Your problems solved by Stephen Malkmus/Pavement lyrics

Music News, Your Letters

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stephen_malkmus.gifI get a lot of letters here at My Chemical Toilet. Weird, really, in this era of email/instant messaging/MyFace, etc. What’s even weirder is that many of the missives are from troubled souls seeking guidance in their lives. What am I, Oprah?

Anyway, I usually dash off a half-arsed reply saying something along the lines of: “Get a life. Failing that, the answers to most of life’s problems can be found in the lyrics of erstwhile Pavement frontman and now semi-successful solo artist Stephen Malkmus. Google some.”

Well, scribbling all those notes can get pretty tiresome, so today I’ve collected a few of them together and pointed the writer in the direction of the appropriate lyrics.

First up is Kev from Stranraer, Scotland. Kevin says: “Hi My Chemical Toilet. My girlfriend wears rings on her toes and I am not down with that. I like my woman to be metal-free down there. What should I do?”

See which Stephen Malkmus lyric is virtually tailor-made to solve this tricky snafu after the jump.

I’d point Kev in the direction of “Jenny And The Ess Dog”, from Malkmus’s eponymous debut solo album:

See those rings on her toes, check that frisbee in his Volvo
It’s a Volvo with ancient plates
They’ve got a dog she named Trey
A retriever with a frayed bandana around his neck.

Hope that helps, Kev. If not, dump her.


So true, PL, so true. Next time, though, writing in ink will be fine. Whatever you used in this letter pongs a bit. Anyway, check out the truth bomb contained within “Animal Midnight”:

You to me is like carbon dioxide
you know I won’t be your frozen rose
Why don’t you just let me get up, yeah
before you do the rowdy, rowdy, rowdy rough?

A little communication from Portsmouth now, courtesy of Helen: “Please help! I am going on a blind date next week and I am really nervous! I have never done anything like this before! What is the etiquette! Thank you!”

I have just the verse for you, Helen – from “Shady Lane”:

Blind date with the chancer
we had oysters and dry lancers
and the check when it arrived we went dutch, dutch, dutch,
a redder shade of neck on a whiter shade of trash
And this emery board is giving me a rash.

Are we done yet? No. This one – what’s wrong with you people? – is written on a bloody postcard. From Majorca? Blimey, looks like this person is having one hell of a holiday: “Please help I am on the run after breaking out of a Spanish prison. The Spanish police are chasing me. They are brutal. I can’t remember what I did, but I think nudity and absinthe may have been involved.”

Not sure I’d have reached out to a music website as a first port of call on this one, but no matter. As ever, Malko can help. Let’s turn to the classic “Range Life”:

police.gifRun from the pigs, the fuzz, the cops, the heat
Pass me your gloves, there’s crime and it’s never complete
until you snort it up or shoot it down
you’re never gonna feel free.

Terrific advice once again.

Next up we have JP from Nottingham. “I am bored with who I am and would rather like to be someone else, preferably a famous, dead, bald actor. Can you make any suggestions please?”

No, I can’t. But Stephen Malkmus’s “Jo Jo’s Jacket” sure can!

I’m not what you think I am
I’m the king of Siam
I’ve got a bald head
My name is Yul Brynner
And I am a famous movie star
Perhaps you saw me in Westworld
I acted like a robotic cowboy
It was my best role
I can not deny I
Felt right home deep inside
That electronic carcass.

Are circuses safe? It’s a question every parent ponders, including Mrs Campbell from Swansea: “A circus has come to town and my children want to go. My next-door neighbour insists that all circuses are run by underage gypsies. Can you verify this?”

Not going near that one, Mrs Campbell. But Malkmus does not shy away from sensitive issues, least of all in “You Are A Light” from Pavement’s Terror Twilight:

Watch out for the gypsy children in electric dresses
they’re insane.
I hear they live in crematoriums
and smoke your remains.

Crikey! I think that’s just about enough for this week. If you have a problem, and you’re too stupid/lazy to solve it for yourself, why not drop me a line? I sure as heck won’t help you, but I just might be able to find a leftfield lyrical chancer who can. Until then – ta ta!

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  1. But what about the Russian Kaiser! I’m so worried about his abdication back yonder – did he abdicate due to poor health? I’m thinking these lyrics might shed some light on it all…
    ‘well focus on the quasar in the mist
    the kaiser has a cyst
    and i’m a blank want list
    the qualms you have and if they stick
    they will drown you in a creek
    in the neck of a woods
    that was populated by
    tired nation on the fly’
    What do you think? Is Malko correct here?! I can’t sleep, I keep on worrying about how he died!

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