, the 12" of Riuichi Sakamato and David Sylvian's "Forbidden Colours." He is certifiably mad. The song is, of course, utterly beautiful, able to break my heart even today, and the record in pristine condition.

I couldn't quite believe it. I coveted that piece of vinyl myself, and immediately schemed to ensure that no one would win it. Fuck the underprivileged. Those twelve inches would be, I decided, the grand prize, awarded only to the person who was capable of, oh, let's say, making their coconut levitate through the hole in the suspended tires while bursting spontaneously into purple flames. And even then, maybe not. We reserve the right to award to you, as your prize, the actual tire instead. And indeed, at the end of the day, the 12" goes unclaimed -- so, of course, my classmate got to retract his donation and go home with it. I guess I didn't quite think that plan through. Still, if I couldn't have "Forbidden Colours," at least no one deserving did, and my supremely mean and cruel soul gleefully cackles with partial-satisfaction to this day.


  • I should be ashamed but i believed for a long while that David bowie was singing this track. Now, i cannot explain why i could have thought that...
    Blame it on living in the deep countryside i guess

    By Anonymous Arnault, at 1:31 PM  

  • You do know that there's a good reason for your laboring under that illusion, I hope: "Forbidden Colours" is the vocal version of the theme music from the film Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, which starred...David Bowie.

    By Blogger Brittle, at 1:50 PM  

  • i know... but i only saw the movie long long time ago, after i moved in HK.
    The movie was called Furyo when they released it in France.
    This movie really made me cry so much when i saw it the first time!

    By Anonymous Arnault, at 8:46 PM  

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