Sunday, 10 February 2013

... When There's Lisa(s) Around

I watched Rear Window for the first time ever recently. I thoroughly enjoyed it and can certainly see why it's considered to be such a classic. And, incidentally, I was tickled when it came to light that Grace Kelly's character shares the name Lisa with me.

Grace Kelly as a very glamorous Lisa in Rear Window (Image source)

It particularly amused both me and The Cat because her bubbly character contrasted with the serious (and occasionally grumpy) Jeff, stuck at home, was somewhat reminiscent of me and him, particularly as The Cat works from home (though out of choice, rather than being stuck in a wheelchair like the character in the movie).

I wouldn't consider Lisa at all an unusual name but, at the same time, it doesn't seem to crop up that often - for the names of characters, for famous personalities, or for people I meet in real life. And I'm always quietly chuffed when it does - especially when it is given to appealing characters, such as Grace Kelly's in Rear Window.

This goes back to my childhood, when I still remember being slightly upset by the Cat Stevens's song, Sad Lisa, because it distressed me that the only time I'd ever heard Lisa appear in a song, she was sad! I didn't know or understand any of the lyrics, except that the chorus repeated "Lisa, Lisa, sad Lisa, Lisa." Very upsetting for a young girl. More cheerful was my older brother and sister singing Happy Birthday, Lisa from The Simpsons.

Oh, and then there has been my life-long need to clarify that no, I was not named after Lisa Marie Presley. Though I struggle to convince people who know my mother because she is a big Elvis fan...

Lisa Marie and Elvis (Image source)

In more recent years, I have been infinitely pleased and endlessly intrigued by the fact that a girl called Lisa pops up in so many songs by one of my favourite bands, Belle & Sebastian.

The oh-so-wonderful Belle & Sebastian (Image source)

She first appears on the classic Tigermilk album, in She's Losing It, as Chelsea's friend. I think I may have squealed with delight and had to start the song over the first time I heard it, to make sure I hadn't imagined it. And now I always heartily sing along to the line "Who needs boys when there's Lisa around?" with my little actions, which involve a shrug as I sing "who" and pointing at myself with the "Lisa", followed by joyfully dancing around. At which The Cat always shakes his head in a despairing way...

She also gets fleeting references in Like Dylan in the Movies ("Lisa's kissing men like a long walk home...") and The Model ("And if you think you see with just your eyes, you're mad, because Lisa learnt a lot from putting on a blindfold...").

And then there's her starring role in Beautiful, off one of their EPs.

Is it the same girl in all the songs? In Beautiful, "they let Lisa go blind, in The Model, she puts on a blindfold. Chelsea's the one who's "losing it" on Tigermilk while Lisa's "only slightly mental" in Beautiful but it sounds as though it could be the same Lisa in both songs. Why wouldn't they use different names if it wasn't the same character? And I always wonder if she's based on a real girl and, if so, who she is...

And finally, as I recently discovered, there's this Lisa, which greatly amuses me:

Apple's ground-breaking Lisa computer, released the year of my birth, no less.

Is it just me, or does anyone else get like this when they hear their name used?


  1. It's not you, I feel just the same way when my name (or even one of my two middle names) is used. For example, there's a department store chain called Sears here who has a line of ladies wear called "Jessica". I've owned numerous pieces from it over the years and always loved how personalized it felt to put on a garment with my name already on the label. So cool to know that I'm not the only one who feels this way. :)

    ♥ Jessica

    1. Ooh, that would be fun to have your own name on the label of your clothes - I would definitely be enticed by that! And, now you mention the middle name, I realise that I'm the same there too - I still carry around the label from an umbrella I bought with "Miss Marie" on the label - and then that became my blogging name, obviously!

  2. That is really intriguing about Belle & Sebastian's recurring Lisa. I wonder if there are other bands or singers who have a recurring character's name. Certainly I love discovering the themes some bands seem to have. e.g. The Cure with cold and ice and snow and dead. I don't think I do have that reaction to my name turning up. Then again, I can only think of Janet in The Rocky Horror Show - and I don't think that's a good thing. I think you being named Lisa Marie, although not overtly intentional, just couldn't be helped once "Lisa" sorted :)

  3. That IS amusing - the Lisa computer! Would be ironic to have one with my name... And a lovely choice of photo of Lisa Marie Presley. Interesting that Elvis has a cigar in hand. My computer is taking a long time with the clips. I'll enjoy them later, I'm sure.

    1. Isn't it an adorable picture? But yes, I worried about the cigar in proximity to the child...

  4. omg i looooove grace kelly!


  5. love grace kelly and also your blog! It's so nice!!! I follow you!
    Pass to my blog and if it likes you follow me too, I will be so glad :D

    1. Thanks, Francesca! I'll be sure to check out your blog too.