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Crass “Bata Motel”


In celebration of finishing the transfer of all our KU videos to a digital remote format, here’s a band that I wouldn’t have paid attention to and a song I wouldn’t have known without The Karaoke Underground. In our first year of doing shows, we got an email from someone who heard about the show and was excited to come, but then decided not to because we didn’t have Crass or Bikini Kill. Given that we started doing the show with less than 100 songs and still had only about 200 at that point, there were a lot of holes in the list. At over 500, there are still a lot of holes! But these were bands I never listened to – just “knew about” – and I figured they weren’t good for singalongs. When I finally listened to “Do They Owe Us A Living?” and “Rebel Girl,” it really drove home the message that it’s good for people to point out my ignorance.

A while later, someone asked for more Crass, but with Eve singing.  I was ready with “Bata Motel” from the excellent Penis Envy, a devastating critique of the way the fashion industry acts to disempower the women who accept its values.  Focusing on high heel shoes, Eve Libertine spits out lines like “I’ll be your bonsai, your beautiful bonsai, your black-eye bonsai, erotically rotting.”  It’s exaggerated of course, and easy to dismiss if you want – my man doesn’t beat me up or threaten me with violence – but the point is a good one.  And the alliterative rhythm of the lyrics is right up my alley.

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