I’ve mentioned Watership Down in this blog before. I, like many a person of a certain age, was caught unawares by its deceptively benign-looking VHS box. Little did I know that it, much like my first exposure to Dali, would shatter my vision in a way I feared at first but would come to love fiercely.
Though I was always predisposed to a strange way of seeing. From my very beginnings, when confronted with the most banal of stimuli, I could suddenly get struck wrong and perceive a nightmare. The way a printed flower was distorted by a crease in a drape. The apparitions in a door’s wood grain. The way the dark far corner of a room seemed to yawn, to exert a presence.
The two songs I have sewn together here both accompanied moments when, as a tiny human, I felt seized by an existential chill. “Bright Eyes” I of course associate with Martin Rosen’s famous hallucinatory images of frank suffering; the effect completed by the ghostliness of Garfunkel’s voice, sweet and bucolic but narcotically remote, that seems to waft above the music. Whereas “Put Your Head on My Shoulder” – a lullaby once sung to me that had the exact opposite of the desired effect – I must have heard in the way David Lynch heard the songs of Bobby Vinton or Roy Orbison: their saccharine nature belying a sinister or at least eerie potential.
I had a strong impulse to try, without excessive melodrama, to capture the essence of the songs the way Little Me perceived them – especially upon seeing so many YouTube covers of “Bright Eyes” that bring an outright sunniness to the phrase “river of death”. The most egregious, perhaps, being a late-seventies sister act rendition whose fan video juxtaposes the image of Bigwig in a snare with a photo of the gals posing in bathing suits. I don’t know if I succeeded, but I did what came naturally (this track is largely improvised).
Happy Halloween, All.