Tuesday Tunes 42: Move

Five years ago a new word was made up and has since become a regular feature in the language here. You may have heard of this word: Brexit. Don’t worry – after my trip into politics last week I’m not about to do it again: there is a huge temptation to have a rant, but I’ll try not to succumb. The reason for mentioning it is that it has provided me with the theme word for this week’s tunes – at last, I hear you say, something good has come out of Brexit! It is at least as tangible as any of the other ‘benefits’ we were promised, but which have yet to materialise. (Editorial note: they won’t, it’s a shitshow). We have now officially been out of the transition period of our departure from the EU for a month, and most of the news coverage – apart from the War of the Vaccines – has been about extortionate duty charges being imposed on goods being bought from EU countries and of the frightening levels of bureaucracy and paperwork being faced by businesses involved in import/export with EU members. The Observer ran a story a few days ago about some of these businesses, which included this:

Yes, you read it right. This may not be official Government policy: it may be, though, as we can never be sure with this lot, who make it up as they go along. However, this is advice being given by Government departments, whose role is to advise and help businesses negotiate their way in the brave new post-Brexit world. If your business involves exporting, the best way to do it is, in effect, to move back and rejoin the EU on a company by company basis. They promised us ‘sunlit uplands,’ but didn’t mention the slippery slopes needed to get there, if it is even possible. So I’m taking my lead from the Government’s advice this week in choosing my theme word, which is: move.

Of course, the tunes won’t be about Government advice, and may well contain an element or two of ‘good-bye’ sentiments to departing lovers, but I can’t think of a better place to begin move songs than this one:

I recall hearing this so much on the radio when I was growing up. My Mum liked Ray Charles, so it is quite possible that she would have had this record, though I can’t be sure. It was released as a single in June 1961, and was a #1 hit in the US and #6 here in the UK. That video is a little bit grainy, but its authenticity is what attracted me. It’s a good message to reflect the Government’s advice, I think.

The newspaper clip I showed you earlier made reference to some companies’ uncertainty about whether or not to follow the Government’s advice. It put this into my mind:

I apologise for the static video, but the two other choices I could find didn’t really appeal to me. There is an ‘official’ band video, which features a live performance – but in solidarity with my old schoolmate, it was recorded after he had been thrown out of the Clash for his drug habits, and as he was on this original recording that didn’t feel right to me. The other video was from the tv series Stranger Things, using this song as backing. When it reached the point at which there were bodies on the floor surrounded by blood and machine guns I decided it might be a little OTT for my blog! This song was released in 1982 on the Clash’s fifth album, Combat Rock, which reached #2 here and #7 in the US. It was the third single taken from the album, peaking at #17 here and at #45 in the US. It was re-released in 1991 to tie in with it being used in an advert for Levi jeans: it didn’t chart in the US this time, but became the band’s only UK #1, and was a top ten hit in a further 16 countries.

I chose this next one as it seemed to fit the theme of uncertainty about where the road is taking us:

“Everybody gets high, everybody gets low
These are the days when anything goes”

Indeed! High, low, befuddled – it’s the new normal! This was a track on Sheryl Crow’s second album, released in 1996 and rather imaginatively titled Sheryl Crow. The album reached #5 here and #6 in the US, as well as making the top twenty in eight other countries. This song was the second single taken from the album, and peaked at #11 in the US and #12 here in the UK. I love this video – it feels so joyful.

Speaking of being on the road:

When that was first released, in 1968, it introduced me to the concept of blues rock: it was a little different from the usual chart fodder of the time. It was on Canned Heat’s second album, Boogie With  Canned Heat, which reached #16 in the US but did better here, where it peaked at #5. It closely matched that performance as a single, too, reaching #16 in the US and #8 here. In case you’re unaware of who the idiot DJ is at the beginning, he isn’t an extra from Planet Of The Apes, but is actually Dave Lee Travis, who was one of the 60s DJs who later came to the attention of Operation Yewtree for a variety of alleged sex offences. He was eventually found guilty on just one of many counts, but had a suspended prison sentence imposed on him as a result. Not the BBC’s proudest era!

For a song about moving around, but without really having any idea where you might be going, this classic is spot on:

I’d guess a good many exporters are feeling like this at present:

“How does it feel, ah how does it feel?
To be on your own, with no direction home
Like a complete unknown, like a rolling stone”

The ideal metaphor for post-Brexit Britain? I’ll let you decide…

In case you’re wondering, this was the opening track on Bob Dylan’s sixth studio album, Highway 61 Revisited, which was released in August 1965 and peaked at #3 in the US and #4 here. It was also released as a single, in July 1965, to promote the forthcoming album, reaching #2 in the US and #4 here.

