Song of the Day: Fitzpleasure by Alt-J (∆)

Last Exit to Brooklyn by BaddogLtd

This song was inspired by a chapter from Hubert Selby, Jr.’s 1964 controversial novel about the brutality of urban life, Last Exit to Brooklyn. Lyrical allusions include “Tralala,” (the title character of a prostitute character in the book) and “broom-shaped pleasure,” (the chapter ends with a particularly gruesome gang rape of Tralala involving a broom).

Lyrics:

Tralala, in your snatch fits pleasure, broom-shaped pleasure,
Deep greedy and Googling every corner.
Dead in the middle of the C-O-double M-O-N,
Little did I know then that the Mandela Boys soon become Mandela Men.
Tall woman, pull the pylons down

And wrap them around the necks of all the feckless men that queue to be the next.
Steepled fingers, ring leaders, queue jumpers, rock fist paper scissors, lingered fluffers.
In your hoof lies the heartland
Where we tent for our treasure, pleasure, leisure, les yeux, it’s all in your eyes.
In your snatch fits pleasure, broom-shaped pleasure,
Deep greedy and Googling every corner,
Blended by the lights.

-What is Fitzpleasure?
Fitzpleasure? Erm

-It’s not rude is it?
It is rude, well it’s not rude, it’s graphic and it’s violent. It’s based on a book by Hubert Selby Jr [Last Exit to Brooklyn]. Each chapter is about a different character and they all intertwine throughout the book. There’s a woman called Tralala so that’s why we sing [sings] Tra-la-la-la there’s a character called Tralala and it’s just about her. So basically the phrase is ‘in your snatch fits pleasure, broom shaped pleasure’ so fits and pleasure and Fitz like a second name, like Fitzpatrick so we thought Fitzpleasure, so more subtle. But it’s about the end of the chapter where she gets, er, gang-raped, so it’s really horrible.

-Who read the book?
I did. I always believe that you write about what moves you and although that gang-rape scene is horrible… it really moved me, it’s really well written, you don’t really know which way is up after that chapter. I thought it was a really powerful thing to write about.

[songfacts]

The song title does not feature in the lyrics. Speaking with Secret Sound Shop, frontman Joe Newman explained: “Basically the phrase is ‘in your snatch fits pleasure, broom shaped pleasure,'” he said, “so fits and pleasure and Fitz like a second name, like Fitzpatrick so we thought Fitzpleasure, so more subtle.”
Newman explained to Secret Sound Shop why he chose such a shocking subject matter for the song: “I always believe that you write about what moves you,” he said, “and although that gang-rape scene is horrible… it really moved me, it’s really well written, you don’t really know which way is up after that chapter. I thought it was a really powerful thing to write about.”
Another link between Last Exit to Brooklyn and rock music is that The Smiths titled their 1986 album, The Queen Is Dead, after a different chapter in the novel.
Mentioned both in this song (“Dead in the middle of the C-O-double M-O-N” ) and “Bloodflood,” The Common is a park in Southampton, the South England city where Newman grew up.
The lyric, “Dead in the middle of the C-O-double M-O-N” was inspired by a line from Puerto-Rican/American rapper Big Punisher’s 1998 track “Twinz,” which goes: “Dead in the middle of Little Italy. Little did we know that we riddle some middlemen who didn’t do diddle.” Newman explained to NME: “There’s a gang in Southampton called The Mandela Boys. We were scared s—less of them when we were kids. The (next) line, ‘Little did I know then that the Mandela Boys soon become Mandela Men’ is me wondering whether they’re still in the gang or if they’ve just all got jobs and kids now.”

Alt-J  (also known as )

Origin Leeds, England
Genres Indie rock, alternative rock, art rock,psychedelic folk, experimental
Years active 2007–present
Labels Infectious Records
Canvasback Music
Website altjband.com
Members
Joe Newman
Gwil Sainsbury
Thom Green
Gus Unger-Hamilton

image by BaddogLtd

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