Sunday, March 31, 2013



The tragedy of life is rich with pathos masked in a comic garb, the “brave face” smiling and laughing to hide the heartbreak. Veritably tears of a clown. Eddi Reader, erstwhile Eurythmics backing singer and Fairground Attraction  frontperson, has long maintained a grasp of this truth, her canon full of bittersweet paeans of loss, often arising from the pen of longtime collaborator Boo Hewerdine, with whom she has also often performed
I have long enjoyed her nuanced style, always on the edge of counterpoint to the lyric, something she even manages with her repeated journeys back into the works of Robert Burns, her national poet, which I strongly commend to you.
For some reason this song always makes me think of the pointless sham of emoticons, inserted within all too many an e mail or text to make up for the one dimensionalism of the correspondence. All too often, unfortunately, that facility is then abused as reason to then take less effort in the verbal content and context. Simply, you can say whatever you like, however offensive or aggressive, as, by the simple addition of a smiley face, the recipient will “know” it is but a funny joke, undoubtedly folding up in mirth.  Or not, but the sender can retain their clear conscience and integrity. Or not. I have to say I am unsure whether this is so unsubtle as to deface the name of irony, then so often  invoked as an additional get-out clause. That seems the true irony of it, but it seems akin to having to wave fingered inverted commas around a spoken statement. Or, as in this song, so as to lighten the pain of a breaking heart, by adding “joke”, as a preconceived afterthought.
I’m mindful that this, my 2nd posting, seems similarly lugubrious to the last, with deathly serious subject matter, sung by women who, one suspects, might occasionally seem painted as difficult, thus perhaps eradicating any sense of laughter from the thread, bar its title. For this I make no apology: just as the devil does indeed seem to have the best tunes, so too is melancholy far more emotive a trigger than is comedy. For this reason neither I, nor, I will wager, will anyone be putting up the Laughing Policeman.;-)


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