(7) deep blue something, "breakfast at tiffany's" defeats (10) jive bunny & the mastermixers, "swing the mood" 131-22
Read the essays, watch the videos, listen to the songs, feel free to argue below in the comments or tweet at us, and consider. Winner is the aggregate of the poll below and the @marchfadness twitter poll. Polls closed @ 9am Arizona time on 3/6.
katie jean shinkle on "breakfast at tiffany's"
My brother’s homeboy has his skinny, crusty, white dick in his hand underneath the urine stained My Little Pony comforter made for a child’s bed, not large enough for two teenagers, too short for even one. We are at my friend’s house and I was trying to sleep in this room by myself until he stumbled in and asked to share this bed with me. I only agreed if he stayed on his own side, which lasted all of five minutes. I’m not sure why he is here to begin with, or why he stayed. The air is dank, mildewy, and dirty. Through the doorframe, the stark florescent lighting of the hallway highlights swirling air from the ceiling fan and reflects a kind of dirt that only old houses with more than two stories can contain, a dirt that no one has touched because no one has been in this room for so long. There are old calendars tacked onto the bloated, wet walls of years gone by: half-naked women in thong bikinis bending over, ass to the camera; a singular red corvette; striped kittens in a basket of spools of multicolored crochet thread; of Stonehenge where my friend’s grandparents went last year. The Stonehenge calendar is the newest addition to the forgotten calendars, but, like the rest, not turned to the correct month.
“Come on,” my brother’s homeboy says, “Suck it.”
I remind him that if my older brother knew what was going on in this room, he would beat his ass. My brother’s homeboy looks at the ceiling in defeat.
“But he ain’t here, ain’t he,” he mumbles to himself, as if I am invisible.
The sun is beginning to rise but only in the way the sun rises in winter in the Midwest: darker grey until it is a brighter grey. We have been up all night long smashing mini-thins and snorting them up our noses. Mini-thins are a dietary supplement made of ephedrine, which is now illegal to sell in such a form because meth can be made from it. In the 1990’s, however, you could buy it freely if you were 18 years old or older at any gas station or party store. We were not 18 years old but could buy them anyway because our friends worked the counters at these gas stations and party stores and sold us the pills and anything else we wanted. We are swimming in legal speed.
It is January of 1996 and Deep Blue Something’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is a popular song, landing at #5 on the Billboard Top 100, the highest ranking the song will ever achieve. It is in competition with “Missing” by Everything But The Girl and “Hey Lover” by LL Cool J. “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is played on Adult Contemporary Radio, Top-40, and Alternative Radio, too, so the song is everywhere and we mini-thin loving kids are inundated by it.
My brother’s homeboy starts humming “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” dick still in his hand. “And I said/What about Breakfast at Tiffany’s?…” He is rubbing his dick against the top of the blanket, inching the flaccidness closer to me.
“Are you singing “Breakfast at Tiffany’s?” I laugh.
“Naw, I wouldn’t sing that fag shit,” he says. It is the first time I hear the word “fag” in such a way. I know of this derogatory term but never equated it with a song. It doesn't make any sense to me. I feel offended, even though I have no context yet as to why, except this word coming out of this kid’s mouth in this way makes me want to murder him. All I feel is rage. I ball my hands into fists. I go to punch him, but my balled hands are too jittery from the mini-thins.
“Do you have any cigarettes?” I ask.
“Only if you suck it,” my brother’s homeboy says.
It is completely bright, grey light outside, streaming through the caked, icy windows. I can hear my friend getting up in the other room, I am sure she is wondering where I was this entire time, why I didn’t join her in her room, why I am in this abandoned room alone. Or maybe she knows my brother’s homeboy is in here. Or maybe my brother’s homeboy went to her room first. All of these scenarios fill me with fear. I have no interest in his gross dick. I want to go home. “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is reeling in my brain. It is Sunday morning and my mom will be here soon to pick me up and take me to church. My brother will not be pleased to know what has happened here. I tell his homeboy again, “You know my older brother is going to whip your stupid ass for this, right?”
He takes my hand and puts it on him, moves my hand up and down with his hand on top and my hand on bottom. I jerk my hand away but he forces my hand back to him. This is clumsy and awkward. I feel like I am going to throw up. I rip my hand away from him for good and get up from the mattress that is in the middle of the room, on the floor, and broken so it is sinking in the middle.
“Man,” he says “I thought you were different. Shit.” He turns over, his back to me. “You can go on,” he says. “Fuck you,” I say. I steal three cigarettes and a $20 dollar bill from his jeans pocket draped on a half-broken chair and slam the door on the way out.
I go across the hall to my friend’s bedroom, climb into her bed with her. “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is stuck in my head: “You say/we got nothing in common/no common ground to start from/and we’re falling apart./You say/the world has come between us/our lives have come between us/still I know you just don’t care.” I light a bent cigarette, smoke it lying on my back, blowing smoke rings up to the peeling floral wallpaper. I can’t wait to tell my brother what just happened. I can’t wait for him to beat his homeboy’s ass to oblivion.
