Tick Tock Tuesday #1 (15 October 2019)

I thought I’d create a new challenge. It is a challenge primarily for me, because I’m new to this platform, and because you don’t really know me yet, nor I you. As my name suggests, I am recovering from a stroke, and I like to push myself in all kinds of little ways, setting myself goals, including getting into the Wonderful World of WordPress. Although this is something I will be doing, I invite you, if this idea takes your fancy, to play along with me.

My plan is: each Tuesday, until I run dry, I shall post some piece of art which has meant a lot to me – which has helped to mould me, which makes me tick. Okay, a piece of art is a bit vague, but I’m using the term deliberately because I will play this post by ear, so I’m not sure what I’ll think of each week. When I first had this idea, I had in my mind a few songs, but in the future I will broaden my horizons – movies, books, or even paintings which have provided inspiration to me. Not in any particular order, either. I think this will be a finite challenge – I can think of maybe ten or twenty big inspirations, but not hundreds – but let’s see how I get on.

My rules? Well, I’m not big on rules! My choice will be something that has played some part in making me who I am. Just having some kind of fleeting affection for something probably won’t be enough, unless I’m maybe using my choice as an example of my appreciation of a particular singer, composer author, artist, or anyone else I come up with! Again, I’m not really sure where this will lead, so I don’t want to box myself in before I get going. I’m pretty sure it will be one choice per week – I’m aware that long posts can be quite onerous to read, and I’m in no hurry here so if I have two ideas, I’ll probably hold the second until the next week. In that same vein, I’ve created this block as a Reusable Block, which I intend repeating for every post on this theme. The block ends with a full-width separator (I hope), so if you want to skip ahead it doesn’t really matter.

I probably won’t post any lyrics, or any kind of analysis – if you like my choice, the information will be out there for you. But I will try to briefly explain why I feel what I feel towards my choice, just to try and enhance my readers’ understanding of what makes me tick.

I will tag my posts “#TTT” and I will go looking for other posts with that tag. If you’d like to join in, please do the same, or comment, or pingback to this post, and I look forward to reading about what makes you tick.

For my first choice, I am going to choose a song by former Beatle George Harrison. I bet he grew to hate that “former Beatle” tag, although it can’t have harmed his bank balance! As a boy, George lived a few doors along from my mum in Arnold Grove, Liverpool 15, probably her second claim to fame after giving birth to me! Even to this day, The Beatles are a popular band in Liverpool, and Liverpool does well from their legacy. Liverpudlians feel a kind-of “brotherly love” toward the Fab Four which is almost genetic, and I am no exception although I’m long gone from the city. George’s family went on to live in various parts of south Liverpool, where my parents ended up too. Paul and John also lived nearby. I love George’s music so, be warned, I will probably post a couple of his songs under this banner.

This song is George’s tribute to John Lennon, released shortly after John’s death in 1980. To me, its lyrics demonstrate an affection, a reverence almost, that was maybe not immediately visible. Indeed, one of the song’s lyrics is I always looked up to you, which I think shows humility. Not least, John was that little bit older, which must have counted for something when they were teenagers. In his later work, George did reflect on his previous life, although this particular song was a direct response to John’s death, and contains several references to John’s own career – All You Need Is Love, Imagine, and so on – and the bubble which was manufactured around them.

Song Lyric Sunday (13 October 2019) – Drifter / Loner / Transient / Vagabond

Last week, Jim (newepicauthor, “A Unique Title For Me”) asked us about trucks, lorries and buses. This week, he changes tack and asks us to come up with a tune about a drifter, loner, transient or vagabond.

I must admit, I scratched my head initially on this one, but soon found some inspiration as I looked through my album collection. Then I ended up scratching my head again, because I can’t decide between two excellent choices. So I shall bend Jim’s rules again and publish them both.

I was quite an awkward teenager. Some of you might say I’m quite an awkward adult! In the middle of the 1980s, while the rest of the world wore shoulder pads, danced very dirtily, was generally pretty Bad, drove DeLoreans and travelled Back to the Future, I was listening to lots of Sixties music, in particular, to Simon and Garfunkel. With hindsight, I can rationalise it, because it is just wonderful music, it has no “when” aspect to it, but at the time… If any of you wonder why I appreciate your Simon and Garfunkel choices every week, it is because I know them all. Off by heart.

My first candidate was written by Paul Simon himself, and released as part of their Sounds of Silence album, here is my choice to go along with the “loner” theme:

He was a most peculiar man.
That’s what Mrs. Riordan said, and she should know;
She lived upstairs from him
She said he was a most peculiar man.

He was a most peculiar man.
He lived all alone within a house,
Within a room, within himself,
A most peculiar man.

He had no friends, he seldom spoke
And no one in turn ever spoke to him,
‘Cause he wasn’t friendly and he didn’t care
And he wasn’t like them.
Oh no, he was a most peculiar man.

He died last Saturday.
He turned on the gas and he went to sleep
With the windows closed so he’d never wake up
To his silent world and his tiny room;
And Mrs. Riordan says he has a brother somewhere
Who should be notified soon.

And all the people said, “What a shame that he’s dead,
But wasn’t he a most peculiar man?”

A Most Peculiar Man, Paul Simon

Beautiful song. I couldn’t choose between this song and my next, a song from 1967 which was written and produced by Mark Wirtz and performed by Keith West. This song reached No. 1 in the UK and did well in Europe, though I’m not sure how well it crossed the Atlantic, but nevertheless worth a listen. Poor old Jack again fits into our “loner” category.

Count the days into years
Yes, eighty-two brings many fears
Yesterday’s laughter turns to tears

His arms and legs don’t feel so strong
His heart is weak, there’s something wrong
Opens windows in despair
Tries to breathe in some fresh air
His conscience cries, “Get on your feet
Without you, Jack, the town can’t eat”.

Grocer Jack, Grocer Jack,
get off your back,
go into town,
don’t let them down,
oh no, no.Grocer Jack, Grocer Jack,
get off your back,
go into town,
don’t let them down,
oh no, no.

The people that live in the town,
don’t understand – he’s never been known to miss his round.
It’s ten o’clock, the housewives yell
“When Jack turns up, we’ll give him hell”.
Husbands moan at breakfast tables,
no milk, no eggs, no marmalade labels.
Mothers send their children out,
to Jack’s house to scream and shout.

Grocer Jack, Grocer Jack,
get off your back,
go into town,
don’t let them down,
oh no, no.Grocer Jack, Grocer Jack,
get off your back,
go into town,
don’t let them down

It’s Sunday morning, bright and clear,
lovely flowers decorate a marble square.
People cry and mourn away, think about the fateful day,
Now they wish they’d given Jack
more affection and respect,
The little children, dressed in black, don’t know what’s happened to old Jack.

Grocer Jack, Grocer Jack,
get off your back,
go into town,
don’t let them down,
oh no, no.Grocer Jack, Grocer Jack,
get off your back,
go into town,
don’t let them down,

Grocer Jack, Grocer Jack, is it true what Mummy said, you won’t come back. oh no, no.

Mark Wirtz, Excerpt from a Teenage Opera