Saturday, September 17, 2005

"Going Down to Liverpool"

I've always had a sweet tooth. It comes and goes, this craving for confection. I'll be trundling along doing whatever occupies my time and I'll pull myself up short, thinking "I could really use some sugar around now." And I'm off to the candy store. A quick burst of chemical sunshine, a fizzing mix of natural and unnatural substances and my blood sugar is up, I'll look out at the world with a renewed smile. Hey presto.
This is the aural equivalent. Such a simple little tune, something the harmony groups of the 60s might have whistled up in during their mid-aftenoon snack. This smells of California, eucalyptus trees, a warm evening and a gentle breeze whispering through the garden.
What's a little disconcerting is how this is a song about having no hope, about being unemployed: "Hey now/Where you going with that load of nothing in your hand/I said, hey now/All through this green and pleasant land?" The contrast is complete, a harmless little bear-trap that grabs your ankle quite gently and suggests how easy it is to dress up the uncomfortable realities in a lattice-work of spun sugar, like cotton candy. After the sugar is gone, you're left with the stick.

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