09 October, 2007

Laid Them on the Green

They might be the cause of embarrassment if you reveal them during a karaoke performance, but the mondegreen is often a thing of pleasure. That wonderful moment when you realise that they lyrics to a song weren't quite how you thought they were.

My first experience of this was in 'I Will Survive' by Gloria Gaynor, in which my seven-year-old self was convinced the song was about a woman refusing to be friends with a boy who bullied her at school. After all, 'weren't you the one who tried to hit me with your bike?' Later on, one of my oldest friends tried to convince me that Madonna's 'La Isla Bonita' contained the words 'Last night I slept with some Dago' and 'Chocolate goolies, Ice for free.' I wasn't fooled.

Madonna seems to have a real skill for these things though. Who can forget 'Erotica', where she urges: 'Bill Oddie, Bill Oddie - put your hands all over Bill Oddie'? Or that glorious chorus from 'Ray of Light' where she eulogises over a former Brookside actress's obsession with glitterball-illuminated garden pond decorations: 'Anna Friel - is a disco gnome!'

A really obscure one is the reluctance of Liberty X to acknowledge how influential a certain Doctor Who writer has been on their career. Why else would they take time out from their cover of 'Ain't Nobody' to refer to 'The Russell T we cannot mention'?

Once you start noticing mondegreens, you begin to hear them all over the place. My own version of it is, I think, slightly influenced by Tourette's Syndrome as I frequently hear people say the most filthy things only for them to repeat themselves and I discover they were actually asking me if I could flick their cat out or something.

And that, your honour, is my defence...

(p.s. – I do love that my spellchecker doesn’t recognise the word 'Tourette's' and offers 'toilette' as an alternative. Is it trying to say I'm a potty mouth?)


Shug said...

Madonna songs must lend themselves to mis-heard lyrics as I thought Bedtime Stories contained the decleration to "Get unconcsious on 'E'"

Such wilfull decadence Madge!

Spaceminx said...

There's a line in 'I am the Walrus' that I've been mishearing for ages. It goes something along the lines of "Where d'you get your tan from..." but I always hear it as "Where d'you get your tampons..."

I bet this is where you tell me that I was hearing it correctly.