Thursday, 5 September 2013

Birch tree agonised - please advise

On a certain social networking site I have been entertaining (or not) family and friends with youtube clips of fave songs which actually might be better placed here. I think the reason I haven't placed them here is that a few lines of writing doesn't seem adequate, and the best pieces on this blog have, I think, been the longer, more considered ones. But those arose out of having no other writing activities on the go, a situation which has changed. So, on the understanding that this is low level, Division Two stuff in terms of care, the following series of posts contain some of those songs and what I wrote to my limited audience at the time. Or, as in this case, writing taken from an earlier blog post.

Not long after the news of his death I was upstairs in Tower Records in Picadilly Circus when they were playing On Again! On Again! (the album). There was an additional pleasure in hearing it unexpectedly, and at such a time. Not exactly on the scale of the vigil at the Dakota, but someone working in the shop must have been responding to the death - or scenting a marketing opportunity. Whichever it was, the music felt like a glass of cool, clear water after whatever aural alcopops had just been blasting out, and I delighted in being reminded of his capacity for taking pains with details - "rascally episcopal", "pussyfooting butcherman", not to mention "wild as little strawberries" - but it was The Rain on the Mountainside, with its blind persistence and final note of defiant hope, which got to me most - and it is clearly poetry, not comic verse. A bare transcript cannot convey the strange half-growl ("singing in hi-i-i-is") with which he invests the final line.

As a sort of companion, here is Van Morrison's The Philosopher's Stone.

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