Ya see, man made the cars to take us over the road.
Man made the train to carry the heavy load.
This is a man’s, man’s, man’s world. But it wouldn’t be nothing – nothing! – without a woman or a girl.
The Godfather of Soul’s “biblically chauvinistic”1http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/the-500-greatest-songs-of-all-time-20110407/james-brown-its-a-mans-mans-mans-world-20110526 song was the highly ironic random selection that popped up on my iPod today as I went to work out. Beverly had left about 30 minutes ago to pop into work, get some of her paperwork and say hi to her new coworkers2before she leaves them on a week-long trip to Vietnam, China & Indonesia, but I digress.. The hotel room is under her name. My immigration paperwork says “dependent” on it. I couldn’t have chosen a more ironic song, but of course I grooved to it on the bike and hit back once to hear it again.
Lyrics aside, “Man’s World” is one of my favorite James Brown songs. The steady rhythm with the horns/strings laid on top make for a one hell of a blues arrangement. The slow plucking on the violin during James’ litany of man’s accomplishments carries a suggestion of sarcasm and cynicism. The long violin notes during the chorus have always given me a sense of melancholy of the state of affairs, as if the song is better delivered with a sense of depression and cynical resignation.
There’s no cynicism here, however. Writing from this perspective might just be the branding opportunity that I can work with – flipping the narrative is a powerful literary device if done from a perspective of truth. Being the male dependent of a working expatriate woman is an uncommon arrangement, and in some places, from some origins, unheard of. This is a narrative that I can tell with ease.
I let James Brown slip off the iPod as I finished up on the bike and grabbed an open treadmill3I still hate the fucking things.. Paul Oakenfold’s “Ready Steady Go” began to play, a much more appropriate song, which if nothing else inspired me to gun the throttle on the hamster wheel.