Saturday, December 23, 2017

I wear black on the outside 'cause I'm in mourning for my life

Okay, am I seriously the first person on the Internet to propose that the Smiths' "Unloveable" is inspired by Chekhov's The Seagull?

Consider: the song does not have a lot of lyrics, yet two, possibly three, of its phrases echo memorable lines in The Seagull.

"I don't have much in my life, but take it, it's yours" = "If you ever need my life, come and take it" (Nina's message for Trigorin)

"I wear black on the outside 'cause black is how I feel on the inside" = "Why do you always wear black? / I'm in mourning for my life." (first lines, Medvedenko & Masha)

"And if I seem a little strange, well, that's because I am" (possibly) = "I really liked your play, Konstantin Gavrilovich. Oh, it's a little strange, and I didn't hear the end, but even so it made a deep impression on me." (Dr. Dorn to Konstantin. This one is more of a stretch than the other two, but credit to my friend Alan C. for suggesting it!)

And it is well-known that Morrissey quotes from plays in some of his other songs -- I don't envy anyone who gets cast in A Taste of Honey these days, now that so many of its lines are more familiar as Smiths lyrics.

C'mon. I googled "the smiths unloveable seagull" and nothing like this post came up, but I can't be the only sensitive soul who appreciates both 1890s Russian drama and 1980s jangle pop and is equipped to notice this lyrical connection...

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