August 24, 2016
Remembering Rough Trade’s ‘High School Confidential’
Deb Chachra writes:
As a ten-year-old girl, I didn’t know any of this. What I knew was this: First, the song didn’t sound like much else that I had heard on the radio. It opens with now-classic New Wave synthesizers, which reappear occasionally throughout the song, but as soon as Carole Pope’s vocals come in, it’s clear that it’s something else. The song is now about Pope’s low, husky voice and theatrical delivery, set to a relentless beat that evokes a swaggering strut down the school corridors. It sounded dangerous. (It still sounds dangerous, in fact.) And I knew it was an incursion from the world of being a teenager, even though I didn’t understand a lot of the song (like, who’s Anita Ekberg?). As an even younger child, I had found myself reading Roald Dahl’s decidedly adult short story collections (such as Switch Bitch) because I had precociously used the card catalog to find more books by the author of some of my favorite books, like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach. As with “High School Confidential”, I don’t know how much I understood of Dahl’s stories, but I knew there was another world coming for me. And I wanted to go there.