When I read stories about long lost love affairs in the mountain of women’s magazines that I regularly purchase, I am reminded that we have to come to terms with the fact that some things were never meant to be and it’s probably best to accept your lot and move on with your life. “Que se ra se ra” as we used to sing from the terraces and yet never quite knew what we meant. That’s the way I was increasingly feeling about my quest to compile a mix tape of songs written entirely from the perspective of a fly that I was compelled to put into digital print over a year ago.
Maybe the reason that I had not been inundated by suggestions was that not only that such songs didn’t exist, but that the interest in the subject was strange, perverse and weird. I was beginning to feel like a social outcast, a sad loner who had dedicated a life to a mission that was pointless and stupid (like trainspotting, for example).
Then, just when I was at a low ebb and thought that I might give up, my regular monthly search of the whole internet took me to one Joseph R. Coelho, for it was he, at Quincy University on the banks of the great Mississippi River, who published the academic paper “Noninsect Arthropods in Popular Music”.
This paper attempted to list every instance of not only fly, but every insect in popular music. Joe is, of course, a Professor of Biology and the paper goes on to explore our relationship with insects in music. But for me, this was a gold mine and surely my best chance to find a full mix tape (remember a minimum of 8 songs) written from the perspective of a fly.
Just to recap; we already have “Fly on the Wall” by XTC; “I am the Fly” by Wire; “Beatnik Fly” by Johnny and The Hurricanes; “Darling My Darling” by The Handsome Family and “Fly Trapped in a Jar” by Modest Mouse (even Joe missed the last 2). So that’s 5. We just need 3 more and my eyes were immediately drawn to “I’m A Fly” by The Vandals, 1 minute 59 seconds of a fly’s existential crisis set to a throwaway punk backing track. Get in number 6!
Then the most startling discovery! Yoko Ono in 1971 released an album entitled Fly that featured a 22 minute 53 second “song” entitled Fly. On this track she attempts to sing in the voice of a fly. Obviously, I can’t tell what she is actually singing because I can’t speak fly, like she can, but suffice to say anything she is saying in fluent fly must be from the perspective of a fly. So this is number 7, right? Well, I am not sure anyone should be subjected to 23 minutes of Yoko in fly-mode, so I will keep it in reserve. Let’s hope another 2 can be found.
Well, how about Buzzin’ Fly by Tim Buckley, where he sings “Just like a buzzin fly I come into your life”. Now, it could be argued that he is putting himself in the position of a fly thus it’s from the perspective of a fly, but to be fair, it’s not a first person narrative and he clearly states that he is not a fly as he would not be just like a buzzing fly, but would indeed just be a fly. Sorry, Tim. Nice try.
Now then, Sueded Chain, “One Fly’s Wing”. He clearly states over and over that he has one fly’s wing thus if he has a fly’s wing that must mean he is a fly. Although having a fly’s wing seems to indicate ownership not possession.. umm… probably safest to leave it.
What’s this? Sarah Brightman also had an album called Fly released in 1998, a radical departure into rock and pop from this classical singer and, yes, in there are 2 songs “The Fly” and “Fly” which both declare “I don’t know why, I AM A FLY!” and superbly “On Aunt Angelica’s pie, I am a fly”.
There we are, numbers 7 and 8! Only, an unwritten rule of a mix tape is that there should be no more than 1 selection by each artist, add to that that these two songs are in effect the same song with one reprised at the end and we have a problem.
There is then only one answer, come on down Yoko Ono. Here is your number 8, probably best to put it as a closer.
That Playlist in full!