It is one of the greatest songs ever: an anthem to outsiders and to those who don’t ‘fit’. Up there with my ’10 greatest gig moments ever’ is watching this song live.
I was sat talking with someone this week who had struggled, but still had that kind of spark that always makes me sit up. This song began to play and it seemed curiously fitting: those who don’t fit- sit down next to me….
This week I was lucky enough to be able to see a gig (my wife complains that I am often at gigs: true I am at another one next week, but the last I went to was in December: that is practically a lifetime ago): James, supported by Echo & the Bunnymen.
This is older music than I normally listen to (I remember Echo from nearly 30 years ago: when I hear the music I am transported back into a world of teenage insecurity once more), but James are so good live. And this time they experimented with songs written in the last week: I like that- it so tempted to be a living karaoke band.
But this song, live- I can die happy now. It is rare you see a band stepping back, almost completely and letting the audience sing the whole song.
Whatever I listen to, whatever avenue I follow, I am firmly convinced that this is one of the all time great pop songs.
I went to a gig this week: ‘James’ at the Sage (Gateshead) with an orchestra and a choir. Good, different, but as me and my friends looked around the hall at the rest of the audience we said ‘Surely we are not as old as that?’ We were- we look mid 40s but feel mid 20s (although when it gets to 9.30/10 there is a sense of ‘I’m tired and I want to go to bed’). Maybe rock bands and their fans will never die; they will just orchestrate their back catalogue and play to septuagenarians in well heated and seated concert halls.
This song is one of the great outsider anthems (and only 3 chords- bonus!); they didn’t do this (which was a pity as I really wanted to arrive late and someone yell ‘sit down!’ at me). One of the great songs: a song where, to use an overblown cliche, the hairs really do stand up on the back of your neck.
There is a song by James that has a lyric like:-
‘After 20 years, I’ve become my fears; I’ve become the man I always hated’
In the car I turn into a grumpy old man. One of the many things that makes me grumpy is 4x4s driven by people who don’t need them: they guzzle fuel, block narrow lanes and as for the argument ‘they keep my family safe’, I want to scream ‘but not any family that you bump into- they are more dangerous’.
However, following our car being written off (see a few days ago)someone has lent me for occasional use a Honda 4X4 (rural area- working at funny hours etc means that often I cannot get to places without another car).
I drove it last night…..and it felt sweet….. I have become Jeremy Clarkson (British reference)….