Vancouver’s Be Good Tanyas make a guest appearance in House of Holes
Nicholson Baker‘s House of Holes is subtitled “a book of raunch.” With Baker’s erotic imagination in full-flight, the 2011 novel certainly lives up to this description. It’s so imaginative, and so not rooted in the real world, that it came as quite a shock to this reader when I came across a reference to Vancouver’s Be Good Tanyas.
In the 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). He orders up a woman from room service.
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? 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 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 such an unusual setting.