Saturday, April 30, 2011

Day 30 – The 30 Day Song Challenge – Your favourite song this time last year...

Song 30 – Your favourite song this time last year – ‘Answering Machine’ – The Replacements

The Replacements
The final song, my favourite song a year ago, would probably be my favourite song of now.  That would make for a nicely circular but rather boring finish to this series of blogs so I’ll pick a song that I was listening to an awful lot at this time last year.
'Answering Machine' - The Replacements

This is an album track from the ‘Let It Be’ record by The Replacements.  Once again it’s one man singing and playing a guitar but is very different from the acoustic songs that I already picked.  The vocal is ragged, hoarse and raw.  The guitar is scuzzy and played in a style that you couldn’t get close to on an acoustic instrument and there are even a couple of samples playing away in the background.  The lyric, about the agony of trying to reach someone through something as impersonal as an answering machine, is dated and yet curiously relevant with the array of emails, texts and voicemails that we have now.  They’re all ways of allowing two people to communicate but often prevent them from really reaching each other.  Sometimes you just need to hear that human voice.
Art Brut - The Replacements

The Replacements are an alternative American band, formed in 1979, who released a series of critically acclaimed but commercially unsuccessful albums in the early to mid 1980s.  I’m afraid to say I’d never heard of them, until I heard a song about them by the band ‘Art Brut’...
 “I can’t believe I’ve only just heard of The Replacements, some of them are old enough to be my parents”
...sings Eddie Argos on the track.  I think Art Brut are great and so I hunted out a copy of ‘Let It Be’ which is reckoned to be their best album (no.15 in the ‘Best Albums of the 1980’s in Rolling Stone’s 1990 poll).  It’s certainly an excellent record and worth having a listen to.
The other song I was playing to death a year ago was ‘The King of Spain’ by ‘The Tallest Man on Earth’.  I’ll pop it on here too as it’s a lot more jolly and so is a nicer way to finish the songs I’ve posted.  It was around a year ago but here he is performing it on 'Later with Jools Holland' a couple of weeks ago.
'King Of Spain' - The Tallest Man On Earth 

Well we made it to the end!  It was a little touch and go on a couple of days but I managed to hit the ‘post’ button before midnight each day, even if it was a little closer to midnight that I would have liked.  I’ll post the full list tomorrow and probably examine it overall next week to see what patterns I can see.
Thanks for reading along.  I hope I reminded you of some old favourites, maybe introduced you to some new ones and at least made you appreciate your own music more!

David Millington
30th April 2011
Nottingham

Friday, April 29, 2011

Day 29 – The 30 Day Song Challenge – A Song from your childhood...

Song 29 – A song from your childhood...’Angelo’ – Brotherhood of Man

Brotherhood of Man
I’d actually forgotten all about this but it came on the radio a week or so ago and suddenly it all came back to me.  Brotherhood of Man were a sort of Northern club circuit version of Abba.  Their best know song is probably the Eurovision winning ‘Save your Kisses for me’ but this is the one that sticks in my memory.

Brotherhood of Man - Angelo


I probably picked up on it because there was a story in the lyrics so it was an easy song for a child to follow, just another nursery rhyme really.
For some reason there was a schoolyard version of this song as well.  I do remember singing the words...
“Long ago, high on a Mountain called Rattern Row,
there lived a young boy called Fostero,
he had a skateboard that wouldn’t go.

Down the street,
Faster and faster like Barry Sheene”
(Rattern Row is a street in Wadworth, the village where I grew up.  I can vaguely remember ‘Foster’, a kid a few years older than me but couldn’t give you his name (Neil perhaps?).  Fans of 1970’s motorbike racing will remember Barry Sheene as a legendary 70’s sportsman.)
I don’t know if there was any more than this.  I’ve no idea where this came from but it must have been something on TV that was changed by some particularly quick witted kid.
The song is a huge knock-off of Abba’s ‘Fernado’ (the song that Alan Partridge named his son after of course) but it’s kind of fun and catchy.  It stuck in my 5 year old brain anyway.  I wasn’t to hear the Sex Pistols, who released ‘Never Mind the Bollocks’ that year, for another 10 years or so.

