a Cycle of Flower Songs (8 – PiL)

What if Don José returned her flower to Carmen, encouraging her to celebrate with her toreador his victory?  If Parsifal pushed Kundry into the magician’s arms?  If Butterfly kept her son and sent Pinkerton back to his American wife?  If Octavian let Sophie accept the Baron’s marriage proposal?  If the nightingale sang to the lovely carnation and ignored the cold rose?  If Tristan had fallen in love with Brangäne and married Isolde off to his uncle King Marke?  And if Elisa Day had not followed her first man to find out where the wild roses grow?  Then they all might have freed themselves from their cruel lovers and started their lives all over again dancing this defiant, unhinged tsisfteteli:

As the title of John Lydon’s 2015 autobiography claims, Anger Is an Energy.  “Flowers of Romance” is the sole single that came from The Flowers of Romance (1981), the third album of Public Image Ltd, which Lydon created in 1978, following the demise of the Sex Pistols.  PiL, which continues to perform and release albums, was not a post-punk group, it was the first post-rock one.  As it became particularly clear in this stupendous album, it was a band about the history of bands and the claims of their artistry.  In other words, it was postmodern, not experimental, that’s why we still dance to it.

The title song of the album includes a dominant drumbeat, tape loops, musique concrète, bass, Stroh violin, and keyboards.  Lydon sings about a ruined romance and the failed friendships associated with it to dismiss nostalgic notions of the past and move forward along with some propulsive percussion.  He put it this way:  “The romance referred to is not being romantic, but alludes to people romanticising over past events with their memories […] What I’m on about is that I wanted to move on and carry on with trying to create new things.”

In his kitchen, around midnight, as we surf YouTube for Greek songs, Pantelis Polychronidis, my “other self,” gets up slowly and dances a sensual tsifteteli with his entire upper body, extending his arms around an imaginary beauty who does not remain cold but, as soon as she smells the flowers, she leaves the chocolates for him, and starts to moan and melt.

May 18, 2015

“Flowers of Romance”

Now in summer
I could be happy or in distress
Depending on the company
On the veranda
Talk of the future or reminisce
Behind the dialogue
We’re in a mess
Whatever I intended
I sent you flowers
You wanted chocolates instead
The flowers of romance
The flowers of romance
I’ve got binoculars
On top of boxhill
I could be Nero
Fly the eagle start all over again
I can’t depend on these so called friends
It’s a pity you need to defend
I’ll take the furniture start all over again

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