Why’d you have to go, O! Away from home, my love OR An Unfortunate Woman Pt 2 #POPera

Sean_kingston1234429946_me-loveImages

Am now a little bit obsessed with this song by Sean Kingston. Watch it and see what I’ve wrote about it below:

I heard it, get this, while at the hairdresser’s this morning. I want to say that I was getting my hair washed, to underline some some of wrongness associated with this anecdote but I restrain myself from doctoring the truth and misremembering.

Why do I like it? I like simple, catchy tunes. I like that certain something pop songs have. I’d dance and sing along to this.

It sounded familiar. I have NO idea how I know about it, and this evening was surprised to find outwhen I googled it, to see that it came out in 2007. I had thought for sure it’s a 90s song. Misremembering. Making it up entirely.

It made me thnk of my #BrautiganOpera, Tonseisha – The Man Who Abandoned the World (script by Erik Patterson, music by Kim B Ashton) the epic, international, cross arts (we have been laying with pop, opera, visual art, fashion, poetry, playwriting, fiction, theatre, film), transmedia (I hope), performance installation opera (?) piece (phew!)* that, under the saltpeter banner, I am making with some wonderful artists. One of the ideas that has long been in the air is, how many actors should perform, specifically, the roles of the various men in the script. A single actor has been playing Brautigan (gorgeous Jamie Wood). To date, in our showings, one actor has played the rest (sesy Sean Patterson). At the R&D of sound and light at the Barbican Pit last week, we played out some experiments and games with heaps of wonderful, smart, bolshie men who’d been invited in to stir things up (thank you Phil Whelans, Thom Tuck, Charles Adrian, Austin Spangler, Satoshi Date, Jonathan Swain, Jack Robson, Jason Osterman for poking and jabbing).

They stood round and threw words and phrases at me that I responded to. They walked in lines across the space, each one makign physical contact with me in some way. We ended up with all the men dancing through a pop song and me staying still, then at the end, when everyone was still, I did a little tap routine (I don’t dance tap. This was rather fun).

The Sean Kingston video is interesting to me because of the very physically different girls (spot the oriental one! Killer cheekbones) all wearing the same outfit. The idea of the tease of memory, photographs being taken but nothing real remains. The game continues. The dancers disappear.

For Tonseisha, we had extremely different men, different ages, cultures, voices. They seemed more together and united when they were dancing in their very individual ways to the same pop song (responding to a stimulus external to the story), as opposed to when the task was to walk and touch i.e. when the goal was to be quite similar or to be directly responding to one another and to me. The former told the story in a much clearer way than when we tried to construct it. Interesting, this noodle to untangle – what tells the story best? * Yes, my slightly flippant unofficial description of what we’re making sounds super complicated, but what it boils down to is that we’re just telling a good story that we find relevant. We’re finding out how best to do this for this piece and we’re asking questions about how best we can make things for the rest of our lives.

I like the sublte visual identification with Jamaica, a tying in of the artist’s place or preoccupation. National identity and nationalism is something I am interested in. Us and Them and meaning-making is endlessly fascinating to me.

I LOVE the juxtaposition of the themes being sad – heartbreak, leaving home, loneliness etc – couched in an sunny dance-friendly, singalong tune. I love the repetition and how it doesn’t get more or less emotional. The structure of the song carries it from A to B. Not character, plot, story in any way. (What is the structure of a pop song? Will find out more about pop because my band, FOF.)

This relates to a writing/making project of mine where I lay out the similar poems I’ve written through the years, to do with heartbreak, and interlace them, splice them, show the bones of the individuals bits, use archaeological ideas and maybe tech (Geographical Information Systems I’d love to play with) but the effect has to be beautiful e.g. the artefact is pretty. #generation

A few steps further, I would like to record these poems, not in sad way nor sad tone, and play them on a loop on Radio Nouspace. They would be interspersed. And some way of making the super-structure of the whole disintegrate would be nice. Perhaps to reform into something else or to leave a residue that is bigger than the actuality of the pieces. (Oh, btw someone recently called me an art wanker. Sharing my thoughts openly like this might be why! Should I keep my thoughts pre-creation, to myself? Ironically, I hated filling in my art scrapbook for A level art. I almost never did it. I sometimes filled in retrospectively. I then gave up A level art altogether.)

Gross Und Klein (Big and Small) was something I watched at the Barbican starring Cate Blanchett. I went because the themes were loss and discombobulation. I wanted to see how this would be possible to endure for a few hours in a theatre. I found that the answer was, play it always with lightness. Play the most terrible scenes with the scented flower blooming in your heart, someone wise once told me. It’s a game. You have the audience weeping because you are light and have light in you. I learnt this again and again from Philippe Gaulier at his school during the Melodrama class, incidentally one of the best acting classes I’ve taken, ever. You are playing the character, it’s a game. A very serious game where you have a responsibilty to the people in the gods.You go with humbleness and you go as a gift. You remind the of how beautiful life still is despite awful things happening, specifically the beauty of, “If Only..”. It’s a tremendous ride, theatre. I want people in the rafters hollering and crying or mute from the pure sensation of experience. I want to change the world with what I make. Scale and method? I get to decide each time.

