Saturday, 10 July 2010

My Favourite 350 Songs of All Time. #338

THE BELOVED - Scarlet Beautiful.

Terrible thing, nostalgia. Coming from the Greek word “nost” meaning “no longer able to see one’s toes” and another Greek word “algia” which probably has something to do with a love of cheap headphones, nostalgia is basically Alzheimer’s more successful, better looking older brother. Actually, that's an amazing idea for a sitcom, Alzheimer and Nostalgia, two young boys being raised and hit about the heads by a CGI Denis Nordern.

No-one’s ever written a book about the life they’re going to lead, unless my decision not to research that particular fact was a poor one (in which case, fuck it, it’s not meant to be taken seriously), but plenty have been written about one’s past. Nicholas Parsons, Lewis Hamilton, Lulu. They’re all it, writing about their past. Fuck, even Nelson Mandela’s written one.

Anyway, nostalgia. In his poem, Piano, DH Lawrence reflects on the awesome power of music to transport oneself back to one’s childhood, the sound of a particular song takes the speaker “back down the vista of years” and makes him “weep like a child for the past”. This particular song isn’t from my childhood, nor is it a particular classic of the era; it’s just something that reminds me of a certain time, place and emotion. Which is the kind of Proustian rush you just don’t tend to get sitting in front of old episodes of ToTP 2 watching Bad Manners mime to Lip Up Fatty. Not unless you were fucked silly by a gardener whilst it was first broadcast at any rate.

In March 1990, the Beloved released an album so absolutely of its moment it’s a miracle it didn’t come with a Best before date. Happiness is so drenched in a vaguely Balearic, slightly contrived House feel that it’s very much a guilty pleasure to listen to now. Eyes closed, I’m going back down my own vista of years, though the vista’s more of an eyesore than most, my knee feels a lot better, I’ve lost a few stone, gained a few teeth and suddenly found myself dancing with some horrible tie-dyed t-shirt on in a West Wales student union. I’m still fucking broke, mind.

People remember the singles from the album, Hello with its name checking of the good and the bad of eighties Britain, and The Sun Rising which ended up on an advert for Dignitas*

Scarlet Beautiful
is ridiculously good. And a bit shit. Lots of positive loved up vibes, cheesy rhyme schemes and even a tart nod to Blue Monday in the song’s climax. I can say that now, climax, couldn’t say that kind of thing in Lawrence’s day, no you had to dress it up as a flooded dam bursting or some such. Anyway, there we are then, Scarlet Beautiful by the Beloved, a song that practically reduces me to tears when I listen to it because well, it just does, right. Even though, as it often is when looking back at one's past, it isn't the fantastic place you've cracked it up to be. Right, I’m off to write something with lots of foul language in it to calm down.

*Alpen, sorry. I always get those two mixed up. Speaking of which, where’s my mum. I’m fucking starving.

P.S The singer of Beloved looks like an even smugger Richard E Grant. And his middle name is E. Spooky....

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