Goffmanesque

I wrote this song in July, 1979. The song is concerned with the anxieties that a man may feel as he gets ready for a date with a woman he obviously likes (and wants to impress). The song addresses the preparatory sub-episodes that might take place either mentally or through acts of preparation, prior to the date itself. Although the theme is related to my other song, 'Fried eggs for breakfast', its topic occurs earlier in the chain of events that might eventually result in a happy union of minds and bodies.

The title of the song is an acknowledgement to the sociologist Irving Goffman and this should be apparent to anyone who has read his lovely book 'Presentation of Self in Everyday Life'. The hero of the song, who may or may not have been me :-) is fussing over the way he will present himself to his date. In Goffman's terminology, he has some degree of freedom over the way he manages the impression he conveys and this song explores the sorts of things he agonises over while constructing his 'amorous' persona.

I've always enjoyed playing this song. Here are the lyrics to the first verse, to give you an idea of what's happening:

Should I take my Levis to the launderette
Should I smoke cigars or buy some cigarettes
Should I change the sheets and tidy up the bed
Maybe that's too premature, nothing much's been said
The song has a slightly jazzy feel to it and this is brought out more on the 1982 recording on 'Just for the record', mainly thanks to the lead acoustic guitar played by my friend Patrick Vercambre. When I play live solo, I often here his guitar over the top of what I am playing and sometimes feel sad that the audience are not able to hear that too! The song has a slightly irregular structure (as do quite a few of my songs). The chorus comprises two sections: taken together they involve a descent in the guitar accompaniment with the left hand starting high on the fretboard around the 12th position and slowly snaking down to finish on a basic A chord with open strings down at the bottom. Then I come up to the 5th fret to start the verse which climbs back up to the top again, fret by fret. It is in this verse section that the drift into jazz chords is most pronounced.

ISRC = GBGHU0300009

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