Wednesday, May 09, 2007

It's A Simple Message

During the first season of Ally McBeal (that would be nine years ago?) there was the theme song episode, where Ally went to her therapist (played by Tracey Ullman) who told her she needed to come up with a theme song. I remember this, in part, because when it aired, I was doing a show and one woman kept mentioning how everyone told her she was "just like" Ally (while I never noticed any similarities, I didn't disagree with her-- I mean, sure, all her friends may have been telling her she was just like Ally McBeal, how could I argue? I mean, yes, Ally was profoundly underweight, a lawyer with a degree from Harvard, and unlucky in love, while my costar was overweight, had a theatre degree from someplace that wouldn't necessarily impress anyone reading this blog, and had a serious boyfriend, but maybe I was just caught up in the superficials). One day, at rehearsal, she asked me if I had picked a theme song.

I had, but she had never heard of it.

The song I had chosen, the song I thought for many years was my theme song, was Robyn Hitchcock's She Was Sinister But She Was Happy.
She was sinister but she was happy
Basically she was the Jeanne Moreau type
Sinister but she was happy
Sinister but she was always pleased to see you
And her living words
Were her dying words
She said "Yeah."

She was sinister but she was happy
With a cheery smile and poison blowpipe
Sinister but she was happy
Like a kind of spider half-inclined to free you
Her lopsided grin made it so hard to win
She said: "Alright you are -- and your promises
Are just promises -- but a sinister little
Wave of a hand goes a long, long way
In these troubled times."

She was sinister but she was happy
And you can't say that of everybody can you?
Sinister but she was happy
Like a chandelier festooned with leeches
And she rolled along
Till she came on strong and she said:
"Alright you are and your promises
just are promises -- but a sinister little
Wave of a hand goes a long, long way
In these troubled times."
I know what you're thinking.

After you clean up that coffee you involuntarily spit all over your computer, you will sit there thinking, "Alison? Sinister? Happy?" And then you will snort again (this time, hopefully, without any liquids in your mouth) and shake your head at the degree to which I am capable of deluding myself.

For it is true, I am neither sinister nor happy. But I desperately want to be both. In fact, I often thought if I could just be more sinister, I could be happier as well. Because Jeanne Moreau (in all those films) seemed so carefree as she destroyed the lives of others. And I so wanted to believe that my lopsided grin made it hard for others to win. But the truth is that I knew that I wasn't merely a kind of spider half inclined to free you who, I was the kind of spider who would spend her days crying no one would join her for tea (just like Miss Spider). So really, as theme songs go, this is more aspirational than descriptive of the present state of affairs.

While my choice wasn't entirely perfect, if you had asked me, I would have said I wasn't in the market for a new theme song. The thing about theme songs, however, is that you don't find them, they find you. When you aren't looking for them.

Lately, I find myself singing the theme song for Arthur. A lot. I am considering buying some Ziggy Marley albums and, as as goofy as it sounds, I am starting to wonder if, perhaps, this song describes my world view.
Every day when you're
Walking down the street,
Everybody that you meet
Has an original point of view.
And I say - Hey! (Hey!)
What a wonderful kind of day
If we could learn to work and play
And get along with each other.

You gotta listen to your heart,
Listen to the beat,
Listen to the rhythm,
The rhythm of the street.
Open up your eyes.
Open up your ears.
Get together
And make things better
By working together.

It's a simple message,
And it comes from the heart.
Believe in yourself,
For that's the place to start.

And I say - Hey! (Hey!)
What a wonderful kind of day
If we could learn to work and play
And get along with each other.

Hey! What a wonderful kind of day. Hey!
What a wonderful kind of day. Hey!
And like any good theme song, it doesn't merely just describe the world and myself as we are, it describes a world and a person who I aspire to be. Just imagine what the world would be like if we all took these words to heart.

So I say, "Yeah", I say, "Hey!" and who says you can't learn anything about yourself by watching television?

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1 Comments:

Anonymous kim said...

Arthur rocks. I'm stealing your theme song.

4:33 PM, May 15, 2007  

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