Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Songs that saved your life, part 5

I don't do it much any more, but I used to spend hours alone late at night listening to music, sat in front of the stereo with piles of records all around me, and a bottle of wine or two to keep me company.

I used to think, during these drunken episodes, that I was somehow deep and feeling it, man. That I was really, like, connecting with my favourite pop stars. And I used to sing along to every note, sounding like a castrated hyena, throwing ridiculous shapes with my hands and arms, and shaking my fringe around as though my life depended on it.

Then my Dad would arrive home from the pub with Chicken Maryland, drunk, and insist on watching Prisoner: Cell Block H. Which sort of spoiled my deep, poetic moments.

There were plenty of songs that used to get a regular airing during these deeply unromantic witching hour sessions; The Boo Radleys' "Finest Kiss"; The Fall's "Bill is Dead"; The Edsel Auctioneer's "Our New Skin"; New Order's "Bizarre Love Triangle"; The Housemartins' "Flag Day" and Morrissey's "Late Night, Maudlin Street".

"Late Night Maudlin Street" knocked my socks off when I bought Viva Hate as a still-in-mourning Smiths fan of 14. Yeah, you see, cos it WAS ALL ABOUT ME and my parents' endless divorces and living in virtually every small village in Lincolnshire before the age of 12. Yeah, Morrissey wrote this song for me. And I actually kept believing that for some years, up to an embarrassingly late age.

I don't believe he did write it for me any more. Although I'm pretty sure "King Lear" is all about me. Don't try and tell me otherwise.

Anyway, for late nights in front of the stereo getting drunk on £1.99 bottles of wine and thinking that the whole world was against me, then "Late Night, Maudlin Street" is right up there with the best. I suppose I could've picked any Smiths song before this, but this is probably my favourite Morrissey song, and I was just at the right age for a good old mope along to it.

Here, rather wonderfully, is quite a nice live version of it.


String Bean Jen said...

Oh look! Alain Whyte was still in the band. Those were the days. What a smashing polka dot shirt he dons too.

This is a tremendous song to mope to in deep solitude. Watching this live performance on this video reminds me of the heavy, maudlin mood created when he and the band did 'Death of a Disco Dancer' at their show in Chicago in April.

Also, I wail along to 'Flag Day' all the time! There's never really a bad time to do so.

shaun brilldream said...

that was a right good post. my favorite is 'nobody love us' a frankly fantastic mozzer moment, embarasingly relegated to a 'dagenham dave' B-side. for shame.