Monday, 16 February 2009
15. Like a Rhinestone Cowblog...
CAUTION: Yen's blog contains harsh lanugage and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
You know Rhinestone Cowboy by Glen Campbell?
The song is ostensibly about a burnt-out entertainer, still chasing his dream of fame, even though he knows the fame he craves will be as hollow and empty as it's promise. Similar, in many respects, to the tired old rodeo artists, with their fake-diamond outfits; all glamour and no substance. Very deep, Glen (no pun intended - that'd be more of a gulley).
But anyway, is Glen really a cowboy? The song got stuck in my head last week and now it's bugging me a bit. Let's break it down...
I've been walkin' these streets so long,
Singin' the same old song,
I know every crack in these dirty sidewalks of Broadway.
Judging by this opening whimsy, it seems to me that Glen isn't a cowboy or an entertainer... he's a fucking tramp. Hey, no big deal though, he's burnt-out and scarred by life, remember? Let's go on...
Where hustle's the name of the game,
And nice guys get washed away like the snow and the rain.
Still, at least he's not bitter. I assume we're to believe he's actually one of the "nice guys", but with a hardened surface? 'Cos if he's just an arsehole then I don't think he should be allowed a public platform such as this here record.
And while we're on this section, "washed away like the snow and the rain"? What the fuck would wash the rain away? More rain? Or maybe some of that meths you've been drinking, Glen.
There's been a load of compromisin'
On the road to my horizon,
But I'm gonna be where the lights are shinin' on me...
Oh, he's rambling now, the Thunderbird's kicked in...
Like a rhinestone cowboy
Riding out on a horse in a star-spangled rodeo
Like a rhinestone cowboy
Getting cards and letters from people I don't even know
And offers comin' over the phone
...LIKE a rhinestone cowboy, or ACTUALLY a rhinestone cowboy? He's sounding quite like a cowboy, and he certainly seems to know all about the mail they receive and the manner of telephone calls regarding upcoming opportunities. Truth be told, I don't think Glen knows, but we'll get to that later...
Well, I really don't mind the rain,
And a smile can hide all the pain,
But you're down when you're ridin' the train that's takin' the long way.
And I dream of the things I'll do,
With a subway token and a dollar tucked inside my shoe...
He really is a delusional tramp, isn't he? He doesn't mind the rain because he gets a wash I suppose. I suppose bunking the train's to be expected (and I don't think I'm doing him a disservice by assuming he's going to bunk the train, either. I mean, come on.)
Although it has to be said, if I worked in a shop, and Glen Campbell came in and tried to pay for something with money he'd just taken out of his tramp's-shoe? I think I'd just give him the item and put the money in myself, just to get him out of the shop. I mean, it's not like he's going to buy anything that comes to over a dollar, is it? That's like two Curly Wurlys or something. Fair play to him for offering to pay though, and not just nicking them. Although maybe he's paying for the Curly Wurlys, as a smokescreen for the pocket full of Chomps and Fudges he's trying to lift? Campbell, you theiving bastard!
*cough* Anyway, my initial question remains, is Campbell an actual cowboy?
• He's comparing all sorts of aspects of his life with that of a rhinestone cowboy
• He knows a LOT about the lifestyle of the rhinestone cowboy. Either he's actually one, or he's been reading a cowboy's mail.
• Constant use of the simile would suggest that he's emphatically stating he's not one, but maybe he's in denial? I reckon over the years, gigging and playing the song every night, Glen's in mental turmoil and no longer knows if he's a rhinestone cowboy or not.
Maybe he's got a rhinestone cowboy locked in the basement, and Glen's assumed his identity. The oh-so-lonely life of the rhinestone cowboy makes it the perfect disguise for sociopath Campbell (assuming, of course, that "Glen Campbell" isn't the name of the real cowboy, trapped in the cellar, whimpering like a wounded dog). Glen reads his stolen mail, and answers the phone, accepting offers of work with gleeful enthusiasm; knowing that in a few short hours, he'll bask in the (albeit empty) adulation of the crowd at a rodeo. The false diamonds sewn into his outfit catch the lights, and this, coupled with his distance from the crowd, means they don't notice his grotesque mask, made of human flesh - the faces of the cowboys he's "been" over the years.
The only giveaway is the horse, unnerved by the smell of rotting flesh and able to sense Campbell's evil with that keen telephathy that the animal kingdom so-often displays. The horse bucks and writhes, anxious to get this unknown-horror off it's back, but Glen won't be moved. And the crowd goes wild at the action unfolding before their eyes... because isn't this exactly what they've come to see?
He's done this so many times over the years. He's a professional. He's a cowboy.
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He's trying to be a loveable rogue, but he's coming off like a cross between Seasick Steve and Ed Gein.
Legal Note: Glen Campbell is still going strong. He's out there somewhere...
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• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organizations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.