In 1994, musician Todd Snider skewered the grunge rock movement with his satire Talkin’ Seattle Grunge Rock Blues. The song made fun of the whole alternative scene where all you had to do was buy a flannel shirt, let the hair dangle down in your eyes, and act depressed and you’d make a million dollars. It’s a hilarious song, vicious satire, and I only wish this book-related story turned out like the song.
Snider’s song contained gems like the following lyrics:
Now to fit in on the Seattle scene
You’ve got to do something they ain’t never seen
So thinkin’ up a gimmick one day
We decided to be the only band that wouldn’t play a note
Under any circumstances
Music’s original alternative
Snider’s fictional band of musicians who don’t make any music suddenly experiences the thrill of success in his satire.
Well the made us do a video but that wasn’t tough
Cause we just filmed ourselves smashing stuff
It’s kind of weird ’cause there was no music
But MTV said they’d love to use it
The kids went wild, the kids went nuts
Rolling Stone gave us a five star review
Said we played with guts
We’re scoring chicks, taking drugs
Then we got asked to MTV Unplugged
You should have seen it
We went right out there and refused to acoustical versions
of the electrical songs that we had refused to record in the first place
Then we smashed our shit
Anyway, it’s a great song. I got the lyrics from Todd Snider’s website. How does this relate to books? MobyLives (we’ll continue bragging about them today) picked up a note in the news that states a Chinese writer has written a novel “without a single word” but instead uses a set of 14 punctuations for the story. The author claims he will pay a reward of 140,000 yuan ($16,900) to anyone who can decode the book that is supposedly “a touching love story, with ups and downs and a complete outline.” Read the MobyLives post here.
Books without words? Somewhere out there, an art student is thinking “I don’t even have to paint my senior class project! I can just arrange my brushes and my tools on my palette and let that be my art! Ingenious!” A dance choreographer is saying “I don’t even need to assemble a troop! I can just let the air moving on the stage be my ballet!”
In Snider’s song, his grunge rock stars who refuse to play ultimately get their comeuppance when their gimmick is topped by some new folks on the scene.
And then just when we thought this fame would last forever
Along comes this band that wasn’t even together
Now that’s alternative
Now that’s alternative to alternative
I feel stupid… and contagious
We’ll see what fate awaits writers without words.