Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Grey Couches for Grey Gardens

Photo of grey couch in Portland OregonPhoto of grey couch in Portland Oregon
Photos of grey couches in Portland Oregon.

On our way to Pacific City Oregon, we stopped in Portland for lunch with a friend. (The day was gray and cool, which was a huge relief after the recent heat dome over the northwest.) While saying our goodbyes in a neighborhood east of downtown, we saw these two grey couches. Apparently, outdoor furniture is alive and well in Portland too.

After a moment of thought, the song "Grey Gardens" by Rufus Wainwright came to mind. The song is about (among other things) the film Grey Gardens about two Edith Beales, mother "Big Edie" and daughter "Little Edie". They were aunt and first cousin, respectively, of former US First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The pair lived in poverty at Grey Gardens, a rundown mansion in the wealthy Georgica Pond neighborhood of East Hampton, New York. Perhaps these couches would have appealed to the Beales. One for Big Edie and one for Little Edie.

The song "Grey Gardens" is on the 2001 Poses album by Wainwright. The start of the song features a line from the film spoken by Little Edie:

"It's very difficult to keep the line between the past and the present, You know what I mean?"

Honey, I'm a roller concrete clover, Tadzio, Tadzio
Arm wrestle your mother simply over, Tadzio, over you
But beware my heart can be a pin, a sharp silver dragonfly
Tryin' to get my mansions green
After I've Grey Gardens seen (gardens seen)

Tadzio refers refers to a character in Thomas Mann's novel Death in Venice. From a Rolling Stone interview Wainwright said: "It was a very surreal collage of all of my favorite things at that time. Whether it was Grey Gardens or Death in Venice or brooches or dragonflies, it was all just mushed together in my head and that song was the outcome."

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