You oughta know a little better

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Given that I played Jagged Little Pill quite a lot in 1995, I’ve got many Alanis Morissette memories. A favourite involves being at her concert and – choreographed perfectly to illustrate the “when you scratch your nails down someone else’s back / I hope you feel it” line – the woman in front of me screeched out the lyrics with spectacular vitriol and dragged her talons down through the air. I decorate the memory by imaging she was snarling.

At 15 I had no idea how she felt, it just seemed dazzlingly – albeit hilariously – theatrical. It still does. At 33 I understand her a little better, although as a nail biter I probably couldn’t carry off the move.

Anyhow, as much as I like that story, that woman, a far better Morissette story – and also about the same “You Oughta Know” track – was in the news this week.

Let’s roll the tape back a little. Firstly, we need to force ourselves to remember Full House. For me this is a brutal task because I went to see The Aristocrats and am now forever traumatised by the comic “stylings” of the wimpy patriarch Danny Tanner (Bob Saget). Nevertheless.

So the oh so twee Full House – airing between 1987 and 1995 – was about three so-totally-not-gay guys living together in a house in San Francisco while raising a gaggle of variously irritating and Aryan daughters.

One of those so-totally-not-gay guys was Uncle Joey.

And it’s Uncle Joey who’s got us reflecting on those heady days of 1995.

Nearly twenty years on, Uncle Joey is claiming that Morissette’s “You Oughta Know” was written about him.

I’m not sure which line he owns most triumphantly, but I’m quietly assuming it’s:

Is she perverted like me

Would she go down on you in a theater?

Truth be told, I’m having a reaction not dissimilar to the time Simply Red’s Mick Hucknall decided to claim he’d slept with 3,000 women.

(slight head tilt) Really?

It’s not like I think Uncle Joey is lying – the veracity of his claims don’t really interest me – it’s the why.

Why now?

What’s his agenda?

What – besides a very belated ego stroke – does he get out of this bizarre confession?

He says the song is about him and I immediately think of Nina van Horn (Wendie Malick) on Just Shoot Me! claiming that the song Superfreak was written about her. Van Horn was a drunk and had delusions of grandeur. It made sense.

According to Uncle Joey, rumours about the song have persisted for years. Maybe. And maybe I’ve not heard them. Maybe they just weren’t as loud or persistence as those surrounding songs like Carly Simon’s You’re So Vain or Leonard Cohen’s Chelsea Hotel No 2 or Paul Simon’s Hearts and Bones. You know, songs people actually care to know more about.

For a few years post-Full House, I actually thought Uncle Joey had made it. You know, in the Big Time. I mean he was in The Purple Rose of Cairo, no? The Newsroom? Uh, no. That’s Jeff Daniels. And they apparently aren’t the same person. Uncle Joey was played by Dave Coulier.

David who? Dave Coulier. Ahh, yes, so maybe that’s why.

September 23, 2013

© Lauren Rosewarne

Original Source: The Conversation