It’s such a pleasure to feature powerful, cool women on the site. Today we have something of a double whammy in DJ, editor and journalist Hanna Hanra telling us about fellow powerful female, Siouxsie of Siouxsie and the Banshees fame. Just to make this even more meta, the chosen Banshees track is about a very powerful, female-oriented Middle Eastern story – how cool is that? As well as being one of the last people to ever interview Lou Reed (jealous) Hanna is also the editor of trendy music mag BEAT and has written for bigwigs such as Vogue, ELLE, The Sunday Times, The Evening Standard and GQ. Here she is on her love for a very rousing Siouxsie video…
Hanna Hanra: Siouxsie and the Banshees – Swimming Horses
I genuinely have actual for love Siouxsie and the Banshees; Swimming Horses is one of their poppier songs that reached top 30 – driven by that rolling piano melody, but sonically, it hides the sorrow of the song, which is about a woman in the Middle East that Siouxsie had seen on a documentary. The woman had a tumour in her belly, but of course everyone in the village thought she was pregnant. The doctor removed the tumour and took it to show her village that she wasn’t pregnant (pre-marital sex being punishable by death, obviously). The villagers didn’t believe the doctor that she wasn’t pregnant, so her mother poisoned her to save her being stoned to death.
I love this video. Apparently Siouxsie hated it and it was never officially released. Who knows why, perhaps it’s because she’s wearing a cowl-neck bat wing sweater. It looks very comfortable and we all know that’s not her thing really, is it. Or maybe it’s because Robert Smith is in the background, they all fell out and he left the band to start The Cure (she allegedly called him Fat Bob). Sioux was never afraid of tackling difficult topics in her songwriting; the band emerged at the very dawn of music videos. You can’t really imagine any pop stars in the charts right now writing about women’s rights in the Middle East, using the abstract simile of male sea-horses giving birth as the pop hook, can you?