David Millington
29th April 2011
Nottingham

Celebrating the Royal Wedding


So, after weeks of feeling mostly indifferent to the Royal Wedding I suddenly seem to have an opinion on it.  I’ve struggled to care about it, having no emotional capital invested in ‘William and Kate’, but also couldn’t find it in me to be particularly cynical about the occasion itself or to view it as a reason to attack the monarchy.  There are hundreds of other weddings happening today between couples I’ve not met, so why care about that one?  But to use someone’s wedding day to raise issues of the relevance of the monarchy and the place they have in our country seems churlish.
I think the moment it suddenly got to me was seeing, on the BBC website, a picture of a couple of girls, in wedding dresses, beaming away and heading out to watch the wedding.  They looked like they were going to a giggly fancy dress party, aware of the silliness of what they were doing but not caring at all because it’s fun.  They didn’t look like die-hard monarchists or seem to be from the more eccentric end of Royal fandom.  They had their own idea of what the royal wedding was about and that was what they were going to celebrate.  Maybe they were dreaming of meeting their own princes (maybe they will today - how brilliant that would be!), maybe they’ll think about their own wedding day, maybe they’ll just have a fantastic time, buoyed by all that excitement and the camaraderie of the crowd.  Anyway, I was suddenly touched by the whole day and the whole occasion.
I must admit that I did laugh and sneer at the people who’d come from New Zealand and Canada to watch the wedding when they were interviewed on television earlier this week.  But other stories have seen people spending thousands on Olympic Games tickets which isn’t really any more worthy. And other large gatherings of people, at football matches this week, have been tinged with violence and the sort of hatred that leads to bombs being sent to prominent supporters of the opposing team. It’s a long way from the gentle eccentricity of the ‘united nations’ gathered outside Westminster Abbey.  In this context spending all that time and money to celebrate the love of a young couple and to wish them happiness seems more understandable, noble even.
So I’m going to watch the wedding and I’ll drink a toast with my cup of tea to William and Kate.  And I’ll be glad of all the people who’ve seen fit to travel to London from all over the world to be a part of this occasion.  I’m sure that for some it’s about celebrating the monarchy, but I’m sure for many more people around the world it’s about more than that.  They seem to be celebrating a symbol, not of monarchy but of love, of fairytales, of dreams and of happy endings.   That seems worth celebrating to me.  So let’s make this one couple an excuse to wish for joy for all of them.  And let’s dream dreams of happiness today so that tomorrow we can work harder to make them happen. 

David Millington
29th April 2011
Nottingham

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Day 28 – The 30 Day Song Challenge – A Song that makes you feel guilty...

Song 28 – A song that makes you feel guilty...’Can’t Shape Up’ – The Wonderstuff.

The Wonderstuff - HUP - their second album
Feeling guilty is a part of being human.  Life’s a complicated business and even when you do what you’re sure is the right thing you can still end up feeling for the people on the wrong end of your decision.  It’s related to the ability to feel empathy towards people and so it’s nothing to be ashamed of.  Equally, guilt can be a crippling emotion.  It can paralyse you and prevent you from moving forward.  Being able to keep a sense of proportion and a sense of reality is important.  The world does not revolve around your actions.  You cannot move through the world without creating ripples, deliberately or otherwise and sometimes these ripples will have an impact on others.  You have to be able to forgive yourself when this inevitably happens.

I don’t feel guilty about much.  Most of my stupid actions have affected me more than anyone else, which is a lucky position to be in.  But I have to pick a song and so I’ve chosen this.  It reminds me of the first girl I ever kissed, my first girlfriend I suppose.  She was really cool, too cool for me really.  I was young and young for my age.  I was a bit freaked out by all these new feelings.  I felt great when I saw her, felt bad when she wasn’t around and didn’t like that someone else could dictate how I felt.  And rather than talk about it, which was far too mature a thing for me to do, I stopped seeing her, retreated back onto safer ground.  I didn’t speak to her, write or phone.  I don’t think I understood just how badly I’d behaved until years later and didn’t understand how much it must have upset her until I was dumped for the first time.  I still feel bad about this and while there are more useful bits of advice I could give to my younger self, I wish I could tell him to talk about it with her and then if I wasn’t happy to behave in a decent way.  So this is something I still feel guilty about.  Is it too late to apologise I wonder? It seems a long time ago but for what it’s worth I am sorry.  I think that in the end my timidity and cowardice cost me more than it did her. How different things might have been if I’d have grown up a bit faster.  For all my cleverness I do miss the point far too often.  This has turned into a confession!  Bless me internet for I have sinned.
The Wonder Stuff - Can't Shape Up - Live 2010

Here’s the best version of this song that I can find.  It’s not great – sorry about that.  The lyrics aren’t particularly relevant, but it was a band we both loved and I certainly felt like I’d run away from someone.  It is a great song, have a listen on Spotify.
The Wonder Stuff - It's yer money I'm after baby

The Wonderstuff!  They were a terrific band, at least for the first three albums.  Their hits are probably their worse records, their cover of ‘Dizzy’ being fairly dull and hugely overplayed at indie discos and ‘Size of a Cow’ also being a little silly.  Have a listen to ‘The Eight Legged Groove Machine’ and ‘Hup’ to hear them at their best.  They’re full of gloriously poppy and catchy snarky guitar songs that would have seen them become a huge band if they’d appeared 10 years later.  Hup has some of their best songwriting on it, with great melodies and lyrics.  Here’s ‘It’s Yer Money I’m After Baby’ and the countryesque ‘Unfaithful’ from Hup.  You can hear how much they developed from the pure power-pop of ‘The Eight Legged Grove Machine’.
The Wonder Stuff - Unfaithful

The Wonderstuff, make their acquaintance or renew it!

David Millington
28th April 2011
Nottingham

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Day 27 – The 30 Day Song Challenge – A Song that you wish you could play...

Song 27 – A song that you wish you could play...’Beeswing’ – Richard Thompson

Richard Thompson


Richard Thompson is a huge cult hero to many people, although he’s someone I came to late, only getting hold of any of his stuff in the last few years.  I fell in love with this song in particular although he is a great songwriter and for those who know (and I’m not in a position to judge) a great guitar player.  I would love to be able to play this as it’s just lovely and if I was good enough to be able to play this then the sky’d be the limit!
Richard Thompson - Beeswing (live, solo)

This song has got the most beautiful melody and his playing of it is divine. It’s simple and understated but with the most luminous passages imaginable.  There’s something medieval or baroque about elements of the tune, but the fiddle and Northumbrian pipes give it a nice folky air too.  I really love the lyric, a love ballad in a traditional style that deals with a real person although not a real relationship.
Richard Thompson - Beeswing (album version - extra instruments!)

Richard Thompson’s had a couple of folk singers from the 1960’s in mind when he wrote this.  Vashti Bunyan and Anne Briggs.  I wanted to talk about Anne Briggs a little more as she was more steeped in the traditional folk scene and the revival, rather than Vashti Bunyan who was more of a pastoral folk player.  You’ll probably have heard Vashti Bunyan as one of her songs was used heavily on a mobile phone advert a couple of years ago.
Vashti Bunyan - Diamond Day

Anne Briggs was born in Beeston, near Nottingham, and raised in nearby Toton by her aunt and uncle.  She cycled with a friend to Edinburgh when she was a teenager and there met the young Bert Jansch who it’s likely first turned her onto Folk Music.  When Ewan MacColl (father of Kirsty and Scottish folk stalwart) was touring England with A.L ‘Bert’ Lloyd (another key figure in the revival) on a TUC sponsored trip, he heard the 16 year old Briggs sing and immediately asked her to sing on stage and then join them on tour.  At 17 she left home and went to London to pursue a music career.  She’s a wonderful primal simple singing style, very different from anything you’d hear now.
Briggs met various people, fell into various relationships and made a number of records.  She spent a number of summers travelling around Ireland in a horse drawn cart, spending the winters in Britain, gigging to raise enough money to make a living.  In Ireland she was heavily influenced by an Irish singing style, ‘sean-nos’ which she applied to traditional English songs and her own compositions.
Briggs was notoriously wild, Richard Thompson himself recalling that he only met her twice and both times she was drunk and unconscious.  It was said that she only turned up to five gigs she’d been booked to play between 1965 and 1967.
She has not returned to a recording studio since 1973 when she was living in the Hebrides.  She still lives in a remote part of Scotland and despite the urging of pretty much anyone who is anyone in the folk scene, where her style and songs were hugely influential, will not return to the recording studio.  She should be a Nottingham music legend (the competition is not strong!) but not many people will have heard her.
Anne Briggs - She Moved Through the Fair

I really like this version of ‘She Moves Through the Fair’, an Irish folk song first collected in 1909.  Anyone who remembers the 1980’s and Simple Minds No.1 hit ‘Belfast Child’ will see that they used this melody.  It’s inspired me to write something too, although more on that another time.
I’ve never heard this song played by Richard Thompson, but almost a year ago to the week I did hear a couple of young Scottish folk musicians play a very fine cover of it in ‘The Ceilidh Place’ (a brilliant bar/restaurant/gallery/bookshop) in Ullapool in the North West of Scotland.  It was one of the highlights of the year, although that was probably to do with the company.  It was a long way down from that moment.  A fantastic place to go, take some good walking gear and a book of Norman McCaig.  It’s another country in so many ways and one you should visit.
Jose Gonzalez - Heartbeats (orig. The Knife)

I’d better get back vaguely on track.  My second choice for songs to be able to play would be this.  It’s got the most amazing video too.  I saw this at the cinema as an advert but it was probably as pleasurable a 3 minutes as I’ve ever spent in front of the silver screen.

David Millington
27th April 2011
Nottingham

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Day 26 – The 30 Day Song Challenge – A Song that you can play on an instrument...

Song 26 – A song that you can play on an Instrument...’The Deeper In’ – Drive By Truckers
Me and my guitar

I thought the ’30 Day Song Challenge’ should be made a bit more challenging so I decided to actually play and record my song.  And this isn’t the one that was my first choice, but having not picked up the guitar for ages and not being very good in the first place, this is the one you’ve got!
'The Deeper In' - David Millington (orig. The Drive By Truckers)

‘The Deeper In’ is a song by the ‘southern rock band’ Drive By Truckers.  They’re not a band I know well and they’re a bit too rock for my tastes really but they’ve got some fine songs and if I ever take a road trip across the southern US states, I’ll take all their albums as soundtracks.  The lyric is a little sinister in that it’s about an incestuous relationship, a true story based on the only two people in the US who are currently locked up for this crime.  The title’s based on the saying ‘The closer kin, the deeper in’.  Lovely.  It’s a really nice little song for all the odd subject.  Well, who needs another boring old love song anyway!
I couldn’t find a ‘proper’ version of how it should sound so here’s a live version.
The Drive By Truckers - The Deeper In

I’ve linked to my attempt to sing and play Damien Rice’s ‘Cannonball’ for your entertainment.  I think it’s a really good song, perhaps spoiled for some people by the determination of the record company to use it to ‘break’ Damien Rice by endlessly releasing, remixing and hawking it to film companies to use on soundtracks.  My fingers are too sore to play anymore. In fact typing is no picnic.
 David Millington - Cannonball (orig. Damien Rice)

But while I’m vaguely on the subject of good but unfashionable songs, I’d like to stick up for James Blunt.  I bought ‘Back to Bedlam’ in 1995 off the back of a series of uniformly excellent reviews in the broadsheets and music press.  It was a nice summery album and I thought ‘You’re Beautiful’ was a really good song.  I continued to enjoy it for ages until it crossed over and all of a sudden it was too uncool for the critics to still like.  It’s harsh on James Blunt, although I suppose he can make a big pair of soundproof earmuffs from all the money he made to drown out the critics.
Damien Rice - Cannonball

It’s a funny old business being a male singer songwriter.  Huge success seems totally arbitrary.  Why did James Blunt cross-over and not Stephen Fretwell, Tom McCrae, Cherry Ghost, Amos Lee or a bunch of others.  I really hope my new favourite Benjamin Francis Leftwich manages it anyway.
Pictures - Benjamin Francis Leftwich

He's playing Dot to Dot in May in Nottingham and is the main reason I'm going.

David Millington
26th April 2011
Nottingham

Monday, April 25, 2011

Day 25 – The 30 Day Song Challenge – A Song that makes you laugh...

Song 25 – A song that makes you laugh...’He almost looks like you’ – Otis Lee Crenshaw
Rich Hall as 'Otis Lee Crenshaw'

“Prison rape’s always had kind of a bad name, so when I wrote a song about it, I wanted to make it a good one” – Otis Lee Crenshaw.
Rich Hall’s character Otis Lee Crenshaw has lots of really good funny songs.  The comedy song is not a genre I normally much care for.  Aside from a few really great performers (Tom Lehrer, Jake Thackray) they’re generally not that funny and not that good as songs.  There have been a few comics who started out as musicians (Jasper Carrot, Billy Connelly, Mike Harding), finding that the talking bits got longer and the songs fewer.  They’ve tended not do funny songs though.  Stewart Lee’s last stand-up show featured him playing a song at the end, but he got his guitar out 15 minutes early, occasionally picking out a chord, on the grounds that he’d “noticed having an instrument allows you to get away with having inferior material”.  I’d agree with him.  Again.
Otis Lee Crenshaw - He almost looks like you

