Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Song To (Subtly) Slash Your Wrists By

Songs about love that are too obvious in their “I’m hurting!” message are a dime a dozen and are screeched ad nauseam in karaoke/videoke bars everywhere (insert Nazareth’s “Love Hurts” here).

However, when it comes to feeling sorry for myself, I prefer to wallow in not too shallow ways, especially with my song choices.

Thus, when “Getting Away With It” by Electronic came out at the end of the 80s, I thought it was perfect. First, Electronic is a duo composed of two members from seminal 80s groups, Bernard Sumner of New Order and Johnny Marr, ex-guitarist of The Smiths. Add to that the guest vocals of Neil Tennant of Pet Shop Boys, and you have an 80s electronica super-group.

And the lyrics!

I’ve been walking in the rain just to get wet on purpose.
I’ve been forcing myself not to forget, just to feel worse.
I’ve been getting away with it all my life (getting away).

I remember the time when it was such a narcotic high to wallow in self-pity. And the more I focused on how miserable I was, the more I felt that the pain was all worth it. So I did things to keep me wallowing, like walking in the rain and not forgetting. I needed to justify all that pain, all that suffering and all that wallowing.

However I look it’s clear to see,
That I love you more than you love me.

Yes, that was my biggest, longest-running angst growing up, spanning seven straight guys then countless gay guys who were either taken or not interested.

I hate that mirror, it makes me feel so worthless.
I’m an original sinner, but when I’m with you, I couldn’t care less.
I’ve been getting away with it all my life,
Getting away with it all my life.

The line about being a sinner was especially poignant when I fell for guys who were with other guys. That tug-of-war between doing what’s right versus doing what I wanted was especially delicious at that time. Age and experience made me realize how much time and effort I’ve wasted.

I thought I gave up falling in love a long, long time ago.
I guess I like it but I can’t tell you, you shouldn’t really know.
And it’s been true all my life.
Yes, it’s been true all my life.

Of course, after being burned once, I said to myself, “Never again.” Hah, famous last words. After a while I was telling myself, “It’s been true all my life,” and I actually believed in my own press release.

I’ve been talking to myself just to suggest that I’m selfish
(Getting ahead)
I’ve been trying to impress that more is less and I’m repressed
(I should do what he said)
However I look it’s clear to see,
That I love you more than you love me.
Get away with it...
Get away with it....

Yes, I was just being self-indulgent and selfish.

Now that I think about it, “Getting Away With It” is a song you don’t really slash your wrists by. Instead, you just slowly poison your heart—and your mind—until you actually think you really are getting away with it.

But you really don’t.

* * * * *

Below are two video versions of the song. The first one is shot as if they’re in the studio.

The second one is an example of New Order’s video aesthetics: no concept, just special effects, with lip-synch sometimes unapologetically obvious.

You choose. Enjoy.


rudeboy said...


I know this song. But I never really paid attention to the lyrics till now.

Be that as it may, one nice thing about growing up is finally learning to let go of the unnecessary drama. Some people are in love with love; some people relish the pain it brings.

Once in a while, whenever I cast a jaundiced eye upon yet-another-emo-post, I have to remind myself that once upon a time, I felt just like this stupid boy.

Still, that doesn't totally stop me from wanting to slap the shit out of them. Because once upon a time, I needed that, too.

joelmcvie said...

@RUDEBOY: That's why I don't hesitate to slap them. I wanted someone to slap some sense into me before. ;-)