Net Nuggets 19: Blonde and Golden Hookers

Larkin Grimm: «Live on WNYC Soundcheck» [.zip]

More's been written about Larkin Grimm here on Toilet Guppies than can be convincingly held to be healthy. Yet her performances deserve to be heard—more than most, in fact.

This particular recording—performed on WNYC radio show Soundcheck on 9 December 2008—consists of the songs «Blond and Golden Johns» and «Be My Host», both to be found in multi-instrumental versions on Grimm's extraordinarily brave and honest (and not a little titillating) 2008 release, Parplar. (Which Toilet Guppies cannot recommend highly enough.)

«Blond and Golden Johns» is purportedly about the gloriously decadent phenomenon that is Paris Hilton, but inspired by the «Feminism» of Frida Hyvönen, who Grimm refers to in the radio interview as «the Elton John of Sweden»(!). Whether this comparison is due to Hyvönen's '80s sounding piano balladry or her ill advised dress sense, she doesn't say, but Grimm seems to have taken some sort of cue from Hyvönen in construing Paris' sexual power grip on the masses as one variant of Girl Power.

Psychologists Cindy M. Meston & David M. Buss recently published Why Women Have Sex—Understanding Sexual Motivations from Adventure to Revenge (and Everything in Between), in which they list 237 reasons in total. After love, pleasure, procreation and pity, that would leave, oh, about 233 motives to do with power, in some way or other. Perhaps Girl Power is in there somewhere among them.

As far as the sex symbol and Hilton heiress is a multi-millionaire who flaunts convention and does whatever the hell she pleases, Paris is empowered. But I suspect Grimm (or Hyvönen?) is confusing Feminism with Individualism here, as it's doubtful whether Hilton is any more solidaric with her «sisters» than your average psychological terrorist conniving against her sexual rivals in the most manipulative manner imaginable. Hilton can resort to her sexuality to gain power because she's attractive enough, an option not open to the majority of her gender. Hers is Narcissist Power.

As for Hyvönen's perceived politics, perhaps an American's Feminism is just a Swede's conformism. After all, the current strain of Scandinavian Feminism is only the politically correct paradigm in those countries, anyway, and its firm foundation in Puritanism ensures that it desperately lacks the sexuality (and so honesty, truth) inherent in Grimm's own work (not to mention that of Paris Hilton!). But hey—if one of Grimm's most evocative compositions came out of all this, who's complaining?

«Be My Host» is also an homage, Grimm has said, this time to troubadour-threnodist Marissa Nadler, an uncompromising talent in her own right. No one makes a dysfunctional obsession with death and heartbreak sound as pretty as songbird Nadler does, and it's easy to see why Grimm would be in awe of her.

Personally, I felt very inspired when recently I watched this during a sleepless night in front of the TV, after years of isolating myself from contemporary mainstream music (and branding campaigns—er, music videos):

If only it were an instrumental. At least we can safely ring up Lady GaGa to tell her she's not needed after all… And if she resorts to that «subversive liberated gay icon» spiel, have Peaches punch her in the tits.

But I digress. Go buy some Larkin Grimm, already.

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