Worn-out record: Naughty Little Doggie
The first time I saw Iggy Pop was also the first time I heard it, and fell in love with it, more because of the image than the sound. There are people who have such a powerful view that they capture the voyeur instantly. This was the Ball, Bowie, Michael Jackson. The list is very long. Sometimes the key is in the clothing, sometimes in some special detail of the face: the nose, the lip, an eye, a hairstyle. Sometimes the singularity can be easily removed (as in the Pibe Valderrama, for example); in others it is more difficult (I think of Snoop Dogg now, who is as skinny, as tall, as black and as rapper as many, but nobody looks like him). Some work harder and build a whole visual concept for themselves; others just have it, and let go. Iggy is one of the latter. His face is that of a child and an old man; good man and nazi motherfucker; says and hides at the same time. It is endearing, in any case.
It was at my friend Nodiel's house when I met him, through a music multimedia that was very useful in pre-Internet times, that allowed me to put a picture on many people that I had never seen. I was singing I Wanna Be Your Dog, surely with the Stooges. He wore his usual outfit: shirtless and in black leather pants, and made some very strange contortions that Johnny Rotten later imitated, as if giving the face to the public and the ass to the drummer, finishing the performance on the floor, feet crossed and right arm raised towards above, like the serpent that raises its head out of the basket, enchanted by the pungi. There I did not know yet what Iggy Pop was. Nor when I heard this album later, I think that same day. And understanding what this man means at least for rock, at most for the history of culture, does not happen in a single moment. It is a canvas that has to be worked smoothly, taking care with the same fixity both the close-ups and the background landscape.
No one is more sincere than Iggy. It is a sincerity of madness, of misfit, which is the only way to be one hundred percent sincere. A sincerity that ceases to be a virtue; because the virtue is in being as honest as one can be, not in being everything sincere, simply. It is demonstrated by themes such as Pussy Walk and Look Away, openly ephebophiles. The subject of his fondness for pubes was not new. We knew it from the beautiful and seventies Sixteen, when she said: "That’s not normal, but I love you, Sweet Sixteen". He didn't care so much about the trials in the Lust for Life era. However on this album, 20 years later, he admits to being more careful. Not because your inclination has disappeared, but because it has to be. So, in Pussy Walk, he says: “[…] I see them smiling at me with their young girl clothes and, while I smile back, I never say anything but inside I'm thinking: 'can your pussy walk…?'” . It is not that he does not care or that he does not realize that he is touching the limit of what is permissible, it is that he cannot stop telling us; its vocational transparency prevents it.
Mientras el disco gira y avanza, vamos acercándonos a este Iggy de los ’90, tembón, curtido, que ya lo ha visto todo, incapaz de sacudirse sus demonios pero lo suficientemente maduro para aprender a vivir con ellos y mostrarnos cómo lo hace. Hacia el final de Look Away, que es también el cierre del fonograma, con voz suave nos dicta el testamento moral de aquel presente suyo de fin de siglo: “So now that I’m straight / I’m settled, too / I eat and I sleep / and I work like you / I got lots of feelings / but I hold them down / That’s the way I cope / with this shitty town / I look away…”. Si no es esto, ¿qué es vivir?
Carlos M. Mérida
Oidor. Coleccionista sin espacio. Leguleyo. Temeroso de las abejas y de los vientos huracanados.