Sunday, February 07, 2010

Sunday Morning Forced (Failed) Metaphor #1: Egyptian Reggae vs. Swedish Reggae

(First of all - YES, I did write a blog entry this morning at 4:30, one that is far more personal, provocative, and self-revealing (or what passes for it here) than my typical posts. Your question is likely - Ali, were you still awake from Saturday or just up early on Sunday? Neither. I was in between two 180-minute sleep sessions. Second of all - YES, I did push that entry's prominent top-of-page position down below that of my first entry in the SMF(F)M entry. Finally - my Super Bowl pick? New Orleans... nothing but New Orleans 34-17.)

In 1977, Bostonian / future desert hobo / troubador / icon Jonathan Richman released a song called Egyptian Reggae. Though not a fan (nor a detractor) of reggae, I acknowledge this song's genius. This is Egyptian reggae. It sounds exactly like what you would want it to sound like. No need to try to top it. And no one has. 

In 1990, Finnish ethno-folk-jazz collective Piirpauke released a song called Swedish Reggae. Like Sweden and Finland in all wars, I am neutral regarding whether this song achieved Swedish reggae-ness. But really - can we trust the Finns to capture what Swedish reggae is all about? Those dudes are practically Russian.

I was born in Sweden to a Swedish mother and an Egyptian father. The family as a whole was really more Egyptian than Swedish, Dad's homeland entering our psyches more often and comprising a greater chunk of the family sensibility. As with the nationalities, Egyptian Reggae is the more well-known, more readily available song. In fact, I didn't hear Swedish Reggae until earlier today after reading that Pavement singer Steven Malkmus wanted to name his first post-Pavement-breakup solo album Swedish Reggae, a fact which caused me a disturbingly large amount of glee. In the end, the album was self-titled. Malmkus chose no title at all over Swedish Reggae. (And Pavement has reunited!)

So, if Egypt and Sweden played against each other in World Cup Reggae Soccer (stay with me here), the final score would be Egypt 2, Sweden 1, the swarthy husky moody brooders garnering both their goals in the first half and then employing tight Gaza-level defense the rest of the way, never allowing the pressure to drop. The lanky tousle-haired Scandi-boys do score a too-little, too-late goal in the 88th minute, when the Mediterraneans begin celebrating too soon by singing One Love while facing east.

On how many levels did I fail, metaphorically? I'm going with six.

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