Back to the requests and again a song that I’d never have thought to cover in a million years. Waterloo Sunset by The Kinks is one of my all time favourites so that’s always been the song from their reporteoire I’ve had eyed up to cover, and if I’m being honest I wasn’t sure how coverable Lola is nowadays.
It’s certainly a product of its time, casual references to a “dark brown voice” and in general using the idea of encountering a trans person in a nightclub as a bit of a punchline, but I don’t think it carries the malicious notions that synopsis suggests. Above all else, one of the final lyrics being “It’s a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world” makes it clear that the songwriters intent is to say that this is the modern age, those things you thought were the norm are just some of the many norms we will encounter.
By the same token I also think we can’t just erase the past either. For the most part I’m not a fan of revisionist history and the retconning of various events and art because it no longer conforms with what we consider acceptable in society. Take the recent debate over the use of the word “faggot” in Fairytale Of New York. Do I think that term is utterly disgusting when used with the intent of offending a person? Absolutely. Do I think it should be removed from all recordings of the song and the song banned as a result? Absolutely not. But in saying that, I’m not saying that the songs existence doesn’t or shouldn’t cause offence to some people. Rather what I’m saying is that in examples such as that and Lola we should use them as an opportunity to look back and appreciate how far we have come in society. Yes, there are many forces present in recent years that wish to abolish that progress. But don’t let them. Rise above it. Kill ’em with kindness. At the end of the day if they don’t move forward, they’ll be left behind.
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