Sunday, 22 June 2008

What the Caked Crusader chose to bake to this week (21 June 2008)

I don’t think any self-respecting student in the 1990s could get by without owning at least one Depeche Mode CD. Memory operates in strange ways: the Depeche Mode song “World in My Eyes” is perhaps, for me, one of those Proust’s Madeleine moments – when something triggers a latent memory so powerful and intense that you wonder why you hadn’t recalled it sooner. Proust was far more eloquent and termed it ‘involuntary memory’ (which is why he’s deemed one of the all time great literary figures whereas I’m a cake obsessed woman blathering on a blog site)

I only have to hear “World in my Eyes” and I’m back in the musty-smelling exam hall sitting my A-Levels. I was listening to a lot of Depeche Mode at that time and used a line from the song “nothing more than you can touch now, that’s all there is” in part of my answer to a question on John Webster’s “The Duchess of Malfi”. This is weird - now I can even taste the olbas pastilles that got me through my A-levels and kept my sore throat from developing into anything nastier. It was 16 years ago!

Depeche Mode songs just sound good – simple as that. There’s no fancy wordplay or complicated tunes, it’s just solid, dark pop music executed brilliantly – in fact it’s best not to think about the lyrics too much, “he promises me we’re as safe as houses / as long as I remember who’s wearing the trousers” being a particularly gruesome rhyme and reliant on the Essex pronunciation of ‘trouses’ for it to work. My favourite is still “Personal Jesus”; it was always the show-stopping live number and the one you waited for – just the first hint of the “doooo dah doo-doo dah, doooo dah doo-doo dah ” relentless thumping lead guitar could whip the crowd to a frenzy of anticipation. Incidentally, this was the first time that Depeche Mode used a guitar of any kind on a track.

Incidentally, my studies were most enjoyable and I recommend The Duchess of Malfi to all of you; it is a cracking play – if you like something with lots of dungeons, death, violence, not many laughs, a poisoned bible (I kid you not!) and some killer lines then it’s worth investigating. Think of John Webster as a kind of 16/17th Century Quentin Tarantino. My favourite line was and remains: “other sins only speak; murder shrieks out”. They don’t write them like that anymore…

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