O Superman! Heart of a dog.
Og i månederne efter april (hvor jeg har fødselsdag) nyder jeg, når mine veninder på skift hiver mig med ud i verden til en stor oplevelse.
Sidst var jeg i Grand Teatret for at se Laurie Andersons "Heart of a dog." Læs anmeldelsen i Information her.
Jeg var til Laurie Andersons "Meltdown" i London i 1997. Et show, der blandt andet bød på Salman Rushie, (han var naturligvis ikke på plakaten over optrædende kunstnere), der læste op af "De sataniske vers", ud over Lou Reed, Philip Glass, Brian Eno, Jean Michel Jarre, Peter Gabriel and Ryuichi Sakamoto. Og selvfølgelig også multikunstneren, Laurie Anderson. Det var en magisk oplevelse, som jeg altid vil huske. Og som gjorde et kæmpe stort indtryk dengang.
Og jeg hørte hende og Lou Reed i 2009.
Bjarne Jensen (redaktør på Jensen & Dalgaard) delte for noget tid siden denne artikel på sin FB væg og minderne skyllede ind over. Jeg er stadigvæk stor fan af Laurie Anderson. Læs artiklen her og lyt til det fantastiske nummer.
"Laurie Anderson, singer-songwriter
In 1979, Iranian students stormed the US embassy in Tehran. America went blazing in with helicopters to get the hostages out. But it backfired majorly. A helicopter and a plane crashed in the desert. We were left with dead bodies, a pile of burning debris and the hostages nowhere to be seen. So I thought I’d write a song about all that and the failure of technology.
I’d just heard this beautiful 19th-century aria by Massenet that began: “O sovereign …” It was a prayer to authority, which I thought was interesting, so I started writing: “O Superman …” The lyrics are a one-sided conversation, like a prayer to God. It sounds sinister – but it is sinister when you start talking to power. I juxtaposed sinister and mundane imagery: “Hold me Mom in your long arms, your petrochemical arms, your military arms.” We’d always been told that America was the motherland, to appeal to our love of mom and dad, but it’s really not like that. I put the US post office slogan in, too: “Neither snow nor rain nor gloom of night shall stay these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”
The song is based around a looped “ha ha ha ha” done on a harmoniser, but I wanted it to be like a Greek chorus – not just one voice – so I used a vocoder, which was originally developed as spy technology to disguise voices. It fitted the concept.
I was a performance artist with no interest in the pop world, but friends convinced me to make a single, initially mail order. We pressed 1,000 copies and I’d individually wrap and post each one. Then suddenly John Peel started playing it on his radio show and a British distribution company asked for 80,000 copies. Warner Brothers had been coming to my shows but I’d turned their offers down. But when I asked if they could press 80,000 records, they offered me an eight-album deal.
When the song went to No 2 in the UK, my artist friends told me I was selling out, but just months later the term being used was “crossing over”. I’d gone from an idiot to a visionary. I had just brought the song back to my live set when 9/11 happened. People said: “I can’t believe it. You’re singing about current events.” I said: “It’s not so strange. We’re in the same war and our planes are still crashing.”
B George, independent record label owner
I was hired by the Whitney Museum in New York to teach art to schoolkids. The other teacher, starting the same day, was Laurie Anderson. Back then, she was a street artist and would do things like put ice-skates in big blocks of ice and play her violin standing on top of them.
I became the co-director of her show and put one of her songs on Airwaves, a double album put out by my small label, One Ten Records. I urged Laurie to put O Superman out on my label. We got a National Endowment grant for $500 and she recorded it in her hallway because it was the quietest place she could find. I suggested she slow it down slightly to make it longer – it ended up eight minutes long – so I’d get paid more royalties if it was played on the radio.
Shortly afterwards, I was working on a punk book called Volume that John Peel got hold of. He invited me to do this “Report from New York” thing on his show. I could play whatever I wanted, so I played O Superman. And then, almost overnight, other British DJs started playing it. I’d given it to major industry players, from Richard Branson to Chris Blackwell and Ahmet Ertegun – and they’d all rejected it. Suddenly they were all ringing me saying: “We’d like to put it out.” Shortly after, I was in the UK and this taxi-driver recognised my voice and said: “Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha …”
• Laurie Anderson is guest director of the Brighton festival, 7-29 May. Her documentary Heart of a Dog is out on 20 May; the soundtrack is available on Nonesuch Records." (Fra article i The Guardian. Læs artiklen her)