Tuesday, January 22, 2008

When I was seven years old, I remember approaching the radio with trepidation whenever it was switched on, for when it was on, it might start playing a particular song that made me very sad, and which I hated. The song was Terry Jacks' maudlin, saccharine and thoroughly weepy "Seasons in the Sun", although, to be honest, even though I had divined that the song was about someone dying, I really thought the title referred to seasons that had been spent living, literally, in the Sun, much as one lives in, say, London, or Wagga Wagga. But I digress.

So anyway, I was in Harper's Ferry yesterday and I stopped in at a coffee shop for a thoroughly nasty coffee, an experience which was made truly transcendently awful by the radio's insistence on wailing on and on about how we had had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun ... and of course I was transported back to 1974 and all that entailed. I quietly took my leave soon afterward and surreptitiously dumped the remainder of the dismal coffee in a trash can. Unfortunately, it was not so easy to jettison the lingering sonic memory of Jacks' lachrymose lament, and for the next 24 hours, that song buzzed around my head, occasionally swapping places with one of the other two songs that are stored in the same part of my brain.

Those other two songs, incidentally, are Billy Don't Be A Hero (or should that be an hero?) - understandable, since it was released in the same year - and, perhaps, less explicably, R. Dean Taylor's Indiana Wants Me. A friend of mine refers to this kind of apparently localized recall as the "cloud", and I think it fits. Those three songs, for me, are close together in the cloud.

So anyway, I decided to do a bit of googling and see if I could figure out anything about this cluster of songs, but perhaps unsurprisingly, I found a lot more hits for the Jacks' monstrosity than for the other two combined, and while I was combing through the SitS pages, I found something that made it all worthwhile - gearchange.org, which explains, among other things, exactly why SitS is so particularly gruelling to listen to.

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