Issue #76 / December 2019
What, oh, what is Ku Klux furniture?
SERGE, PROVINCETOWN, USA
Have you ever reached the same highs when sober as when you were on some sort of lovely substance?
CRAIG, LEEDS, UK
Dear Serge and Craig,
My song ‘Deanna’ is a collision of dissonant imagery, beautiful transgressions, reckless theatrics, secret admissions, impossible lusts, erroneous politics and fuck you swaggering, that ultimately resolves itself into a pure expression of the monstrous rapture of youth. It represents a time of joyful and wilful abandon, into drugs, into music, into danger, into love, into life itself. Like love, the song cannot be broken down into its respective parts without doing a grave injustice to its mystery and its glory. ‘Deanna’ is a capsule of incautious adoration that alerts us to the futility of judging the actions of our past through the lens of what we have become, no matter how much wiser, more aware and insightful we think we are. As an old guy, I probably have no right to sing it, yet I do as ‘Deanna’ holds a special place in my heart and it propels me back to a fearless and less fractured time. It remains “a song that yearns to be sung.”
No carpet on the floor
And the winding cloth holds many moths
Around your Ku Klux furniture
I come a death’s head in your frock
As for your question, Serge, Deanna’s mother was American and each Christmas she would leave Melbourne and head back to the U.S. for the holidays, leaving her maverick daughter in charge of the house that sat high up on the south bank of the Yarra River. Perhaps anticipating our behaviour, her mother covered the furniture in the living room with protective white sheets—the Ku Klux furniture, we called it.
What happened to Deanna? I’m not really sure. She went to live in the States, and we lost touch. But for me she lives inside the song, imprisoned there, just as I am in all my songs, and that is the melancholy beauty of them; songs become a form of entrapment—you write one and then throw away the key.
Craig, I’m not sure if I have quite reached the same highs as those times while sober, but then again I also haven’t reached the kind of lows that eventually came with taking those ‘lovely substances’— bashed up in police stations, dehumanised in rehabs, near-death experiences, suicidal thoughts, routine overdoses, reduced motivation, broken bones, being ripped off, liking Charles Bukowski, social and physical anhedonia, herd mentality, dead friends, fucked up relationships, abscesses, car accidents, psychosis, reading The Hobbit, malnutrition, creative impotence, epic time-wasting, singing flat (still working on that), talking shit (still working on that too), life-threatening diseases, and not ringing my mother on her birthday.