Review: Melody Maker

Puppet Love
April 29, 1995
by Taylor Parkes

COURTNEY’s not looking well. Courtney can’t stand up straight. Courtney drops her cigarette again. Courtney’s grin is frightening. Courtney stumbles on four-inch heels. Courtney this and that.

“So…have you ever seen a cripple dance?”

On the tour posters pinned behind the bar, Courtney’s face defaced, two sets of tuberous genitalia sketched in slanting towards her mouth from opposite directions, foaming with scribbled semen. Above her head: “Suck my cock, bitch.”

“Now’s your chance…”

Let’s rock and roll. A theatre of pain is a theatre nonetheless.

Courtney’s laughing hysterically. Courtney gazes blankly into the lights. Courtney’s playing the wrong chords. Courtney drops her guitar. Courtney this and that.

No. Too many words have gone down, too many unkind words, too much speculation, abuse, claims staked and property stolen, and I don’t want a part of it because… I just don’t want a part of it.

“Watch me…AS I GO DOWN…”

Why’s she doing this? Why’s she still fucking doing this? Why the fuck shouldn’t she?

“Hey, Germans,” giggles Courtney. “I’m a Jew. So kill me. Hahahahahaha!” Big, big cheers. Courtney squints into the clapping hands bemused, with an unsteady stewardess smile.

And I close my eyes and I’m thinking of the wracked, razored, piss-sting of stranded sexual longing and the rancid wallow of fucking when you do not want to, and snapping back at the snakes and the scum – as though that could ever be Hole again – and not this interminable, sad slalom through missiles and voyeurism and nakedness and crossed wires, spinning pointlessly, for ever and ever.

Courtney spreads her legs; in the photo pit lenses are erect. A bouncer yawns. The long-haired boys chant American abuse like a siren song; with a hand cupped to her ear, Courtney wanders nearer the crowd, bumping up against monitors, close to tumbling off the stage. Veins stiffen.

“What’s the German word for ‘slut’?” she queries. “Courtney!” they cry. “Huh, you’re cute. Oh yeah, you’re real cute.”

“Go on, take everything, take everything….”

“What if I do a song called ‘Dachau’? Hahahahahaha!” Big, big cheers. Courtney, they’ll take anything. Come on, you know that by now.

That’s the thing about “survivors”. They’ll never be allowed to do anything except survive. Not now in these times where rock stars are cut down to size, when depressives are scared to speak out because everyone feels like a fake if they feel something. I’m thinking of this gradual close-down of consciousness, where experience gives way to empathy which gives way, finally, to emptiness.

Yeah, a survivor, a “strong woman”. Never mind that this “strength” fascinates you simply because it might just snap at any second and vindicate your muffled life, or that you turned up tonight hoping to see a woman die, preferably photogenically, preferably spectacularly and preferably onstage. Nevermind that you’d fuck your mother for a slice of pie.

It’s getting late. Courtney won’t stop smiling. Courtney drops to her knees, onto her back. Courtney stands up and starts throwing things. Courtney stops for a second, sways a little. Courtney stops smiling. Courtney this and that. Big cheers. Big, big cheers.

Her voice is blank, badly pitched. “He only loves these things because he love to see them break…”

Let’s rock and roll.

Pain is something pimped, 22 Deutschmarks at the door.

Fuck you.

I’m not thinking of anything.