Otis Lee Crenshaw’s songs are both great songs and very funny.  This one has a fine tune, a sharp lyric and enough tenderness to make it a lot more uneasy listening than might otherwise be the case.  I’ve never managed to see Rich Hall live, either in his stand-up mode or as Otis Lee Crenshaw.  I must remedy that one of these days.
Jake Thackray - The Blacksmith and the Toffee Maker

Have a Jake Thackray song as a bonus.  Jake Thackray was a Yorkshireman, who played in the French song style, the ‘chanson’, the most famous purveyor,or chansonnier being, ironically, the Belgian Jaques Brel.  Despite the French style, he’s very English and there’s a real Yorkshire flavour running through his songs.  It’s a flavour that feels very genuine and fresh to me, avoiding the ‘grim up north’ and Northern TV drama stereotypes.  He was described as the ‘North Country Noel Coward’ and while he didn’t like the label he acknowledged being a part of that English Tradition.  He was quite capable of playing some beautiful straight songs, but became a TV regular in the 1960’s and 1970's with his comic songs.  His guitar playing is quite brilliant, part jazz and part classical, just have a listen to a few of his songs.  A ‘best of Jake Thackray’ album is a worthwhile purchase.  I’ve an extra soft spot for him as he was also an old Durham University graduate and my dad once played on the same bill as him too.  Recent artists he’s said to have influenced include Morrissey, Jarvis Cocker and Alex Turner.

Jake Thackray sadly died in 2002 at the age of 64, following problems with his finances and alcohol.  There’s no-one remotely like him around now.
Rich Hall is a comic who’s a musician, Jake Thackray was a musician who could be funny.  There’s a lot of pleasure to be had in both.

David Millington
25th April 2011
Nottingham

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Day 24 – The 30 Day Song Challenge – A Song that you want to play at your funeral...

Song 24 – A song that you want to play at your funeral...  – ‘Re.Stacks'– Bon Iver
Bon Iver

This seems a whole lot less presumptuous than yesterday's song.  I did know what this song would be for ages, ‘Hallelujah’ by Jeff Buckley, but since the Alexandra Burke X Factor cover and that whole fuss, it’s been ruined for me.  I might pick the Colin Hay song that I chose as my favourite or this by Bon Iver.

It’s far too morbid to dwell on!  It’s a reflective song though, which seems appropriate, and it’s six minutes long which should make it easier for everyone to leave in an orderly manner.
I don't know why I'm worrying, the crying of the thousands of distraught women will drown out the music anyway.
Other rejected songs...
‘If You Don’t Know me by now’ – Simply Red
‘Disco Inferno’ – The Trammps
‘Answering Machine’ – The Replacements
‘Black River’ – Amos Lee

David Millington
24th April 2011
Nottingham

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Day 23 – The 30 Day Song Challenge – A Song that you want to play at your wedding...

Song 23 – A song that you want to play at your wedding...  – ‘Come What May’– Moulin Rouge
Come What May - Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor
Well it seems a little presumptuous to picking a song I’d like to play at my wedding, as it’s an occasion that I very much hope comes to pass one day, but doesn’t look at all on the cards at the moment.  Plus, if I ever get married, it seems unlikely that I’ll have much to do with the day itself, other than being told when to turn up.  When she reads this I’ll be in trouble.  Picking a fight with my imaginary fiancĂ©!  Foolish J
Come What May

This song is big and cheesy and perhaps a little camp too, but if you can’t get away with big and cheesy and camp at a wedding, when can you?  Don’t worry, I will be having a Korean mime and puppet troupe performing Titus Andronicus to add gravity to the day too.  I do really like the song and it’s a duet which seems appropriate.  It's a song I could sing and mean.  Nicole Kidman does look great in this film too.  As does Ewan – how I envy his hair.  I can live with the rest of me, but damn, I wish I had my hair back.
Moulin Rouge isn’t Baz Luhrmann’s best film, although it might be his last good one.  Strictly Ballroom is one of my top five.  It’s funny, full of heart and everyone wins at the end.  Even the baddies are just misguided and kind of loveable.  It’s good to see love triumph in the end sometimes.  I hope he makes a good version of ‘The Great Gatsby’ although it’s hard to see how he’s suited to the material.

David Millington
23rd April 2011
Nottingham

Friday, April 22, 2011

Day 22 – The 30 Day Song Challenge – A Song that you listen to when you’re sad...

