Wednesday, August 12, 2009

tuneful as all get out

I was listening to the iPod in the car earlier, as you do, and I was singing along with Big Star's Dony, as you do, and one particular lyric stuck in my ear:
bright as star shine
hot as daylight
yeah and streamlined
as all get out
Couple of points to raise here. Firstly, the answer to the "wait, who?" question is: Big Star were a group from Memphis, Tennessee who released a couple of albums in the early 1970s that didn't sell but remain massively influential - the famous saying about the Velvet Underground attributed to Brian Eno ("only about 1,000 people ever bought a Velvet Underground album, but every one of them formed a rock and roll band") could just as well have been applied to Big Star. The CD you absolutely must have is the one with both their first two albums #1 Record and Radio City on it, available absurdly cheaply from Amazon. Dony is from their unexpected comeback album In Space from 2005. The song for which they're most famous is probably September Gurls which was covered by, among others, The Bangles.

Secondly, note the last line of the lyrical fragment above ("as all get out") - that's a quintessentially American expression. A quick Google reveals more examples than you can shake a stick at, from an article about cuddly squid-shaped USB pen drives to photos of ugly dogs to live-blogged Perl coding tips to rock bands to rubbish films to dodgy builders. Interestingly the last one is Australian, so maybe they say it too. I couldn't find anything on the origin of the phrase, apart from this deeply unconvincing explanation which, slightly bizarrely, purports to be from a letter to Time magazine in 1939.

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