A #SaturdaySong Revisited

Looking back through previous posts, I came across one from my now just-about-defunct #SaturdaySongs series. For those not familiar with these (ie. just about all of you) these were posts about a song that had some significance for me. This one was originally published in November 2018, and it was based on – and included a reprise of – a post originally made in 2013. Neither of these scored highly in terms of interest: the 2018 one had six likes and four comments, the 2013 one just three likes and zero comments. But it still means something to me and in these days of greater interaction I felt it deserved to be shared again for the wider audience I have nowadays.

This is the 2018 post, slightly edited to make more sense in this context. I’ll come back at the end to round things off for you:

#SATURDAYSONGS 15: GREAT LAKE SWIMMERS

The idea for this post came about when, earlier in the week, I was having one of my late evening sessions watching YouTube videos. I was in the middle of a run of several by one of my favourite bands, the Canadian group Great Lake Swimmers, and was scrolling through the comments when I came across someone saying they were looking forward to seeing the band play in London. This struck a chord, as I went to that show, and I then had one of those D’oh lightbulb moments: the comment was by me! Here it is, in all its glory, second one down:

As this was six years ago I guess I can be forgiven for not recalling this, and in any event I rarely post comments on YouTube so wasn’t really expecting to see myself there! This brought back some lovely memories of the gig, which actually has a very special meaning for me, and it reminded me that I had written a post about it. After digging back into the darkest recesses of my library of posts, I found the piece. It was originally written on 23 April 2013 in response to that day’s WordPress Daily Prompt. I used to write a lot of those, until they spoiled it all by moving to single word prompts that did nothing for my limited imagination. These prompts have now stopped: it seems I may not have been the only one who didn’t like the change! I was going to do this as one of my reblogs but I thought the occasion deserved a fuller post, so I’m going to share the full text of what I originally wrote and will then round things up at the end. Here’s me in April 2013:

Daily Prompt: Earworm

“The question posed in today’s prompt is “What song is stuck in your head (or on permanent rotation in your CD  or MP3 player) these days? Why does it speak to you?”

The song which I have played most since the album it’s on came out last summer is unlikely to be known by many. It is ‘Easy Come, Easy Go’ by the Canadian band The Great Lake Swimmers. Here’s the official video:

“Easy come and easy go

That’s what they say when they’re about to go broke

So try not to choke

And put your arms around me and don’t ever let go”

Have you even heard of them, let alone know their music? They have been together in various incarnations since 2003 and the album this song is on – ‘New Wild Everywhere’ – is their fifth. If you’d like to find out more about them they are at www.greatlakeswimmers.com.

Apart from the fact that I love this band’s music, and this song in particular, there are two answers to the question about why it speaks to me. Firstly, the message is a simple one: “everything can be collapsing around you, but I’m here to look after you” – I know it’s more complex than that, but that’s what I take as the underlying message of the song. It’s a message I like and which I think we all want to have from a special someone if life reaches the point of being dismantled around us, as in the video, or should we be going through a difficult time. As you’ll know if you’ve read any of my previous offerings, I am in recovery from depression and started this blog to encourage others that things can and do get better. But I don’t just sail blithely through life, and I still have my black dog days. I had a spell of these last week and didn’t really start feeling better until yesterday morning. This was the first song I played – it is hard not to get carried along by the tune, and the words seemed comforting after a very rough few days. That’s what the song does for me.

The second level is that this band will always be special to me for a very personal reason. Before I was ill I used to love going to live gigs, usually at least once a month. I went through a period of nearly two years when I just didn’t feel like going to one – Great Lake Swimmers at Bush Hall in London, 26th November 2012, was my first after all that time. Being able to overcome my apprehension at going, on a horrible wet Monday night, to be part of a crowd and to enjoy losing myself in the music again is something that will stay with me forever. And just to prove I was there, a very quick snippet of ‘Ballad of a Fisherman’s Wife’ :

Just to finish that evening off, a final part of the story: on the tube home I tweeted the band and thanked them for a great show. Most bands don’t reply to fan tweets like that, but GLS did – I had a very nice tweet back from Miranda Mulholland, the rather lovely red headed one, saying how much they appreciated that. The perfect end to my first show after the long break!

I hope you have a special song, piece of music, poem, painting or whatever that says something to you when you need a comforting ‘voice.’ Why not share yours via the comments box, it would be interesting to see what helps, comforts and encourages you.”

Back in the (2018) here and now: as a little bonus I thought I’d also give you the song on which I made my comment. It is the title track from what was then the band’s new album, referenced in the 2013 post, and the video is nice, too:

I still play that a lot nowadays. As I said: special band for me, with special memories.

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And now back in the 2021 here and now. This is the first time I’ve created a kind of Russian doll post, with one post inside another and then inside another, but I hope you can see the importance of the previous ones for me. That recovery from depression has continued, I’m happy to say, but there were many times when I needed help along the way. Sometimes this came from music, and GLS became a special band for me at that time: they are still one of my ‘go to’ bands. I bought the New Wild Everywhere album when it first came out in mid 2012, having heard some of its songs on the great Whispering Bob’s radio show, and played the album incessantly. I went back to work a couple of months later, and I think I managed that at least in part due to the calming effects of the music I was listening to. It is important for us to have something, or someone, to rely on for help when times aren’t good, and music always helps me. I hope you have something similar, and that you know where to go if you need to seek help. Mental health issues affect one in four of us, and I suspect that number is rising as a result of the pandemic: don’t feel that you are alone, because you aren’t. Please, just ask! For those of you in the States, you can click on the ‘Stand up for mental health’ image to the right to find a source of advice, for those in the UK I always recommend the Mental Health Foundation, and I know that there are similar organisations in many other countries.

Take care, and enjoy your weekend.