Odes to the Cool Cats

What with all the kerfuffle and hoopla over the never-ending mismanagement of Fish Tank/EMTG, we wouldn't fault you for worrying that we, Blog-Tick, have forgotten our purpose, and relinquished ourselves into the prissy joylessness of what the 4channers like to call "moralfaggery". Fear not! All the corporate idiocy in the world will never let us forget that, first and foremost, NGS/Blog-Tick has always served a single purpose: relentless irreverence, derisive laughter, japes, jests, jokes, sarcasm, and mockery.

Now, with the EMTG huggermugger settling down, let us return wholeheartedly to our original mission. Maybe y'all have been hearing rumors of the No. 0 tour, involving Mr. Sakurai slinking and meowing across the stage in a kimono and Robert Smith lipstick while Mr. Imai teased the fans with a cat toy. While we can confirm that these rumors are 100% true, we would also like to call it to your attention that "Gustave" is far from the first ode to a dirty alley cat. In fact, "Gustave" arrives as only the latest in a long tradition of such songs... so let's listen to some of the others, shall we?

First of all, why did Sakurai put on Robert Smith lipstick just for "Gustave"? We can't be sure, but we have a good guess... after all, Robert Smith is the guy who once opined, "the sky looks perfect as cats." He and Mr. Sakurai have more in common the just being goths who fantasize about being tied up and fed to dommes or spider-men, as the case may be.

Another song Mr. Sakurai surely must have considered while penning the lyrics to "Gustave" is "Kuroneko no Tango" ("Black Cat Tango"), a Japanese cover of the Italian hit "Volevo un gatto nero," written by Francesco and Mario Pagano, Armando Soricillo, and Francesco Saverio Maresca, and recorded by Vincenza Pastorelli, who was four years old at the time. The Japanese version of the song was recorded at the initiative of none other than our good friends Victor Entertainment, who asked children's choir director Minagawa Kazuko to nominate a Japanese child to sing the song. Minagawa nominated her nephew Osamu, then six years old. When the record was released in October of 1969, it soon climbed to the top of the charts, selling more than a million copies, and making Minagawa Osamu the youngest artist ever to have achieved such success. 

Like the lyrics to "Gustave," the lyrics to "Kuroneko no Tango" can be read on two levels: on the surface, a charming story about a young boy's love for his cat (who he calls his "lover" in much the same way as our Mr. Sakurai dotes on his Kurumi), and beneath the surface, the story of a man who puts up with his lover's many infidelities because "the night belongs to her." The lyrics discuss how when the Black Cat (or should we say Black Pussycat) walks through the streets, sketchy alleycats hit on her, and she can't help but succumb to their charms and offers of tasty morsels. The narrator of the song rolls his eyes, knowing that soon they'll let her down and she'll run crying back to him. "Kuroneko no Tango" is now an enduring Japanese classic and has been covered by many Japanese artists over the years.

Another song in the same vein, but more goth, is London After Midnight's black cat. If Sakurai hasn't heard this one, we think he should - after all, the only thing better than goth black cats is domme goth black cats ready to role-play some healthy sexual cannibalism (as you do).

But if you're going to go for the quintessential alley-cat anthem, we'd hazard that there's only one song you could possibly choose: The Stray Cats' "Stray Cat Strut." Yeah, your heard right. Not only is the band named The Stray Cats, they also wrote a self-titled theme song. And just look at the video! This guy's out-Gustaving Gustave! We smell a cat fight brewing!

Finally, last but not least, we'd like to take you away from America and into Asia once more, to introduce you to this Indonesian dangdut hit thoughtfully shared with us by one of our very own faithful Blog-Tick readers! For those of you not fluent in Bahasa, we'll have you know that "Kuching Garong" translates to "Dirty Alley Cat," and the singer of this song wants you to know that dirty alley cats are bad, bad boys and intercourse interactions with them should be undertaken at your own peril. That is to say, "hati hati!" (Beware!) Or something like that. Her attitude says differently, but that's something all these songs have in common - much like cats themselves, there's more to them than meets the ear on first listen. All these songs seem to agree that dirty alley cats are bad, bad boys, yet why do they come off looking so cool in the end? Anyhow, we have been assured that "Kuching Garong" was a big hit in Indonesia when it came out, so if you think it's silly, well, you're on the wrong side of history. Dig that YMO-style Oriental keyboard!

Oh yeah, and one more thing - that Blog-Ticker who shared the song with us is proud to present to Blog-Tick Pikopiko, named for the ticking of Yutaka's bass-practice metronome and crowned with the Honor Crown of Buck-Tickistan, the baddest kuching gargong the South Pacific has ever seen. "Make him famous," we were bidden. Well, kids, here he is. Bear news of his fame far and wide.

Sing it with me: Cat Cat Cat Cat Cat's.

1 comment:

  1. So may cat songs! :) Volevo un gato nero and the Il Zecchino d'Oro bring back memories. Coincidentally they have a separate song about 44 cats (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jDOj0Xhcc8) - a genuine animal farm, cats only edition with the added bonus of learning basic maths :)


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