Monday, January 10, 2011

The Tabloid press says despair... I say music!

The tabloid press, backed by some cod-act psycho-babble experts, say that the second Monday in January is the low psychological point of the year.  Yes it is, arguably, not the best for many and today the gloomy wet weather has not helped too much either.
The remedies that they espouse (often rather costly sinecures, which is odd as at least a large part of the malaise is deemed to be of a financial nature) amaze me.

My solution is simple, certainly very cost effective and at least in part can easily be shared.  Go home, get warm and enjoy some cheap, simple and easy home-made comfort food.  This is an entirely positive, guiltless trip - for it eschews any excess of Christmas past.
The music is something of an issue, for the faux jollity of seasonal tunes has likely worn thin, and who wants to revisit the ex- in X-factor just yet?  This is where we might end up at odds.
It has got to be good music, in the sense of accomplished and that which has stood the test of time, but it must possess a healthy measure of another attribute.  By healthy I mean that it must be so utterly downbeat that it can only possibly make one realise that the second Monday in January could actually be worse... indeed very much worse.
That there is something very English about this is quite inevitable. There is one album that works perfectly for me in this capacity. It even prefigures the Monday morning issue by finishing with the track 'Hated Sunday' and yet ultimately subverts the issue as a whole.  It is perverse, lyrically fearless, but by never exceeding its self-imposed dimension shows itself to be a masterful piece of writing, editing and recording. This is it:

 Black Box Recorder - England Made Me (1998)

It is sometimes said that the late 199os was a sterile phase in UK music, something that is certainly not true now.  If that were indeed true this was one glorious exception.  I'm not convinced that it contains even one truly optimistic song but also, in Uptown Top Ranking, there is a totally twisted cover of the single originally written and recorded by Althea and Donna (1978).

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