26 January 2009

Tori Amos

Under The Pink
Atlantic, 1994

My bedroom was at the front of the house, a large brick cottage styled on the homes in California and built with the remnants of an ancient ship for rafters. At night I could hear them arguing through the walls – enormous double-bricked things that stayed cool to the touch no matter how hot the summer was. When the temperature became unbearable I would push my body and my face up against them and suck the cold out of the mortar and the paint. I slept on top of an empty bunk-bed with a dark blue frame that matched the aluminium blinds hanging over the window. There were stars stuck to the roof that glowed in the dark.

After dinner I would climb up into to bed to listen to the radio and read John Marsden's Tomorrow When The War Began. It was the first novel I had ever chosen from the store myself, one of those "young adult" books with a particularly bleak story about a group of young teenagers, led by the narrator Ellie, who go camping and return home to find their families missing and the town invaded by soldiers. Once or twice a night the radio would play 'Cornflake Girl' by Tori Amos, which had been released the same year – a dark pop song with cascading piano and melodramatic lyrics, which, with a strange sort of desire, I would always imagine being sung by the character in the book.

At night, when he was at work, they would continue their arguments punctuated by the slamming of the telephone. When it got too bad I would barricade myself inside the room – back up against the pale wooden chest of draws, trying not to slip on the floorboards, pushing it across the doorway. The door would bang against the chest, again and again, and finally rattle back into place. One night she stopped and then returned with a bucket full of my old toys and smashed them, one by one, against the blocked door as I pushed on the chest from the other side. She stopped and broke down crying. I never listened to the radio again.

1 comment:

  1. This is a brilliant review Andrew. I'm an aspiring music journalist. Seems to me you made use of fiction writing in this review. Was that your intention?