I was thinking back to primary school the other day, a bunch of annoying wee pricks crammed into a hall and forced to sing along to songs that were supposed to be non-denominational, but usually featured some kind of bigging up of the Bible etc. There was the usual turgid fair of musical parables of some of the Old Testaments’s greatest hits (Jonah, Noah) plus a smattering of so-called ‘new religiously-themed tunes’. Whichever vacuous, loveless human, void of all imagination could come up with such guff music as ‘He’s got the whole world in his hands’ or ‘Think of a world without…’, will one day reap the collected ire of a generation.
Anyhow, it was the latter that popped into my heid the other day, a surefire proof of the brainwashing power of crap music when exposed to formative minds. The song was the standard tawdry affair of verse after verse of thinking about a world in which nothing good existed. After all, that’s what kids want right? To imagine an existence devoid of family, friends, animals, nature, shelter, music, and joy. The canon of Calvinistic suffering comes around in a major-key lift in the chorus, when we discover that all these things are here for us, not because of community of family, or human emotion, or even the best efforts of Edinburgh City Council’s parks department, but because of god.
Think of a world without any music
Well following on from the last post, in which music filled the air of the G14 postcode, fighting through the incessant drone of the Clydeside Expressway, the musicians have been moved on due to some jobsworth park user’s complaints to the police. What a world.
That’s it. I’m out. I give up.
As the environs of Victoria Park return back to the music-free rumblings of traffic, kids screaming, swans fighting, people talking, and football teams training, one or two bile-filled punters will remain slightly vindicated in their utterly selfish decision to remove all trace of artistic expression from a park. This act of petty power-tripping reminded me of the threat-laden, musical experiences of childhood singing. Without god, nothing would be good. Substitute god for a soulless park user (a comparison which I am sure would delight whoever felt so offended by Kenny Rogers covers as to call the emergency services) and here we are. Stop the bus! I want to get off!
But from the ruins of musical expression always comes some degree of hope, indeed if there is one thing that music doesn’t lack it’s resilience. This week’s musical joy was brought to me by blog regulars, Felix and the Sunsets.
Pianos are somewhat underused in rock in my honest, but unimportant, opinion. I was thinking about Roxy Music, Supertramp, Queen, Elton John, The Velvet Underground when I got the new single from the Leith-based rockers.
Get lost,Leaving on the Next Train
In a very weird world,
She’s a hell of girl,
Won’t you give it a whirl.
Or so they theorise,
Yet people spend their whole lives,
Doing things they despise
As with their debut single, ‘This Will Change’, Leaving on the Next Train carries with it that golden ticket of rock lyricism: a message. The bottom line is this, a world in which the desires of the few trump the sustainable existence of the many, time and time again, is, to paraphrase Felix Christie:
As for spending your life doing something you despise. Well for any born and bred millenial, the line isn’t so much a statement of fact, but a mantra.
I cant wait,Leaving on the Next Train
I’m leaving on the next train,
We can get away.
As with all good rock tunes, there’s an element of escapism too, in this case based around the good old-fashioned leaving power of a train. In practice, due to essential travel requirements, train journeys are few and far between these days, but Felix and the Sunsets don’t care about that. This is the Wild West era of Scotrail travel, where furlough schemes and government regulations have left almost no guards and an inexplicable number of day returns to Uphall (where is Uphall anyway?)
As music is taken away from one place, it crops up in another. It’s this defiance that will keep the whole train rolling on, despite the wishes of a privileged few. Join us.
If you want me to write about your music then you can get in touch with me here.