Well now this is weird. I was reading Nicholson Baker‘s 2011 novel House of Holes, subtitled “a book of raunch”, when I came across a reference to Vancouver’s very own darlings of trill, the Be Good Tanyas.
In this passage, about midway through the book, a guy named Wade wakes up in a hotel room in the House of Holes (which is either an actual house or the name of a sex amusement park, or maybe just a state of mind – I’m not entirely sure) and orders up a woman from room service.
So far so good, right? Up comes Koizumi, who describes herself as “a sculptor” and also “a collector of wet-dream memories.” Pretty soon, Wade is feeling her up:
Wade felt her breasts.
“I’m sorry they are quite small,” Koizumi said.
“Nonsense, they’re exquisite, and you know what the Be Good Tanyas say. ‘The littlest birds sing the prettiest songs.’ You know the Be Good Tanyas, right?”
“Yes they’re Canadian. I’m Canadian Japanese. I believe in supporting Canadian singers.”
Did you catch that? Is that not a weird and obscure reference? The thing is, the reference sticks out especially because up until that moment in the book music has barely been mentioned, if at all, never mind the name of a specific (and real world!) band.
On another note (pardon the pun), the reference took me right out of the story—which until then was a pleasant and porn-y fantasy, almost completely devoid of any real-world references. So aesthetically, I’m not sure if it’s a reference that entirely works.
Still, it was pretty fun to come across a Vancouver band in House of Holes, of all places.
Music video – Be Good Tanyas, “Littlest Birds”: