I found this song in heavy rotation on NPR. I had never heard of Savages before (this is from their debut album coming out this week), but they seemed interesting. And the description was intriguing–saying they sounded like Siouxsie and the Banshees. And that is right on, from the shimmery 80s punk guitars that open the song to that strange goth-y wail that Siouxsie possessed, to the rumbling basslines, this song hearkens back to a darker, wonderful era.
It’s a really great sound–evocative without mimicking. It’s certainly an uncool sound that Savages are pulling for (in the 2010s) and I like them all the more because of it. I’m curious to hear what else they do.
And that ending note is a killer. I want to hear this whole album.
[READ: April 30, 2013] “Oh, My Darling”
The “teaser” for this short story says “I am so close you could touch me.” And with this piece of information in mind, this story is dark and creepy right from the start.
The story begins as a letter: “Hello, Vanessa.” And the letter continues to compliment Vanessa on her name, those three satiny syllables (the letter writer won’t deign to use that silly “Nessa” that others do).
The narrator pushes back to some months ago when Vanessa’s husband says he believes that he has Aboriginal bloodlines (despite his blue eyes and Scandinavian features). Vanessa knew immediately it was because of the case he was working on—an Aboriginal case, obviously—with… Connie, a student of Haida birth. She replies to it with a funny (to me) comment: “What part do you think is Aboriginal? I hope it’s something simple, like your foot.” This comment from Vanessa’s husband, intimating infidelity is compounded by their daughter’s insolence: “You are a cruel fucking cow.” (Vanessa has weight issues which makes this hurt even more). Vanessa knows this is just how teenagers are, but it still hurts.
Vanessa’ only refuge is teaching—she teachers her first graders myths (some of which parents think are maybe too strong for their wee ones?) But Vanessa won’t back down on this. So in other words, it is just a normal day for Vanessa.
So why is this letter writer, this spy, this invader, following her so closely today? Because he/she/it is planning to reveal him/her/itself very soon. And that revelation will change everything.
Revealing who or what this narrator is would impact the story, although I suspect that closer readers than I would guess right from the start. Nevertheless, I found the revelation moving and powerful. In some respects the revelation made the story more common that I realized, and I suspect that is to its benefit as well. Even though in some respects I was a little bummed by the revelation, I think it was better than really any other explanation might have been. This was an effective sort story.