Friday, 8 April 2011
Tragedy queen, well you set the scene
Me (aged 40): So what did you think of that song then? Did you like it?
Him (aged 11): He sounds a bit sad and depressed.
Me: Why do you say that?
Him: Perhaps he just realises he can't sing very well?
Me: That's a bit unfair!
Him: But it is true.
So who were Gentle Despite? Well, they were mainly Simon Westwood and Paul Gorton. At least one of them could sing a little bit. They came from Leeds. The song below was the third track on their second, and what would be final release entitled 'Torment to me' (Sarah 45). It came out in 1991. The last three minutes of this song... where to even begin? It just shows me the way home, you know. The path is lit up by the shimmering guitars, the tiptoeing bass, and, I'm convinced of this, the restrained xylophone or glockenspeils or vibraphone etc. I mean, even more than that spectacular Peel Session recording by The Field Mice (which will be the subject of a future essay from myself, soon), it represents, in a perfect form, everything I love and adore about this kind of music. You are sent to another time, where you can just close your eyes and be at (relative) peace with yourself and others. The voices, yes, they do stop sometimes. I guess, overall, this music is my version of those click-clacky Executive Toys that sit on oversized desks in large office blocks. You know, the ones that are supposed to prevent stress from taking over and, rather ambitiously, preventing heart attacks. Anyway, shutting the fuck up for a moment, if you decide to chance a listen, I recommend headphones, to catch the creeping nuances and devious interplay - those tiny wee subtle bits that fall inbetween the hops, jumps and cracks of an ageing piece of vinyl. For that is, indeed, what it is made of. Another time, another place, our Sarah.
Gentle Despite - 'Shadow of a girl' (6.35)
PS. Unusually, for me, the image above has nothing to do with the words or the music. It's the holidays right now and I was just out with D and R (and their visiting Granny) the other day and noticed the pin-on-thingie in this gift shop. It just made me laugh. Out loud. And I even smiled.