Wednesday, 23 November 2011

"Now, the older I get the more I'm convinced that the idea of a great piece of art without humour is an oxymoron."

This quote from Lloyd came from a recent interview, all of which can be found at Lloyd, but got me to thinking about the various influences and references that appear in his work and how some of it has shaped my own reading preferences. This post delves into the  references that appear in Cole's work and presents key works by those who are name dropped, quoted and works that are referred to in their own right.  In no particular order.

Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986)
was part of the french philosophical existentialist movement and had a long relationship with its founder Jean Paul Satre during which they enjoyed an 'imaginery' married life. Her existential feminist treaty 'The second sex' helped pave the way for the feminist movement.
A provided reading material for Cole's protagonist in 'Rattlesnakes'

Marc Bolan (1947-1977)
Singer songwriter with john's children, tyrannosaurus rex and T-Rex
provided much inspiration for Cole who has covered Bolan's Slider and Children of the Revolution with great effect, he also provides the subject mater of '4MB' making Lloyd feel well.......groovy. and maybe a bit of a nod to Roxy Music's '4HB' from the same era.
Bolan died in a car accident aged just 30, but leaving behind a fairly large and unique body of work.

Greta Garbo actress from Sweden (1905-1990) popular in Hollywood's silent and classic period becoming a recluse in later life after appearing in 27 films. LC sings "At the age of ten she looked like Greta Garbo" on the opening track to his debut LP 'Perfect Skin'

                                                           The Citroen 2CV  "She drove her mother's car it was a Deux Cheavaux"     and one fantastic record.

Truman Capote our first star of "Four Flights up" author of Breakfast at Tiffany's and the 'new journalism' offering in Cold Blood. Capote shares the new journalism label with other authors Cole refers to such as Joan Didion and Norman Mailer below who have all been 'slotted' into the movement. Mailer was the author of 'The Naked and the dead' and 'The Deer Park' "Read Norman Mailer, or get a new tailor" was perhaps not the best rhyme ever but the song its lifted from remains one of Cole's classics. Find it "Are you ready to be Heartbroken?"
Grace Kelly"You can drive them back to town in a beat up Grace Kelly Car" from Cole's Four flights up pictured hear with Cary Grant in' to catch a theif', was a Hollywood actress and a favorite with Hitchcock until marrying the prince of Monaco and thereby forgoing her film career. She died in a car accident in the mountain roads of Monaco in 1982.

Joan Didion
Author ( born Sacramento 1934)
Whose novel 'play it as it lays' 1972 was the main inspiration
for Cole's 'Rattlesnakes'
The main character is forced to have an abortion after which she becomes traumatised and takes to driving around the freeways and west coasts dessert roads, looking for a way out of her problems, she gives herself up to various sexual encounters and experiences in order to break free of her stagnation. During the novel she periodically has dreams
of dead children and foetus body parts "Her never born child still haunts her as she speeds down the freeway" .
Rattlesnakes appear at various places within the novel, and appear to act as a motif for danger, or dangerous males.
The main character is also told to read a passage about rattlesnake bites from a red cross handbook.
Cole has cited this and the book of common prayer by Didion amongst his favorite novels. Didion was famous for her journalism as well as her novels and worked in the style of new journalism which looked to inject a personal narrative and response into pieces , the tone then lending itself more to fiction than factual reporting. Her use of sentence structure and minimal delivery was heavily influenced by Hemingway.

Eva Marie Saint in on the waterfront, what more can we say?
A film based on a series of articles about corruption and mob influence
over union workers in the new jersey docks in the late 40's early 50's.
Directed by Elia Kazan in 1954. Eva Marie Saint played opposite
Marlon Brando as the sister of a murdered dock worker.

Nick Drake's Five Leaves left
recorded in 1969 the first of three LP's before the singer/songwriters untimely death.
The LP features Richard Thompson on electric guitar and some fantastic string scoring by Robert Kirby. Cole refers to the album during 'What's wrong with this picture?' from Lloyd Cole and the negatives  "Smile, she said, and if you want
I'll look the other way
And you can go back to your Five Leaves Left
And you can call me when you get over yourself"
In his usual self effacing manner and humour probably picking the LP to represent somewhat earnest, studious types that like to linger in a melancholic haze. Not that anyone reading this would have ever been guilty of such behaviour. The album's title refers to a Rizla cigarette paper pack that would warn you when you were running out by having a dummy paper  or leaf declare "only five leaves left" I believe its ten now.

The inclusion of a 'SpectraVision Girl' would have changed the status of my page to something else entirely, but I am sure you can find one without too much trouble.
'Late night, Early town'
Music in a foreign language.

I am quite sure I have missed a fair few others, look forward to having them pointed out.


  1. Spectravison Girl-

    Pete: Also, there is no internet or Spectravision in the hotel rooms, so plan ahead gentlemen. Porn-wise.

  2. Scarlett Johansson gets a mention in Woman in a bar.

  3. Lloyd mentions Rue Morgue Avenue on Tell Your Sister from Don't Get Weird on me Babe. This is reference to Edgar Allan Poe-like Dylan before him:
    Bob Dylan's 1965 song "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" makes reference to "Rue Morgue Avenue".

  4. Rogers and Hammerstein's Carousel, the song "June is bustin' out all over" is the first line of Vin Ordinaire on the Negatives!

  5. I always assumed that Lloyd wass referring to Maxwell Taylor and the line from the Simon & Garfunkel song "A Simple Desultory Philippic"
    The Lyrics:
    I been Norman Mailered, Maxwell Taylored.