I listened to this album again last week. I listened to it several times: it is one of my favourites- if I was forced to have a top 10 this would be in it.
It is autobiographical- attempting to come to terms with a father (who was one of the originators of the ‘many worlds’ quantum physics theory, but laughed out of his tenure for being too revolutionary) who drank himself to an early grave, his mother’s death from cancer, his sister’s suicide and his own mental health. It is not happy music, although displays wry humour.
Parts of the album are strangely redemptive: amidst the darkness are hints of hope and life. This track concludes the sprawling double album- things are not ‘together’, but there are hints of an accommodation with the past, forgiveness even.
This track concludes the album and often moves me to tears. Even after 10 years of having this album, I often return to it.
I know I have had this song before. It is another mournful song that I return to from time to time. With a list of chords I can strum this to a reasonable standard and the capo on the fifth fret can make even my basic chordage sound interesting.
Thinking about yesterday’s post, I feel a bit like a ‘railroad man’ right now. Christendom is in retreat. Mostly I welcome this; a ‘Christian country’ is an oxymoron. However the transition is hard- especially when you are in full time Christian work. I know to what I was called, but that ministry of reading, reflection, prayer, preaching, ‘hanging around in a community’ and being the one person who just ‘is’ in a place is daily threatened by meetings, meetings, admin,reviews and strategy (I am not saying these are unnecessary: they are vital- I just don’t feel I have the gifts to do them effectively).
Anyway…..whinging set to music sounds much better. This is a very touching version.
If I had any practice in Lent it was to abstain from luxuries. I don’t claim any virtue for this: partly it was financially driven, but there was a little bit of me that looked at my house and thought’ Do you really need all this stuff?’ I am trying (and failing) to follow the Christian Aid ‘Count your blessings’ scheme.
One of my many temptations is Amazon Marketplace; I stack stuff up in my wishlist and once it drops to a price where I think ‘That wouldn’t break the bank’ I buy. I have now overflowed my capacious CD rack. This Lent I haven’t bought anything. I am listening to old stuff. I have started to relisten to Eels ‘Blinking Lights and Other Revelations’ (2005) that is one of my favourite albums ever. It never fails to move me: simple chords well played, gravelly voice, irony, sadness, despair, death, the absence of God and some hints of redemption- that covers most bases for me.
This song is elegaic and beautiful and frequently moves me to tears:-
I can just about play this on the guitar and one day, when I’m bolder, I will play this in public.
An incredible song about aging and feeling disconnected. I once saw them play live: my memory is fading of that concert….which seems appropriate given the theme of this song. It is from one of my top ten albums ever (Blinking Lights and Other Revelations)
Things financially around here are not as tight as they have been for the last 8 years or so. Ok- I’m not quite in the Ronaldo bracket (neither have I slept with Paris Hilton to my knowledge) and holidays take a bit of financial juggling, but I can buy essentials (wine, cds, books, concert tickets, wine and wine) without planning carefully in advance.
Here is the rub- just because I can after years of not being able to, should I? For at least a week or so, this has been in my shopping basket:-
and it would be so easy to press ‘buy now’….. but I’m thinking of some good folks in Africa whom I have prayed for for 3 years and never been able to support financially before….. and I don’t know.
To paraphrase a recent blog entry quote- it is easy to just live a more religious version of suburban, consumerist life…but I want more that that……..
And to quote ‘The Divine Comedy’ from a few years back:-
‘The cars in the carpark were shiny and German: distinctly at odds with the theme of the sermon’ (Eye of the needle)
But my finger is still hovering above ‘buy now’…..
Yesterday Grace was:-
The feeling you get having led a funeral and then getting into the car and putting Eels on the cd player……
(and at the same funeral making conversation (and it being reciprocated) with someone who really doesn’t like your ministry…)