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Friday, January 14, 2005

Insect Courtship and Songwriting

Today's music writing discussion is about cheap gifts or bugs having sex. What are you gonna do with that, Google? I found this Animal Planet story about the courtship of flies. Like the line in John Prine's Louise, "...Some bring her 10 cent trinkets..." That would be this fly and other insects. I know there's already a folk song called Frog Comes Courtin'. But Mr. Fly is not gonna take his intended to the "midnight show at the Coconut Grove, uh huh." He is more likely to give her a fake gift and, while she is checking it out, he is Mr. In-and-Out before she can swat him away and call him "cheap trick" or other insectoid expletives. The song writing challenge here is not to write about a third rate romance of insects but to use the analogy.

The Animal Planet discussion gets into why this deadbeat courtship is both necessary and successful. The songwriter going this route may want to contrast it to the human condition. Flies and other insects, most of whom go through this gift-giving-before-coitus procedure, risk their lives hunting for the really valuable gifts. They can become prey to birds while they are looking for seeds or other juicy insect to pledge their troth. So the cheap fake gift not only lets him propagate the species but saves his own skin (or whatever). Thus passing on the genes of cleverness and survival, even if at the same time the genes for cheapness and tawdry sex. Tawdry because it is very brief and unacceptable. But male flies that risk their lives and bring actual prey gifts like squirming juicy bugs, enjoy a much longer, eh, session. That is, the greater the risk, the more intense the relationship. And longer lasting. Now there's the song. Get busy.

Here's a quick off the top of my head example:

She said, "Don't bring me what I can ignor.
Make me tremble, make me melt, make me soar
Show me now the future and we'll forget the past
Make your eyes smile deep inside me and it'll last."

Hmm, I kind of like how viseral that is. I'll work on it. My free CD for anybody who can come up with something else. Can't wait to see the Google ads.

posted by Bud @ 7:14 AM

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