small blue flowers


how do you know it's love if you've never been in love before?

Top tip: want to see me cry like a girl? Sit me in front of this film with a box of tissues on a rainy day. Hell, do it in the middle of summer and we're still talking many tears.

Luc Besson's Léon (sometimes referred to as The Professional) has often drawn comparisons from Lolita but to me it has more in common with Harold and Maude. It's a love story and it isn't a love story all at the same time. I tend to get a touch ranty about the portrayal of love in films because nine times out of ten I see glamour and little else. Léon has it's share of dark glamour, he's a hit man, a cleaner, there's murder, drugs, corrupt cops and Gary Oldman being truly frightening. This is the frill around the edges though. The true story is the burgeoning love between a young girl who has lost everything and a hit man who wants nothing.

The film I'm familiar with has many differences to the intended film. Léon is actually Italian (Leone) but because Jean Reno is so very French I never really realised that. The film was sliced and diced for the sensitive American audiences removing scenes of an uncomfortable if not improper nature. Matilda (Natalie Portman in her first starring role aged twelve) confesses to falling in love with Léon and yearns for a different type of intimacy. The cut version loses a scene where Matilda plays Russian roulette to force Léon to admit he loves her. We also lose a scene with them going to bed together. Going to bed in the most innocent of ways I might add. The lonely hit man is used to sleeping in a chair next to a gun but his relationship with Matilda and the love he has found for her, the very innocent love, gives him a new found joy in life. He wants to sleep in a bed and he wants to take care of her and she wants nothing more than to stay with him. It's beautiful. It's tragic.

So, after trying to make the point that there is nothing sexual between these two characters and that a simple love is a beautiful thing I'm going to talk about a song which on the most superficial level is, well, a bit filthy.

His wicked sense of humour
Suggests, exciting sex

Björk's Venus as a Boy is present in instrumental form during key scenes between Léon and Matilda. It's interesting because on the surface it's a sexual song, scratch the surface and it's still a dirty song. But, it's not just a dirty song. And this is the point. Written about her partner at the time Björk has said that this song is about finding beauty in all the places it lives but few people ever think to look.

the beauty of brushing your teeth and the beauty of waking up in the morning in the right beat and the beauty of having a conversation with a person

So I have lost most of my guilt in relation to wittering on about the films as well as the music because the more I look into these things the cleverer I realise most movie music is. The sentiments in this song echo the sentiment of the film. Whilst it might look like there's a sexual connotation to the goings on in both (overtly in the song, suggestively in the film) the real meaning behind both is about discovering that pure love or beauty or however you want to refer to it.

I like Björk. When this blog becomes more established you're bound to notice I don't really have a lot of love for female vocalists as a rule but how on earth can you not like Björk? She's mental, she has a simultaneously strong and fragile sound, she really cares about what she's doing and did I mention she's mental?

If there's one thing she's famous for (asides being mental) it's her generally pretty out there videos.

She gets very involved with the ideas and the making of her videos and Venus as a Boy is no different. This is where we get back to the sex. I'm not totally naive you know, but, whilst the underlying beauty analogy works well within the context film the erotic nature of the song is not to be denied. Venus is after all the goddess of love who is always naked in the paintings. This sexuality is, believe it or not, mirrored in the video. Honestly. She's not just rolling an egg about randomly you know. This video is directed by Sophie Muller and before it was made Björk gave her a copy of The Story of the Eye by Georges Bataille to explain what it is she wanted. The novel is, according to amazon,surreal and sexually explicit...

Only Georges Bataille could write, of an eyeball removed from a corpse, that "the caress of the eye over the skin is so utterly, so extraordinarily gentle, and the sensation is so bizarre that it has something of a rooster's horrible crowing."
So now we know why the rolling about on the skin, but the egg? Amazon helpfully states that the "music video alludes to Bataille's erotic uses of eggs". Interesting fact, Story of the Eye was published under the pseudonym Lord Auch (literally, Lord "to the shithouse"). Thanks wiki for that one.

There wasn't enough time for the director to read the book before the video was made and this resulted in a not so happy Björk with the end result of the egg. Apparantly frying is bad.

No way is that book about a fried egg! I'm sorry. Poached? Okay. Boiled? Okay. Raw? Okay. Because it's too hard. It's rough and it's greasy, It should be about being sort of liquidy and wet and soft and open.....
Björk - Venus as a Boy

This track can be found on the album Debut and was released as a single on two cd's featuring various remixes and some bootlegs (such as fireworks) have alternative versions.

Just for the sake of completeness, for those who are so minded, there is a surprising cover. Horrendously smiley Corinne Bailey Rae, yes, summer dress wearing, bicycle riding, disgustingly optimistic Bailey Rae freaking me out by singing the words 'exciting sex'. She totally ruins that line for me. I've given a link. rather than a download because lets face it. No one wants to listen to that more than once.

Buy: Léon / Björk / The Story of the Eye

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