Morrissey A-Z: "Bengali in Platforms"

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member

Today's entry in the A-Z is "Bengali in Platforms" from the Viva Hate album.

I'm almost nervous to ask, but: what do we think of this one?

tumbleweed GIF
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

The Courage to Get on People's Tits
It's nowhere near as "controversial" as people like to make it.

The worst thing that can be said about it is that the lyrics try to sound empathetic (his voice definitely does) but come out slightly condescending and patronising.
I know, people get hung up on the "...when you belong here" line, but I only ever saw it as clumsy, not malicious.

The 70s imagery fits well with the general feel of Viva Hate, but it also contributes to the impression of outdatedness the lyrics leave.

All in all not his finest hour.

Musically it's okay, although I find both the guitars and the "Bengali, Bengali" parts slightly annoying. Not something I would listen to on its own.
 

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member
It's nowhere near as "controversial" as people like to make it.

The worst thing that can be said about it is that the lyrics try to sound empathetic (his voice definitely does) but come out slightly condescending and patronising.
I know, people get hung up on the "...when you belong here" line, but I only ever saw it as clumsy, not malicious.

The 70s imagery fits well with the general feel of Viva Hate, but it also contributes to the impression of outdatedness the lyrics leave.

All in all not his finest hour.

Musically it's okay, although I find both the guitars and the "Bengali, Bengali" parts slightly annoying. Not something I would listen to on its own.

Yes, definitely patronising, you're right. It feels like a clunky attempt to articulate that idea of "Why would someone from X ever want to come and live here? It's shit here, etc..." which always just shows a complete lack of understanding of how much worse things can be in other parts of the world.

I think it's musically very pretty, though!
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

The Courage to Get on People's Tits
Does anyone know the film clip used in it?
The sample? No idea, but Goddard points out that this might have been an inspiration

 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

The Courage to Get on People's Tits
I think it's musically very pretty, though!
I think the vocal is very pretty (besides the repetitive parts) and the sound is great of course but something about the music gets on my nerves.
 

Nerak

Reverse Ferret
It's a theme he used a lot - someone leaves behind their old world (yet another best friend is abandoned in this one) for a life they think is better, someone cruelly points out that it won't be because life is hard & time is fleeting...

It goes with Dial A Cliche with its son being chided into being more manly as he's followed someone into the fog.

Changing & moving are stressful things.

I like how wistfully mean it is & he has had to live between two cultures that don't entirely gel, so he's got relevant experience.
 

MrShoes

"Ooo, there's goobers on his bod." - Ted Cruz
Subscriber
I think the vocal is very pretty (besides the repetitive parts) and the sound is great of course but something about the music gets on my nerves.

I second the motions! Musically interesting; lyrically patronizing, and the chorus - awful.

Another one I press skip on.

MrShoes
 

MrShoes

"Ooo, there's goobers on his bod." - Ted Cruz
Subscriber
It's a theme he used a lot - someone leaves behind their old world (yet another best friend is abandoned in this one) for a life they think is better, someone cruelly points out that it won't be because life is hard & time is fleeting...

It goes with Dial A Cliche with its son being chided into being more manly as he's followed someone into the fog.

Changing & moving are stressful things.

I like how wistfully mean it is & he has had to live between two cultures that don't entirely gel, so he's got relevant experience.

Great points on the themes he often employs. It probably speaks to many of here - hence our fanaticism.

MrShoes
 

gordyboy9

its not me its you.
the one word which people find controversial is BELONG,what if the line was,life is hard enough when you have lived here,still thik the song is a warning to anyone thinking the uk is some wonderful place to live when in fact its the worlds biggest toilet.i like the song but still dont know what a lemon sole so very high is.
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

The Courage to Get on People's Tits
the one word which people find controversial is BELONG,what if the line was,life is hard enough when you have lived here,still thik the song is a warning to anyone thinking the uk is some wonderful place to live when in fact its the worlds biggest toilet.i like the song but still dont know what a lemon sole so very high is.
It's a platfish who smoked too much weed.

No, seriously, I always thought it was just about yellow platform shoes.
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

The Courage to Get on People's Tits
It could be... he always makes things more dramatic.

Heard a theory it was about Freddie Mercury being discouraged in his early years but that seems unlikely.

He was surprisingly nice about Freddie though.
He was/is a fan of Wainwright's and the similarities are quite striking.
 

Nerak

Reverse Ferret
the one word which people find controversial is BELONG,what if the line was,life is hard enough when you have lived here,still thik the song is a warning to anyone thinking the uk is some wonderful place to live when in fact its the worlds biggest toilet.i like the song but still dont know what a lemon sole so very high is.

The bottom of the platform boot.

Sole also means alone, so it might be a symbol of loneliness.

47a51f2354fd95ab66c678edb06b1c6f.jpg
 

Flibberty

Well-Known Member
I agree with the use of the word "clumsy" rather than ill-intentioned.

When we discussed Asian Rut I said that it suffers from the poor company that it keeps on Kill Uncle. I think this track is boosted by the fact that it is placed between quality songs on Viva Hate and, while I don't love it, I can listen to it happily enough as part of a very strong Side One.

Another track to be influenced by Morrissey's youth and another that explores outsiderdom.

In the poll on the other board it ranked 221 from 264 solo songs.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Yes, lyrically it's a bit clumsy, but I think it's generally well intentioned. I think it's a wonderful song in terms of the music, and the laid back style of Morrissey's voice - a real shame he obvious can never play it live.
 
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