Cat Power is a girl
called Chan singing and playing the guitar. Maybe the piano a little bit
too. She shuffles her feet and her hair flops into her eyes. It's music
to cry to, but it isn't naff or self-pitying. It's subtle. It's music
to put on when you've crept away from the party back to your room and
opened a beer against the windowsill and drunk it all alone. It creeps
and winds around you like Sleeping Beauty rose and then you look up and
you're inside the music and there's no other world but this - these snippets
of echoey, beautiful songs, this warm waifish voice, this gentle acoustic
guitar. Most everyone knows that she's painfully shy and watching her
onstage is like watching a public autopsy, only it's she that is opening
herself up and slicing down her ribs and showing up what's inside her.
You want to turn away but you can't. I expected a monosyllabic shy child
but she was warm and lively and funny and bright. She kissed me hello
and laughed about the 'wing-wang' in the Yves St Laurent perfume ad. She
kept saying 'are you mad at me?' like she didn't even know what the words
meant. We lay in her bed and took off our bras and sipped wine and talked
CHAN: I'm gonna take off my bra. Are you mad at me?
AMP: No! I always take off my bra whenever I can. Bras hurt.
CHAN: Ok. Now I'm gonna go under the covers. Do you wanna lie
down? Come and lie down.
AMP: Yeah. I'll just take my shoes off...
CHAN: Yeah, take everything off! Whatever! <laughs> god, I'm being
such a brat! I hate myself.
AMP: Have you been doing interviews all day? What's that like?
CHAN: Actually, I would much rather do this for a living, than
anything else. Just hanging out a bit, and then, when everyone's gone,
gettin' fucked up.
CHAN: That's terrible. Terrible. If my grandmother ever heard
me talking like this…
AMP: Yeah…my parents are religious. They don't even know
what I do. I write for this magazine that's full of tits and corpses…
CHAN: Really? What's it like?
AMP: It's a mainstream mag, but it's like, fetish and stuff.
CHAN: Ooh, fetish?
AMP: A little bit. Y'know, corsets and things…
CHAN: Corsets are great.
AMP: You got one?
CHAN: No, but I love the way they look. I would not like to wear
one. I would like to look at someone with one on.
AMP: You should go to a fetish club.
CHAN: Yeah, I've never been… oh wait, I went to one in
New York. It wasn't exactly a fetish club…. I'd call it an S&M
club I think.
AMP: Same thing.
CHAN: It wasn't weird or anything. There was this man tied up
and they were like whackin' him on his weenie. This other man kept running
around and asking me and my friend if he could smell our feet.
CHAN: And we were just like, mmm… what harm would it really
AMP: So you let him?
CHAN: No, we didn't. We said no.
AMP: I've never really got the foot fetish thing. I went out with
a guy who was into that.
CHAN: My boyfriend kinda likes my feet. *Really* likes my feet.
I don't know if that means he has a fetish with them though.
AMP: What it was, with this guy, if he couldn't get off, he would
hold my foot, and sort of smell it and kiss it, and then that would get
him off. Your boyfriend's not like that, right?
CHAN: No, it's not like that. No. I guess my foot is the same
thing as my… knee, to him. Which is the same thing as my…rib.
Just a little bit of me that has personality that he likes.
AMP: What was it like when you were growing up?
CHAN: Mom, Dad, stepdad, stepmom, stepbrother, stepsister, big
sister…house, apartment, different house, different school, different
friends, cornfield, tobacco field, parking lot, um, golden retriever?
School. Boys. Um. School. Boys.
AMP: First boy you ever kissed?
CHAN: Oh god… it was so lame. He was my friend. I thought
he was my friend until his tongue was hanging in my… shoving in
AMP: What do you think you're like as a friend?
CHAN: My friends have told me I'm compassionate. And generous.
AMP: Do you ever think you're a bad friend? Like, sometimes I
think I'm a bad friend. I'm in a bad friend phase right now, because I
don't have any money.
CHAN: You don't have any money? You think they care?
AMP: It's something to do with me. I don't wanna…
CHAN: Put them out.
AMP: Yeah, cuz I always end up... they have to buy you drinks…
and I'd rather not see them. Does touring make you be a bad friend?
CHAN: Yeah, absolutely. Shit goes on in their lives and I just
don't know about it.
AMP: What are you like as a girlfriend?
CHAN: Oh god. I'm terrible. Totally paranoid, and jealous, and
untrusting, But then, I'm really silly, and superaffectionate, and love
to play, and love to kiss, and, love to, um, do, anything he wants. Really.
AMP: How long have you been with your boy?
CHAN: Since May of three years ago.
AMP: How did you meet him?
CHAN: You know, I met him on the street in New York.
AMP: You got a photo of him?
CHAN: Yeah… it's not really true to him though. I just
bought this one, because the others were of me and him, and I wanted one
of just him. That's him.
AMP: Cute. His hair's bleached, yeah?
CHAN: Uh-huh. That was like the day before our 3-year anniversary.
He's 24 now.
AMP: What do you talk to him about when you call him when you're
CHAN: Mainly how he's feeling… he's kinda down right now
because he doesn't have a job. It's like this huge stressful thing because….
Oh, I have to take a shit.
AMP: Heh. Ok. Can I have some more wine?
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