Saturday, August 11, 2007

Holiday Listening

Just back from a week-long family holiday in Dorset, where plenty of driving meant plenty of listening to music (negotiated amongst a family of five, all with strong opinions on such matters). Most Listened To CD was the eponymous Libertines album, a superb collection of songs of which Music When The Lights Go Out is probably my favourite. Much time also spent listening to Disc 2 of 2001 compilation Unbelievable. This was a sweet-and-sour experience, as I can't bear Blue Monday but can happily drive along to the La's, Charlatans and Inspirals.

At a motorway services stop-off, I bought CDs by the Ordinary Boys, Kaiser Chiefs, and ... wait for it ... the Best of the Boomtown Rats. Yes, really. The sleeve notes would have you believe the Rats are the ultimate late-70s voice of the Irish urban streets. That honour, of course, goes to the Undertones, but I was a Rats fan at the time, and not having listened to them for some time, a few of the songs gave me a happy surprise in remembering how good they really were - particularly Rat Trap, Looking After No.1, Someone's Looking At You and Like Clockwork. Bob Geldof, eh? There's a man who should have stuck to the music and given the politics a miss. Or actually, should have retired from the music before the forgettable songs at the end of this collection and given the politics a miss.

Saving the best til last, Extras, a gathering of out-takes b-sides and oddities from the greatest band in history - that's The Jam for the uninitiated. Amongst the gems is a version of Burning Sky more acoustic than that on Setting Sons. A song about making your peace with capitalism, it couldn't help but remind me of Alan Johnson's recent renunciation of Marxism. Obviously, unlike Weller's first-person character, Johnson has not become a business suit, and I am not accusing him of such, but here are the lyrics, so perhaps you will see what I mean ...

How are things in your little world, I hope they're going well and you are too.
Do you still see the same old crowd, the ones who used to meet every Friday.
I'm really sorry that I can't be there but work comes first, I'm sure you'll understand.
Things are really taking off for me - business is thriving and I'm showing a profit and.
And in any case it wouldn't be the same, 'cause we've all grown up and we've got our lives
And the values that we had once upon a time seem stupid now 'cause the rent must be paid
And some bonds severed and others made.

Now I don't want you to get me wrong, ideals are fine when you are young
And I must admit we had a laugh, but that's all it was and ever will be,
'Cause the Burning Sky keeps on burning bright.
And as long as it does (and it always will),
There's no time for dreams when commerce calls.
And the taxman's shouting 'cause he wants his dough and the wheels of finance won't begin to slow.

And it's only us realists who are gonna come through 'cause there's only one power higher than that of truth and that's the Burning Sky.

Oh and by the way I must tell you, before I sign off, that I've got a meeting next week,
With the head of a big corporate I can't disclose who but I'm sure you'll know it and.
And the Burning Sky - keeps burning bright. And it won't turn off til it's had enough,
It's the greedy bastard who won't give up, and you're just a dreamer if you don't realise,
And the sooner you do will be the better for you,
Then we'll all be happy and we'll all be wise and we'll all bow down to the Burning Sky.

Then we'll all be happy and we'll all be wise and together we will live beneath the
Burning Sky.