Sunday, 25 September 2011

Day 106: Forty-year olds in colourful shirts...

Song: High Tension Line
Album: Single in 1990/Compilation 'High Tension Line' 2002.
Year: 1990

There was a time, around the release of this single (as far as I can work out, it was just a single in 1990 and appeared later on a compilation it lent its name to in 2002) when you turned on the telly and all you saw was bright pastel colours on people. This was the era of bumbags, flourescent shirts and cycling shorts and the brief popularity of The Sweater Shop. There's pictures of my dad in a horrific shirt around then which looks like Picasso has been sick on it, all maroons and swirls of red and orange, but that's just what was in at the time.

I refer to this as the excellent song I'm blogging today has an amazing line in the shape of: 'And see forty-year olds in multicoloured shirts/It never used to concern me/But now it's making me say...' this is an other of those songs in which the subject of growing old before your time/acting young for your age comes in. With his grasp on the working class of the UK, Mark is in an enviable position of being working class, but actually observing it from outside the usual confines, being an artist/musician means he lies on the periphery most of the time, so this is a look at those around him with wit and observation not many people get to have.

The song itself is great, that insistent drumbeat and the singalong chorus mean its a nice slice of pop, with added vitriol lining its pockets. I have absolutely no idea who the two women mentioned in the first verse are, searches for Jeanette Fletcher and Michelle Spencer throw up LinkedIn profiles and family tree bumf from google, so can anyone enlighten me? I like it when people, living or dead are referenced in Fall tunes, so would love to know. Friends, aquaintances? Let me know in the comments...

The final verse seems to me to be a self-referential one, with talk of life being like a 'facial tissue in a brass bin' and then words to the effect of 'These words are amblings' perhaps this is as close to referring to writers block as we are ever likely to get, thinking out loud etc. The High Tension Line of the title seems to be a threshold of tolerance, or a comment on society being always on the edge of chaos. It could also be someone's breaking point, the shirts of those forty year olds making something snap inside and seeing red.

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