I couldn’t resist one final song for this week’s theme. It’s a breakup song, but I would imagine that many are feeling this way, even though they were the idiots who believed the lies and voted for Brexit in the first place:

That was on Green Day’s fifth album, Nimrod, released in 1997. The album reached #10 in the US and #11 here in the UK. This was the second track from the album to be released as a single, and also peaked at #11 here. It was also #11 on Billboard’s Adult Top 40 chart in the US. The opening lines could have been taken from a Government leaflet on moving your business after Brexit:

“Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road

Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go

So make the best of this test and don’t ask why

It’s not a question, but a lesson learned in time”

I think we have all learned some lessons, though some of us won’t be able to move!

That’s your lot for this week. Every day seems to be a winding road of news stories about the incompetence of our government, so it is more than possible that they will have provided me with another theme by next week. Do come back to see what it might be!

As always, I wish you well and trust that you will stay safe. Take care.

Glass Still Half Full?

Having taken part in #NaBloPoMo in 2014 and 2015 I get two reminders in Timehop every day for the posts I wrote back then. In 2015 I re-shared a post originally written on May 5 2103, in response to one of WordPress’ daily prompts. It was titled ‘Glass Half Full?’

The link to WordPress still works, so I’ve left it in for you to see what others thought of their prompt, should you wish. Looking back at what I wrote several years ago, I wouldn’t have said this differently now, although the events of the past two years – in particular the UK referendum and US Presidential election, and their aftermath – do put a slightly more sinister context around my remarks about being bullied into agreeing with people. This is the original post:

 

Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da Life Goes On

Today’s Daily Prompt is the old question “Is the glass half-full or half-empty?” There is of course a third possibility, that it is neither of these:

Blinded by science!

Blinded by science!

but only a pedant such as I would even consider such a thought! Actually, the science of that is beyond me anyway: given that I am blessed with the typical Virgo’s mind – logical, structured, boring – it’s a wonder I was always so bad at science when I was at school. But I was!

I’m rather hoping that the question is intended to be taken philosophically, rather than scientifically. At least that gives me a chance of answering it! The usual interpretation of the two approaches is:

Glass half-full = optimistic, positive

Glass half-empty = pessimistic, negative.

So what? Who’s to say if either of those is right or wrong? Actually, I think there’s a lot to be said for being a pessimist – that way, your expectations are likely at least to be met, if not exceeded, and that should be a cause for happiness  shouldn’t it? So, following that logic (I told you I was like that) I believe this means that pessimists are generally happy people. Now, what was the question again?

Oh yes, whether the glass is half-full or empty. My answer is: it doesn’t matter. Whatever best suits you and your outlook on life is the right answer for you: no one has the right to judge you and tell you which way to think. Look at Twitter, as I do fairly frequently. How often do you see people there telling you that your attitude, approach or beliefs are wrong if you differ from them? That’s a matter of choice, not a reason to be judged. Unfortunately, those who are like that tend to be lacking in self-awareness and unable to debate sensibly – they just want to bully everyone into agreeing with them. So if they tell you what’s in the glass they must be right? Total crap! You have a right to believe what you want, however ‘wrong’ it may be when judged by societal norms. Other people can then choose to agree or disagree with you, to like or dislike you and your beliefs and attitude. The world isn’t about to be knocked off its axis because you have the temerity to disagree with someone or see things differently from them. Anything extreme is likely to be filtered out by the majority view anyway – whatever that is.

So, believe what you want to. Look at the glass whichever way you prefer. It’s your choice, and it’s what helps define you as a person. The answer to the question

Is the glass half-full or half-empty?

has to be:

YES!!

………..

Back to 2018 again, and I expect you can see what I meant about the context that has built up over recent years. The UK referendum result was a surprise to many, including those on the winning side, but I don’t think anyone at that time foresaw how divisive it would prove to be. Voters on both sides are still being offensive towards those who disagree with them, and this is being led from the highest echelons of government down, as the whole thing becomes a farcical mess. Likewise the ‘election’ of Trump, via the crazy and unfair Electoral College system and despite his losing the overall vote by 2.8m. This was also a surprise to many, including the winner, and has also proved to be extremely divisive in what has followed.

One thing both of these events have in common is how we are bullied by those with whom we disagree. As I said in that original post, we have a right to our beliefs, even if they are extreme, and societal norms could be expected to counterbalance any extremism. But it seems that things are changing, and not just in the UK and US. Those two elections somehow gave extremists the belief that they had been legitimised, and there have been many further examples since then: the growth of support for the politically extreme in many European countries, and the recent Brazilian election spring to mind. My comment about the world not being knocked off its axis seems especially optimistic now!

I still believe that we all have the right to view that glass however we wish. I just wish there weren’t so many instances every day of – in particular – politicians telling us what we should believe. The obvious danger in that is that our leaders become authoritarian like Trump and, in her own beleaguered way, Theresa May are. I kind of hedged my bets in the 2013 post: that is becoming ever less possible to do nowadays. I don’t think I’m overstating it in saying that I’m frightened by the way the political world has moved in five years, or that I’m fearful for the future. But the last thing I would want to do is to bully someone into seeing the glass the same way I do: politicians – and quite a lot of others – could do with learning not to do that, too.