Pop culture treasure, high culture trash.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Lightning struck itself

On the plane, waiting out an endless pre-flight delay, I pick out the following phrase from the conversation going on behind me:

In the trunk of your Mercedes

I want to turn around and say,

Hey, um, did you know that what you just said was in perfect trochaic tetrameter? You know, like Poe--Once upon a midnight dreary? While I pondered weak and weary? In the trunk of yr Mercedes? Yeah. So um, do you like trochees too? Because they are so totally the most punk rock of all metrical feet. BUM-bum BUM-bum. It's almost the "Marquee Moon" riff, don't you think? Okay, not exactly, that's more evenly stressed, but "Psycho Killer," maybe? "Beat on the Brat?" 'Cause like, the trochee is also the underdog foot. Everybody loves iambs. Iambs steal the attention since they're Shakespeare and all, and I realize it's hard to ignore that 'The quality of mercy is not strained' stuff, but really, what is iambic pentameter? A feather floating to the ground--a horse galloping at best. Which is fine and all, you know, that's great, but trochees are like hammers striking anvils. You want urgency? You want speed and heat and insistence and propulsion? The trochee's yr foot. Do you know what I mean?

I don't.

1 comment:

Courtney said...

oh. my lord.

if i had been behind you on the airplane, i would have stood up, and for want of an electric guitar, started singing that first guitar riff in "Marquee Moon," and then you could have started singing the other riff (I forget which one is Richard, and which one is Tom), and then we could have gotten married.

but, i would agree, i think "psycho killer" is a better example of trochaic punk rock. there's something wonderfully unsettling about the herky-jerky syncopation of the trochee, like the rhythmic rug is constantly being pulled out from under your feet.

and speaking of the talking heads, have you heard the cover of "burning down the house" that TOM JONES did with the CARDIGANS? a watershed moment in recording history, i feel.