Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Radio Week: Dessa and Strings Attached by Judy Blundell

Kady's Radio week entry is fantastically retro...
The song:

Dixon's Girl by Dessa

The book:
Strings Attached by Judy Blundell

Dixon's Girl is about a female musician, married to a much more successful and famous singer, who uses his fame to hide the fact that he's abusive to his wife. The narrator of the song finds out one night while the two are stranded at a club after performing and uses this song as a kind of encouragement to her new friend. "You're stronger than he is, you're more talented than he is, you'll come through on top despite his connections and the way things look right now."

In Strings Attached, Kit escapes to New York to follow her dream of becoming a dancer and Broadway star during the early 50s. After struggling for a while she reluctantly accepts help from her ex-boyfriend's father, a rich and kinda shady businessman. He sets her up in her own apartment and with a highly sought after job, dancing in a mob operated nightclub. And all he asks in return are certain favors. They may seem harmless at first, but Kit quickly realizes that she's in over her head and completely uncomfortable with the way her life is beginning to go.

Both Dixon's Girl and Strings Attached are about young women struggling to become independent of their more influential male partners. While appearing to the world as weak and malleable, both women are fighters and will probably be able to break free when they decide to stand up for themselves.

The music video for Dixon's Girl goes even farther to link these two stories. Dessa evokes an old school glamor noir feel for her video that I've come to associate with Judy Blundell's work (see also: What I Saw and How I Lied). Even the first shot of Dessa as a singer with her hair curled up in victory rolls, standing in front of an old microphone is pretty reminiscent of the cover of Strings Attached.

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