Song 22 – A song that you listen to when you’re sad...  – ‘Dead Flowers’– Caitlin Rose
Caitlin Rose
I’ve not picked many ‘classic’ songs in my list so this is a good time to introduce one.  Dead Flowers is a Rolling Stones song, although I’m going for the Caitlin Rose version from last year.  It’s a fine song and her straight country version really suits it.  I can't find the studio version on Youtube so here's a live version.  She starts a little shaky bit picks it up from there.

Caitlin Rose - Dead Flowers (live)

I don’t think it’s a particularly sad song as it seems to be more about moving on and moving forward rather than dwelling on some past hurt.  It’s always good advice.  Not always easy to do of course.
Country and Western, as I suppose you could call this, has a truly terrible reputation.  While it’s true that the mainstream of country seems to produce some hugely schmaltzy songs and some politically very questionable ones, it’s important to remember that this genre came from folk music.  It’s therefore got some really sound roots, even if it’s often grown beyond recognition.  In recent years alt.country (how the alt. prefix is dated – it’s so 1990s newsgroupy!) or ‘Americana’ has appeared, which has in turn sparked a new folk revival in Britain.  People like The Low Anthem, Wilco, Ryan Adams, Gillian Welch and Drive By Truckers have produced music that’s very heavily influenced by country, if not out and out country.   There’s far too much to be said to fit into this post on that huge subject so I’ll stop there and maybe return to it in a later blog.
Caitlin Rose - Shanghai Cigarettes

Another of Caitlin's songs, this time rocking a little more.

David Millington
22nd April 2011
Nottingham

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Day 21 – The 30 Day Song Challenge – A Song that you listen to when you’re happy...

Song 21 – A song that you listen to when you’re happy...  – ‘I still remember’ – Bloc Party


Bloc Party
I only just noticed that I’ve followed a song called ‘Remember me’ with one called ‘I still remember’.  Amateur psychologists might want to read something into ‘remember me’ being the angry song and ‘I still remember’ being the happy song.  There’s maybe some significance there.  Hmmm!  Of course the ‘song I like to dance to’ was also called ‘remember me’ and that doesn’t fit the pattern so who knows.
Happy seems a much more straightforward and uncomplicated emotion than angry.  Perhaps there’s something in that Tolstoy quote ‘Happy families are all alike, every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way’.   Maybe we don’t dwell on happiness in the way we dwell and brood on anger or sadness.  If you’re happy you can just get on with your life.  Misery demands dissection.
Bloc Party - I still remember

Bloc Party are a band that have written a few songs that I absolutely love, but albums that I rarely seem to make it all the way through.  This song, from their ‘Weekend in the City’ album of 2007, isn’t supposed to be particularly happy, more to do with fond memories.  I love the melody, the way the bass carries the song forwards, the almost ‘call and response’ of the singer and backing singers, the chiming guitar.  The lyric doesn’t particularly speak to me but there are some great lines in there that really strike a chord.  It does sum up a feeling of giddy new love, when you’re not quite sure about how the other person feels, when you’re full of that scary nervous excitement. 
It’s a feeling that I’m sure I thought would leave with age, but it hasn’t yet and I don’t suppose that it ever will.  There’s a great line in ‘High Fidelity’ (the book) from the narrator when he talks about meeting a new woman he really fancies and how he’s hoping to bump into her, hoping she’ll call, contriving reasons to talk.  ‘I’m nearly 40, when will I just grow up.’  That’s a total misquote but, as I lent the book to someone, I can’t look it up.  I was reading through some Thomas Hardy poems a couple of months ago looking for a good wedding reading.  I read a number of the love poems he wrote when he was in late middle age and they’re devastating good.  Love is not the province of the young.  And I much prefer Hardy the poet to Hardy the novelist.
Here’s one of them...
I LOOK into my glass,
And view my wasting skin,
And say, “Would God it came to pass
My heart had shrunk as thin!”
For then, I, undistrest
By hearts grown cold to me,
Could lonely wait my endless rest
With equanimity.
But Time, to make me grieve,
Part steals, lets part abide;
And shakes this fragile frame at eve
With throbbings of noontide.

Thomas Hardy.

Just a quick word about the video.  The lyric to me seems pretty transparently the story of a crush between two teenage boys.  And yet the video doesn’t allude to this at all.  It would have been nice if it could have done, although I do accept this song is about relationships rather than gay or straight relationships.

David Millington
21st April 2011
Nottingham