An explanation of those O and MS of CC, and those SLM over the CH…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s colours are: drab dun, vicious violet, perky pink, ‘orrible orange, and boorish brown.

So, do you like these Some Overheard and Misheard Snatches of Cafe Conversation, and these Song Lyrics Misheard over the Cafe Hubbub that I post regularly dear reader? I hope so, I do enjoy writing them, mainly because they are very easy and don’t require much thought or effort – oh dear, I shouldn’t really have said that should I?…
What do you make of them? I suppose these two forms are quite similar, they look pretty similar on the page. Is this poetry? They do look like poems. I don’t know what else you could call them.
Poetry is a personal thing, straight out of one’s head, but these are not really straight out of mine; but then again, I suppose that they are, in that both of these things are seeded by odd real words and phrases, ignored by most, that float about in public places looking for a home. I listen for them, I notice them, hook them, pull them in and pin them down still alive and wiggling into my little notebook.
The lines in the final published piece are not of course necessarily consecutive and the spaces between them could be just a second or two, or even a whole week.
Tell you what, let’s try to relate these things to the visual arts for a moment. Are these little wordy compositions like abstract paintings? I suppose normal prose is rather like figurative painting, depicting things which are recognisable and out there in the real world. My ‘O and MS of CC’ and my ‘SLM over the CH’ are not like that at all, but they are also not like a Kandinsky or a Bridget Riley either, because they do contain real and (mostly) recognisable words.
I like to think of them as running parallel to my Decalcomania prints and my Spatter Paintings, where serendipity and chance wield a heavy hand in the process.
At this point in the proceedings, would you like me to describe how I come up with these silly pieces of work?
For a start, let’s look at the raw material; it comes in two forms: firstly, conversation and lyrics which can be clearly heard, the cafe being reasonably quiet; in this case it is just a matter of waiting for something unusual enough to be included; ‘The end came off when I pulled on it Tony.’ or ‘I’m hot, hot for you Baby Baby…‘ But secondly, this is when the cafe is very noisy and busy – you’d think this situation would be more difficult for the listener, but no it isn’t, in fact it is more stimulating, and it involves the old brain a bit more than the former situation. One has to ‘open’ one’s ears and let the mixed confused sounds and conversations just bubble away, or let the song lyrics over the speakers be nicely blurred and distorted by the hubbub. I listen carefully to this noise and try to spot the odd spoken or sung phrase that jumps out, like a little flying fish out of the sloppy sea of sound. I mentally grab one, have a wild guess at what it could be, opening up my mind to any possibility, no matter how incongruous or strange – for me, the stranger the better! ‘Ton-up waddy-way you sucker!‘ or perhaps ‘A ship on poor sand Barry, no no…
Who knows what the original phrases actually were, and who cares?
Why not try this technique yourself dear reader? I don’t have a copyright on it – go for it!…
Of course, you do have to be a little bit crazy…

About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
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8 Responses to An explanation of those O and MS of CC, and those SLM over the CH…

  1. “…like a little flying fish out of the sloppy sea of sound” oh there you are again with your boating analogy. 🙂 Well, personally I do enjoy your little observations and quirky interpretations of society. Some random tune or other always comes to mind when a particular phrase resonates, because they have a certain rhythm to them. I find, as well, that there is a theme to them – like for instance there was one you did the other day….let me put you on hold for a moment while I try and locate it for you….ah yes here we are this one had a rather romantic feel about it since it featured some love and girls. Anyway, I haven’t been able to practice this form of surrealist meditation fully yet, but occasionally I do laugh out loud at something I think I hear. I really need to sit down with a cup of tea and concentrate….. 😀

    • Dave Whatt says:

      Well, my little flying fish, of course with the misheard song lyrics ones it all depends on the songs that are playing at the time – cafe songs are inevitably about boys, girls, love, sex, romance and all that.
      Oh, and this audio observation business doesn’t really need much in the way of concentration, but the tea is essential!…

  2. Claudia says:

    I often think you are speaking a foreign language, but that’s what I like about you!

  3. parkartist says:

    So enjoying dipping into your blog, thanks for the insight into your creative process too.

  4. I hear a lot of this kind of thing when walking or running. You pass people, tune in to what they are saying, and fly past. Gone, and that fragment you were present for, well, it can be a gem pretty much any time.

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