Monday, January 22, 2007

I fell in love with you before the second show

I've been skirting around this one for too long and so it's time to come clean. I am a Carpenters fan.

A big one.

Last week I wrote about Janis Joplin and my friend M who introduced me to her. Around the same time M and I were both introduced to The Carpenters via our Human Development (the wankiest subject since Home Ec. I would have taken anything over maths!) teacher Mrs H. Mrs H was most probably the slackest teacher I've ever had in my life. By slack - I mean she set work at the beginning of the lesson and then spent the rest just sort of talking to us about our dates or boyfriends or whatever. Um, I didn't learn very much BUT I did discover The Carpenters.

The topic we were learning about was Eating disorders. I already knew a shitload about eating disorders - I had read everything I could get my hands on by the time I was 15. I knew about 6 close friends who had either anorexia or bulimia. That's just off the top of my head. I think most people know at least one girl who has had an eating disorder of some kind in their life. Or if not they know someone who has starved themselves in the short term in order to lose weight. It's an epidemic.

Anyway, we didn't really get any literature about Eating Disorders to read from Mrs H - instead she showed us the movie The Karen Carpenter Story 3 times. Not exactly too informative about the disorder itself but if the exam had been about Karen and Richard we would have aced that shit! To be fair, she only meant to show it once but the class (17 girls and 2 boys) begged her until she showed it again and again (the boys were in agony - it was hilarious). The entire class, geek, dork, slut, cool, goth whatever - all pretty much became fans of The Carpenters. We all sang along with the songs while swaying to the music.

M and I really took the fandom to dizzying heights though. I can't believe I'm admitting this but once the movie was on at midday on a school day and I wagged the day off school just so I could tape it! Some kids wag and go for a smoke in the city while playing video games in Russel Street - not me - I wagged for The Carpenters. I'm so glad I don't know any of you in real life. The shame would be too great for me to actually look any of you in the eye.

There was no turning back. I bought a CD of their greatest hits and I played it so many times that I knew every word of every song within a couple of days. E found a tape of The Carpenters in her garage during a clean out and she gave it to me so I could dub it. Then her younger sister (who, I think must have idolised me a bit - god knows why) got into them as well and compliments of compliments used to scratch I <3 The Carpenters into the desks at school and then would tell me about the graffiti. Take into account that this was in the mid 90s when grunge and brit pop was all the rage. I was so proud!

Why do I like The Carpenters? Firstly, I was interested in Karen Carpenter and her struggle with Anorexia and how her relationship with her family influenced that. Secondly, I like the brother and sister duo thing. Thirdly(and most importantly), her voice is simply beautiful, smooth, soulful and sad. It takes me somewhere else - a nice place.

There were so many songs I wanted to share here. Castpost isn't working and I couldn't find the songs I wanted to share from radioblogclub. If things had gone to plan I would have added Superstar, Eve, A Song for You and We've Only Just Begun but in the same year that I discovered The Carpenters my dad died. There was only one song that I could listen to for a while:

Rainy Days and Mondays - The Carpenters

Also, for those who can't quite stand the sound of The Carpenters, just to prove to you that really cool bands love them too: A compilation album came out about 12 or so years ago called If I Were A Carpenter. On it bands like Sonic Youth, Babes in Toyland, Redd Kross, Cracker, Grant Lee Buffalo do covers of their favourite Carpenters songs. I love Babes In Toyland's cover of Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft but for my money you can't go past:

Superstar - Sonic Youth