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March 2004, Week 1


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Laurie Stras <[log in to unmask]>
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Tue, 2 Mar 2004 09:58:24 -0000
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Dear listmembers

Bear with me - this does have something to do with film. . .

I'm currently teaching a new course on girl singers in the 20th century, and
tomorrow's lecture focusses on representations of sex.  This morning I was
trying to work out precisely *when* metaphor/slang became dispensable in
lyrics about sex.  I'm not talking about the 'heavy breathing' stuff by Jane
Birkin and Donna Summer, I mean more like Kate Bush's "Feel It" or "In The
Warm Room," both of which were released in 1978 and both of which are, well,
explicit (and in a way, a whole lot more explicit than anything Madonna has
ever turned out).

I kind of wanted to place this in context, and I wondered if there was a
simultaneous moment in mainstream film musical set-pieces (as a kind of
precursor to video) where visual metaphor was simply done away with, or at
least became so minimal that there was nothing to "read", or not a lot was
left to the imagination.  The earliest I can remember was the "Air-otica"
(?) scene in *All That Jazz* (1979).  Haven't seen the film in over 20
years, but I can still visualise the number in my head, so it *must* have
made an impression. . .

Anyone else got any ideas?  Was this really a late seventies thing?  Or is
it just because that by 1979 I was able to get into 18/R movies, so I was
experiencing this stuff for the first time?

Thanks in advance

Dr Laurie Stras
Music, School of Humanities
University of Southampton
Southampton SO17 1BJ

tel:  +44 (0)23 8059 3425
fax:  +44 (0)23 8059 3197

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