Boogie avec le Marquis le Marquis’ Intimate Diary

“Mrs. Elva Miller” SATURDAY, 10 FEBRUARY, 2001, NEW ORLEANS
Today, the trophy for Coolest Person Alive goes to Mr. Adam H. He wrote to me mentioning that “if you think The Shaggs are the shit, you should really look up…”


…Mrs. Elva Miller. There she is, “doing her thing,” which seems to constitute gussying up in her Sunday best, whipping up a batch o’ green pot brownies, then cluing you in to their nature with a frighteningly coquettish and ill-administered wink. And, trust me, it would be best to sample her culinary wares approximately 20 minutes before sampling her audio exercizes, because your world is about to be rocked and these things are best undergone whist somewhat sedated.

Imagine your grandmother, two months before she died, when the Parkinsons was at its worst. Remember how her hearing started to go, and you had to yell to be heard? Mrs. Miller doesn’t seem to quite grasp the concept that one must sing with the music — that it is the chanteuse’s inherent responsibility to stick with the band — not to have the band essay damaging accelerando and diminuendo tempo changes to suit her whimsy or faltering pacemaker.

Imagine Billie Holliday, older than she ever survived, and white, and after that awful automobile accident from which she recovered due solely to a young obscure doctor’s “experimental” brain surgery techniques wherein much of the damaged organ is scrapped like a layer of shit off a dropped ice-cream cone.

Envision, if you dare, a gnarled siren, luring young sailors to their deaths across the River Styx.

Conjure the sounds that make dogs howl.

Imagine Shelley Winters on Ecstasy, warbling for her supper, all twenty-four courses of it.

Try to picture a singing chicken as it is being strangled, then make it atonal.

Pretend you’re undergoing Death By Karaoke at a bingo parlour set in a junior high school in the sticks of Michigan.

Imagine you lived in Queens and had a neighbour who thought she should sing. (You wouldn’t complain about the fighting cats outside your window then, wouldja!)

Picture Frank Sinatra sucking helium balloons while his nuts are gripped in a vise as he drives down a bumpy dirt road to his execution.

My world has been totally rocked inside-out. I will forever be grateful to my old Swarthmore College chum, Tiffany, for introducing me to The Shaggs and their misbegotten musical product. Likewise, you will find your Marquis subservient until time fizzles out, to Herr Adam H. for nervously whispering the name of Elva as others might nervously whisper, “Jehovahhhhh.”

I’ve spent the morning Napstering the shit outta dis bitch. I don’t know who suggested her covers to her, for to hear dead grandmothers singing “Strangers In The Night” or “Up, Up And Away” or “Girl From Ipanema” or (shudder) “These Boots Are Made For Walking” (a walker is made for walking, honey.) — it’s just not appropriate. Sick n’ wrong.

But then neither are her brackish brownies (greenies?) nor her seizure-inducing swirled muumuu appropriate, so if you’re going to do something badly, take a hint from Mrs. Miller — go all out — throw caution and rhythm to the wind, tilt back your head and howl like a hiccuppy beagle.

Mrs. Miller, I love you!

“DJ, SAVE my life!” TODAY: Mrs. Miller, of course: “Girl From Ipanema” (2.8 MB) Work it on out, girlfriend!