Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Song of the Day: 'Digging Your Scene' by the Blow Monkeys


The Blow Monkeys were one-hit wonders in the U.S. -- and it was a good one -- but apparently had considerably more success at home. They had four albums and eleven singles in the U.K. charts between 1986 and 1990. And then after reforming in late 2007, they released five more albums, including one live. (They're said to be planning an album and tour for 2021).

My friend Taffy reminded me that the song has long been associated with the early days of the AIDS crisis, with Wikipedia writing:
The Blow Monkeys subtly discuss the hatred and criticism of individuals who have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. Tommy Marx from PopMatters claimed that the intrigue and hatred behind the single prompted its success in becoming "a major hit." Vocalist Dr. Robert -- who is married to a woman and has children -- sings about life as a homosexual, where he worries, "Tell me why is it I'm digging your scene? / I know I'll die, baby." At the time, this situation prompted Barry Walters from Spin to write, "Dr. Robert loves camp, so it's difficult to determine if he's bi or just British." Writer Colin Larkin thought similarly, stating in his book "The Encyclopedia of Popular Music" that "Digging Your Scene" was "one of the earliest songs about AIDS." Music researcher Michael Anderson agreed, declaring the "backlash" would "court controversy."

At the time, my reporting TA at the Cronkite School of Journalism told me I reminded her of singer "Dr. Robert." I didn't really see it -- I guess I was more angular then -- but it sure beat another comparison: the Fixx's Cy Curnin. 

Ivy put out an album of covers in 2002, which included a fun gender flip of the Monkeys' biggest hit.

1 comment:

Claude Remains said...

Their debut album was brilliant! I remember playing it to death at the time!!