Katie Jean Shinkle is the author of The Arson People (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2015) and Our Prayers After the Fire (Blue Square Press, 2014). Other work has appeared in Ninth Letter, Washington Square, Booth, Barrow Street, Flaunt Magazine, and elsewhere. She serves as co-fiction editor of DIAGRAM and creative nonfiction editor of Banango Street.
matthew conley on "swing the mood"
O terrible moment, so often whiteboy, when an interloper on the New decides to take up their own prestained hands. You remember
a teenager. Your parents were out of town, it was
era, and a group of friends came over bearing the latest hit record. There were refreshments. There were games, some light touching. And right about the time you had/got to choose (privilege) how you
saw him: too old, too stuck to the wall, in our example a sort of porn John Denver, surreptitiously scanning the scene while his eyeglasses disappear into his mustache
beyond your years and had him removed, and you are to be applauded. But the damage was done. These men are everywhere in every era and only come out voluntarily to stick
time, it’s Pickles. That’s his real name and he
incorporates pieces of every(white)one’s favorite records using elements of every(white)one’s musical tastes. It will achieve (what is now known as Hasselhoffian) success through a unique methodology still
pre-recorded hits “mixed” together into one song capitalizing on innovations from (wait for it) karaoke and wedding DJs. Because, if the 1989 article and artist photo are to be believed, this was not a party at which “Straight Outta Compton” or “AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted” were playing. Hey it WAS England. No chance a “Fear of a Black Planet” demo was being passed around that’s for sure. It must have been so: there is no
party. And you know he would fess up: he’s John Pickles, and he only wants
father is flush and grants John a generous loan. You’ve heard this story before. He purchases an old building and installs a studio. He ruminates on the greatest records of all time, considers combinations, and begins contacting record executives. In the aforementioned article he says (with the least bit of introspection), “nobody understood... when I’d say ‘I want to license 20 seconds of your record.’” And so we have “Swing the Mood” by Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers, otherwise known as the Soundtrack of the 8th Circle of Hell, a surely obscene and predictable introduction to a debatable decade and
for its full-length video. It was a European sensation and broke into the American charts the week of January 13th, 1990
21st birthday. I remember that day. I awoke a hungover Quaker even though the bar wouldn’t serve me until midnight; I headed to the neighborhood liquor store where I didn’t get carded for a fifth of
ALL the greats
the ORIGINAL greats, like Elv
the where would we be if not for. It’s not hard to imagine these tracks running on continuous loop through Donald Trump’s
Haley, Chubby Checker, Glenn Miller, and just enough Little Richard to confirm white supremacy. If I
abbreviated and combined
“without ‘stylus’ and/or ‘vinyl.’” The process is
seeds of DJ worship, bacon martinis
Brian Setzer arguing with Thurston Moore about a Carpenters / Girl Talk
supergroup with an ‘a’
their sole virtue, possession their practice, distribution their proof. White men acquiring white acquisitions until
the spoils. But Pickles and “masters” (Pop: 1(zeros)) know, long before they are outed at a party, that to pull this off they need cover and badly. The lone wolf benefits from the illusion a voice casts off the cliffs
only: the inability to transcend the gulf between “seeing” and “being”
fame but money, a problem within the context of the New because white men are money takers not money makers. Hence, cover; cover utilizing not invisibility but its opposite. Cuteness and daylight are still surprisingly effective partners in crime. The history of white success is the history of gunmen emerging from birthday cakes. In a flash
MC’s exuberant reportage: “He phoned an artist friend: ‘I want a rabbit. He is hip. He is today. He is cool.’ Jive Bunny was born.” It practically parses itself. After invading and usurping, after collecting, rebranding, and redistributing as his own the white man enacts it all one last
Please like meeeeee... (which is not fame). Every marauder is at heart just a regular human we suppose, every despot can relate to letting yourself go out on the
“hard to give and hard to get” on this Third Groove from the Sun. It certainly isn’t here, this track, this artist, his “genius,” no matter that “Swing the Mood” reached #1 status in 12
I usually say “don’t read the Youtube comments” when they’re NEGATIVE. Hard
one true (ugh) instance when there’s less benefit in hating the obvious than applauding the stupid
2015 reunion tour, as soon as
I (couldn’t take it any more had to get out break free this fact this time these walls)
(this fucking nightmare this year this news this climate this time these)
hit the dance floor revolution is possible, song be
release without detachment, open and vulnerable, against everything that the white man
his hiding, so necessary in all and today’s
eager. You watch us, Pickles
we see you.
Carpenter, Mary. “Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers Swing the Mood.” The Pittsburgh Press. November 29th, 1989. Print.
Matthew Conley / Reliable Daily Driver / Clean Title