the contrails are tracing their spiral and arc


I thought I would kick off with something that makes me think of spring.

Not sure entirely why this one does, well it’s in the first line of the lyrics of course, but apart from that maybe it’s the way the organ chords vibrate like sunshine, like sunshine that turns up one day like an old friend you’d lost touch with, like sunshine that is still cold and clears away the new year residue, and makes you notice dust and fills you with an urge to clean up the place.

Or maybe it’s because the song contains sadness and mourning but also joy (a new genre I’ve just made up called Euphoric Nihilism – ha!). This song was written by Pete Atkin and Clive James (yes, that Clive James). I don’t understand why they are not held up there alongside Nick Drake and Leonard Cohen and the like to be honest, because they certainly are that dear to me. Maybe it’s their blending of humour and seriousness (not apparent in this song – it holds it’s hardcore poise all the way).

Anyways, they did a bunch of albums in the early 70’s (“Beware Of The Beautiful Stranger” and “Driving Through Mythical America” in particular are stone cold killer) on which Pete sings. I love his understated voice and his impeccable phrasing, but somehow I can’t imagine him singing this song – but Julie nails it. She went on to work in musicals and to be the first ‘Evita’ (and also pops up in Jeff Lynne’s concept double album monsterpiece “War Of The Worlds”), so maybe that’s why she can bring the bombast and hyper-emotion to this track.

There’s obviously something very Scott Walkeresque about the whole thing – arch, overserious and seething with weird undercurrents, but if it’d turned up on Scott 4 you wouldn’t get the strange contrast that happens here – due to the prim engilsh rose edge in Julie’s voice.


posted by magic


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