footnote one: gay as in homo or gay as in lame?
As I’m sure you’re aware, ‘gay’ has myriad meanings these days. There is, of course, man who likes to bum other men; but the British language is far more nuanced than that, no? There is the schoolyard usage of ‘gay as in lame’ - sometimes spelled ‘gey’ for those who believe misspelling can convey intent and thereby avoid offence (as you can imagine, this subversion is entirely lost in speech). When applied to music, this schoolyard usage can convey any music that is delicate, fluttering, featuring vocals which will be sung in a fey, slight voice if sung by a male (Death Cab for Cutie / Postal Service, Maximilian Hecker), or dreamy, swooping harmonies if sung by females: (Camera Obscura, The Concretes,). To be ‘gay for’ someone is to have a crush on them, normally artistic or intellectual rather than sexual, e.g.: ‘I am so gay for the writings of Michael Bywater’, or ‘You are totally gay for Kovacs even though what he’s doing at this point could be more accurately described as trolling rather than debating, you l@m3r.’ And finally, the word has retained some of its old overtones of happy, joyous, delighted, though perhaps with an undercurrent of cynicisim, a nodding awareness of the fact that such joys are delusional or at best transitory, e.g, ‘The sun is shining, I just bought some gorgeous red geraniums, and I think me and Frederick might be falling in love with each other – god, I’m being totally gay, aren’t I?’ (Owen’s desire that after hearing He Poos Clouds the listener might never again entertain thoughts of suicide ties in with this usage. ‘At its heart’, he says, ‘He Poos Clouds’ is a record of real good times, good vibes. It’s a party record.’ Happy happy gay gay!)
footnote two: he poos what?
Writing on the music message board ILM, Owen explains the title thus: “<I>He Poos Clouds<I> is a preposterous, over-the-top statement of devotion, much like ‘I Am So In Fucking Love With Him’ or ‘He's A Prince’. The presence of "poo" in the title is meant to defuse the potential seriousness associated with an album of string quartet music. A lovely side effect: half-assed listeners are weeded out.”
footnote three: that tracklisting in full
The schools / songs are as follows:
Abduration – "Arctic Circle"
Illusion – "He Poos Clouds"
Conjuration – "This Lamb Sells Condos"
Necromancy – "If I were a Carp"
Enchantment – "I'm afraid of Japan"
Evocation – "Song Song Song"
Divination – "Many Lives -> 49mp"
Transmutation – "Do You Love"
footnote four: what's it all about?
He did explain, but word counts limit exposition here. Googling will bring up other interviews in which Owen explains ‘If I Were A Carp’ – a frightening, heartbreaking song based on the experience of watching his godfather slip in and out of death while on morphine – and check www. Goodhodgkins.com for a funny, interesting insight into ‘This Lamb Sells Condos’, a scathing attack on Toronto property developer Charles Lamb.
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