Saturday, February 22, 2020


Answering to the earlier post, oddly I think it apt we cover the event after the event. Valentines Day, or the Feast of St. Valentine, has never quite resonated for me. Yes, I have received cards over the years, nearly as many as I have sent, but it has never been a delivery that would damage the postie's back. And, as my wife pointed out this year, we seem somehow to be missing the point, babysitting the grand-daughter this year, and entertaining my brother last year. Somehow you old romantic not.

My defence is that, in restaurants, Feb 14 is a date to avoid, all pink prosecco, heart shaped salmon pieces and blood on the carpet. (Blood on the carpet? Well, there's always at least one couple whose sense of duty has overshot the tint on their spectacles.) Nope, like New Years Eve, Mothers Day and St Paddy's day, I'm staying in, ta!

The song featured is by an artist I have mentioned before, making no apology there around. Hell, I even used this same song, for which I will have to apologise, but read on, I will explain. From agit-prop spiky solo bard of Barking to the only slightly less spiky older statesman of political song commentary, Billy Bragg has always lightened my heart, both musically and intellectually. Having little time for Twitter myself, his feed is actually a presence worth following, being, variously witty, acerbic or just plain right. (Sure, it helps if you are a goddam lefty pinko as well, to keep the Valentine colour theme alive.) Coming from his 1988 LP, Worker's Playtime, it is a rancorous song of bitterness. Confession time, I always took it be allegorical: the phrase is often used to describe the bursting of any bubble, but it is a much darker piece, as I learnt from this excellent article. Gulp. 

Little more to say than that, really. And, should you not have found the above sufficiently chilling, here is a sparser still version, from a John Peel session.

Unable to leave you staring bleakly into your consciences, not all injuries being just physical, here's another favourite, two really, June Tabor and the Oysterband, from the first of their occasional collaborations, an altogether more upbeat version of the same song. But it is the same song, and I really must learn to listen harder to the lyrics.

Um, I hope you all did have a good day, if the opportunity arose. After all, the card industry can't support itself.

(Postscript: I noted the link to the earlier Tabor/Oyster piece commented on the two of my weddings. I have since had a 3rd, so maybe the old romantic after all, yes? Maybe we should go out next year...)

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