American Stars’n’Barts

What is ‘starbart’?  And what on earth is a starbart woman?  That was the question I was asking myself back in 1972.  Oh, for a chance to access google back then! – for I would have spared myself many hours of brain-racking.  I could even have accessed the site dedicated to misheard song lyrics – for that is what it was.  I used to like Neil Diamond a lot – still do – and one of my favourite songs was ‘Cracklin’ Rosie’, a hymn to alcohol.  It’s a fairly simple song, lyric-wise, and yet that word defeated me.  Starbart.  In the end I decided it must be some piece of arcane American slang, and I gave up on it.  It wasn’t until years later that I managed to read the lyric, and found out it was ‘Cracklin’ Rose, you’re a store-bought woman.’

Here are some more:

Storebought!  Of course, it didn’t help that we say ‘shop-bought’ rather than ‘storebought’; nor that his accent rendered ‘store-bought’ into ‘starbart’.  Two countries divided by a common language again; even being one of a nation of shopkeepers didn’t help me on that one.  Though I suppose the original word was ‘magasiniers’.

Nope – according to wikipedia it was ’boutiquiers’:

It didn’t help either that as a teenager I felt hopelessly inadequate if I didn’t understand all the lyrics of popular songs.  In fact, there was so much about culture I just didn’t get, I tended to lump all of it  into one mental file, labelled ‘???’.

A similar incident happened years later with a newspaper headline – a tabloid headline, at that.  I have blogged about this before though so I will just redirect you to the relevant post:

Daniel caused us un mauvais quart d’heure yesterday by failing to arrive at the cinema.  His mobile was non-functional,  having been dropped in the bath (that’ll do it) so we couldn’t contact him.  Turns out he arrived late and couldn’t find his friends in the dark.  He was most disgruntled that we had dared to be anxious about him: God only knows what the parents of that teenage girl in France must have gone through.

I have finished Zadie Smith now, but I don’t feel my ideas have settled enough to post a proper review.  It’s not helped by my memories of ‘Howard’s End’ being vague in the extreme; and though I must have had a copy at one point, an extensive search of my bookshelves has failed to reveal one.

Anyone have a copy I can borrow?

Today I shall be mostly… going to Peter’s for yoga and thence to the Salmon beer festival.

Kirk out