Tuesday, April 18, 2006

God's Song (Or Why I Love Randy Newman)

Beware, digression ahead.

So, yesterday afternoon I decided to listen to some Randy Newman. I have been going back through old Mojo magazines, because I was hungry and lazy the other day, and I got off the train and decided to go to Newtown's Happy Chef on my own. I love the place, but I like to read and had nothing, so I swung by Egg records and bought a couple of old Mojo Magazines (I think #39 and #40) and it made me take stock of what missing issues I have in my collection.

In my slow, sporadic, thumbing through of Mojo back issues on the weekend, I found a review for Randy Newman's Songbook vol. 1 album, which I actually owned but never listened to. Which is an even longer story.

So on comes God's Song. For those who might don't know (as Mike Mills would say), it's a song sung from the point of view of God, being quite taken by how gullible we humans are. How he treats us like crap, and we still love him. Kind of like Ricky Gervais in that way, really.

At this point I was cooking breakfast and there was a knock at my door. Now, there are only certain types of knocks I get on my door. There's the soft timid rattle followed by the calling of my name that announces the arrival of Mother. There's the ridiculously loud banging of seven year old Indy, my neighbour. But this was such a soft, hesitant bump that I ignored it. It was a late morning on a public holiday. Someone dropped a gardening tool, I assumed.

Then the knock returned.

I put a shirt on (um...) and went to the door, and THANK GOD (no pun intended) that I had my screen door closed because here I was confronted by women of the faith. Bible bashers. Well meaning middle class middle aged ladies, who, let's face it, are nosy annoyances who badger their kids into staying in school and gives the worst presents at Christmas and still has a cassette player in her funny smelling car.

And God's Song is still going.

"I recoil in horror from the foulness of thee
from the squalor and the filth and the misery..."

Hi, we're here to talk to you about God

"The Christians and the Jews were having a jamboree
The Buddhists and the Hindus joined on satellite TV"

We are all looking for happiness, everyone in the world...

So at this point I would like to point out I have nothing against God generally. Contrary to poular belief, he did have some pretty good tunes. God Only Knows, God Knows It's True, Secret God, Get Right With God. But this seemed very eery. It took a while before I fully tuned out from this lady talking to me, the godless indie heathen that I am, who reminded me a bit of the other woman in Three Men and a Little Lady, the one who works at the girl's school and is also after Tom Sellick's affections (and where has that man gone may I ask?).

"Lord, if you won't take care of us
Won't you please please let us be?"

Is this something you think you might be interested in?

Sorry, no thanks.

Another aside: there was atime in my life I would have been. I've kidnapped poor Mormans to my house, and made one give me their copy of the Book of Morman. I have an addictive personality, and anything that has obsessive cult status, I'm there. Bootleg records, Star Trek, Buffy, JFK's assination, Harry Potter, Beach Boys. I eat it all up. So religion, so much to sink one's teeth into really. Endlessly fascinating. But that time is gone

So what happened?

It's just easy to be cynical, isn't it? And who has time for God. I like some of things Jesus has said. Very, very much. But I guess, his core beliefs is the same as a lot of people's core beliefs, but I've found later philosophers and thinkers to be more attuned to my life. No offence. It's like, I really think Singles is a great film, but it's kind of dated, and I'm looking for answers from a newer place.

So you're not interested in this literature then.

No, I'm sorry. And God's Song is playing and this is all very weird. Do you hear this song? It's about how God is laughing at you. But it's also about how people laugh at the religous. Which, in my godless indie heathen way, I've done. Those hillsong people. They freak me out. I acctack with ridicule. But in a way Randy Newman is making a fool of me, as well as you, and maybe the Big Man too. That's what I hate about Randy Newman. Listening to him, I feel like I'm onstage with a slight of hand artist, who's picking my pockets as the audience laughs at my confused, worry expression.

I really hate those guys. They are mean.

I hate magicians of all sorts. I think this was written about in a previous entry. This is actually very different from what happened isn't it?

Yes it is. And you've barely described the other woman I was with.

I didn't really get a good look at her. She seemed like a henchman of some sort.

"You must all be crazy to put your faith in me"

Did you plan for this piece to become a ficticious interview and a somewhat answerless ramble about God?

No, I was sort of hoping to just make fun of you.

Look, would you be interested in coming in and listening the rest of this Randy Newman Cd with me. It's so far, quite good. Just Randy and piano. The sticker says "first ever solo studio album" - not sure if that's true? But there's some really good songs about racism and slavery and politics and stuff. There's a really great song about a dancing bear that's not on here though.

Sorry, no thanks.


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