I am interested in the idea of leaving home. In the song he sings about his love leaving home and leaving him. Are they two places? Two things? Or the same? I care less about what the case is in the song, but I am interested in a person being home, representing home. Home is where the heart is, home is wherever you are, etc. and you may know that I am researching nostalgia as a delusion.

I grew up in Malaysia. I am nostalgic for a Malaysia that does not exist. It probably never did. I have made it up in my mind. This is also the kind of song that reminds me of my childhood even though it was released in 2007. This is a “Malaysian night club” song, in my mind. I wasn’t anywhere near Malaysian nightclubs in 2007.

Time. Mourning. Bereavement. Tonseisha. The person in the song claims to be feeling the loss still, almost three years down the line. The video shows him nothing but happy, with an endless stream of pretty girls. Similar but different.

Racine’s Andromaque at the Barbican by Cheek by Jowl. Declan Donellan sais in Racine, everyone is rushing around declaring love for the other person. It’s never about the other person. It’s about the declaimer. 

The lyrics are a lovely mixture of genuinely sad and pop song pat. Look at them here. This is what jumps out at me from the text. Below is an edit I’ve played with. (I have left the repetition in. I am interested in whether repetition changes or moves things along or if its reinforces the status quo. Also interested in repetition as adding a textural layer, again kinda like a layer of archaeological dust.)

Why’d you have to go – O! Away from home – My love.

 

One day you left

Now I’m feeling blue

Because we had to see you leave you leave


I feel like I’m drowning in the ocean. Somebody come and take me away.

 

Why’d you have to go – O! Away from home – My love

 

Now I’m sitting in a chair with no one here and I’m feeling all alone All, Alone

Thinking to myself, I’m missing her and I know she’s missing me missing me

It’s been two years and a half, and July will make it THREE

 

I feel like I’m drowning in the ocean. Somebody come and take me away.

 

Why’d you have to go – O! Away from home – My love

 

Why’d you leave me, wh- why’d you leave me

Tell me, tell me

Why’d you leave me, wh- why’d you leave me

Why’d you leave?

 

Why’d you leave me, wh- why’d you leave me

Tell me, tell me

Why’d you leave me, wh- why’d you leave me

Why’d you leave?

 

I feel like I’m drowning in the ocean. Somebody please come and take me away.

 

Why’d you have to go – O! Away from home – My love

 

Why’d you leave me, wh- why’d you leave me

Tell me, tell me

Why’d you leave me, wh- why’d you leave me

Why’d you leave?

Trivia:

Sean Kingston’s chorus is pretty much a sample of the Led Zeppelin song, “D’yer Mak’er”. Have a listen here. The LZ live version is below. Incidentally, there is a line, “every breath you take, every move you make.”

Lyrics to this song are also rather connected to Tonseisha. See below.

Oh oh oh oh oh oh
You don’t have to go oh oh oh oh oh
You don’t have to go oh oh oh oh oh
You don’t Have to go.

Ay ay ay ay ay ay
All those tears I cry ay ay ay ay ay
All those tears I cry ay ay ay ay ay
Baby please don’t go.

[CHORUS:]
When I read the letter you wrote, it made me mad mad mad
When I read the words that it told me, it made me sad sad sad.
But I still love you so, I can’t let you go
I love you- ooh baby I love you.

Oh oh oh oh oh oh
Every breath I take oh oh oh oh oh
Every move I make oh oh oh oh oh
Baby please don’t go.

Ay ay ay ay ay ay
You hurt me to my soul ay ay ay ay ay
You hurt me to my soul ay ay ay ay ay
Darling please don’t go.

[CHORUS 2:]
When I read the letter you sent me, it made me mad mad mad
When I read the news that it broke, it made me sad sad sad.
But I still love you so, and I can’t let you go
I love you- ooh baby I love ya.
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
You don’t have to go oh oh oh oh
You don’t have to go oh oh oh oh
Aw Baby, babe Please Please Please Please
Ah uh ah uh ah ah baby
Ah Uh I still love you baby
Ooh Ooh, ooh ohh, ooh ooh Darling
Oh Oh-wo Aw baby I still love you so
Aw baby I still love you so oh-wo ooh

Oh oh oh oh oh oh yeah (fire)
Ah ah ah ah ah ah oh (fire)
Ah ah ah ah ah
Ooooh (fire) yeah
Oh Baby, Baby

3 thoughts on “Why’d you have to go, O! Away from home, my love OR An Unfortunate Woman Pt 2 #POPera

Add yours

  1. Yes – and, for me, the multiple women underline how self-centred this feeling is. None of them are important individually, they are all just WOMAN, who should be spending her time looking at him silently and lovingly rather than going away to do interesting things somewhere else…

  2. But what if all the smiles (and there are only smiles), are about horrible self delusion and it’s the lyrics that reveal his loss? I mean, of course it is still self-focussed but NOT as much as the Led Zeppelin one where they are basically having sex with themselves! Oooh Paul Young: "I’m the type of guy to give the girl the eye. Everybody knows…love them and leave them." Wowser. Set to a romantic tune that makes us feel like the poor guy’s done all he can to explain himself yet again. Poor guy.

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