Thursday, March 29, 2007

Where You Played When You Were Young

Where You Played When You Were Young

"Light up! Light Up! What's that all about?" Griffin asks, pint in hand.

"Don't mock 'Run'" I poke back, mock serious.

"I'm only teasing" comes the reply. "But what does it mean?"

I'm overwhelmed by Griffin's innocence as to what he has just walked into here. A lamb to the slaughter. Or something like that.

"It means whatever you want it to mean".

I see the flicker of recognition in Griffin's eyes. Now he understands where this is leading. And it won't be pleasant.

If I were sat down, and maybe not quite so under the influence of all that riccardi and coke, I would say more on this. Because every piece of literature, every song, every play, painting, dance - every experience you have means whatever you want it to mean. You bring your past experiences and memories to the party. No two reactions and interpretations will be the same for no people have the same experiences or think in quite the same way. And the better the piece of literature, the song, the play, the more diverse the reactions and interpretations.

For me those incredible odd lyrics in 'Run' are about loss. They are about exhilaration. About carrying on. About making your stand as futile and as short lived as it might be, but making it anyway. They make me think of outdoors, of freedom, of the Yorkshire moors and Emily Bronte. Of Leeds at its most beautiful, raised arms and singing. Of Epics and Prometheus and Byron and my Romantic boys. Of wind, of flying skirts, of your lungs almost bursting with the effort.

They make me think of Stoppard's Arcadia and one of the most glorious and beautiful statements on life I have ever heard: "The procession is very long and life is very short. We die on the march. But there is nothing outside the march so nothing can be lost to it".

"You don't want to start me on this. I won't stop". I think this is what is known as getting off lightly.

"Somewhere the guy from Snow Patrol is having this conversation having sung one of my songs" Griffin adds.

Now it's my turn to blink, broken from my internal reverie.

"He's stood saying, c'mon it's a good song - a bit repetitive, but a good song".

I look directly at Griffin aware we're standing on the border of something rather odd.

"In an alternate universe" Griffin adds lest any of us should be confused.

And I smile because, in this flash, Griffin just made me look like the normal one.

4 comments: said...

As you've probably guessed I study lyrics with relative intensity. It results in me being uppity with people who don't and drunkenly proclaiming it's modern-day poetry (which it IS DAMMIT).

I think Run is all about a split second when two people break up. He's recognising the relationship could work away from the world they're in (couldn't they all?), there's guilt and realisation that life will be shite for a few days after simply because of that moment. I actually think 'light up' is about one of them smoking... I know this is literally but i do think it's an incredibly detailed song about a single moment...


Val said...

'mock serious'? I thought it was going to turn into another Ma Egerton's ;-)

Anonymous said...

Alternate universe indeed! Griffin's just been watching too much Dr Who...

Corinne said...

Haven't we all been watching too much Dr Who? ;-)

BG, I was endlessly amused when I was doing research about the lyric [deriving from the Greek lyre, which was of course an instrument] poem for my language paper and came across all that 'the lyric is dead' type criticism. It seems pretty obvious to me that the lyric poem isn't dead, it's all around us in the music we listen to. We've gone back to how poetry orginated (when it was sung rather than in the somewhat misplaced notion we seem to have now that a poem is only a poem if it is firmly in a book and read without us moving our lips). Our songwriters are poets (and we didn't need Christopher Ricks to write a book on Bob Dylan's lyrics to show us that)! And I would fight anyone who said they weren't!