|The Slits, photo by Anton Corbijn|
Last week I met up with my friend Zel at Akbar in Silverlake. I hadn't been there for years. Zel was running late so I had some time to kill at the bar. I drank a pint and wondered if I looked cool or not. I didn't know whether to sit at a stool and stare at the bottles of liquor behind the bar or to sit facing the room. I tried both and settled on the latter, regularly checking my phone to appear as though I was waiting for someone. I was. But it's not like Zel was texting every thirty seconds with his ETA.
While waiting I noticed the song playing from the jukebox. It was a scoopy-sounding bassline that caught my attention and a punk girl singing, not unlike an early Siouxsie Sioux. I unperched myself from the stool and walked over to the jukebox. I flipped through until I could match the code glowing in red (indicating what was playing) with an actual name of a song. It was Love und Romance by The Slits.
I didn't know this song. I felt like I should have. It's the type of thing where I could tell most of my friends, "I discovered an amazing song by The Slits" and they would all respond with, "Oh sure! You don't know that song?" When I got home I found the song on Spotify and I must have listened to it ten times, maybe more. I was surprised by how satisfied I was with my musical discovery. Like a teenager.
Love und Romance begins with a woman saying "Babylon love us...oh Babylon love us." I had heard this before. Jack Danger from Meat Beat Manifesto sampled this clip in an album called Satyricon. I listened to it frequently in college. The album is saturated with little audio clips from various movies and songs and I've come across the original reference materials from which they were gleaned on several occasions. Like piecing together a pop cultural jigsaw puzzle over many years.*
*It breathes me, the second title of this blog appears in Satyricon in fact. I rediscovered this phrase while reading about Zen meditation practice.