It's never failed that the first song on this week's Popcast has always tugged on my heartstrings. I thought of it the other day as I searched my mental rolodex for "a perfect London song." As soon as the melody drifted in, I perked up and realized that the last time I listened to it I was back home and now I'm actually in the title of the song. And I couldn't help but do that thing where you swear every lyric in a paticular song was written about you for that brief moment. So I thought how, soon(ish) I'll be leaving and I know I'll miss this place, the green rocky road, promenade and green. And then I thought, but I do also miss home and it'd be nice to go back. So where does one go from there? Perhaps to an American version of such a song, say Wichita Lineman, where you can fill your mind with hazy dreams of endless rows of telephone lines in vast expanses of long, dusty roads. Cuz you miss those scenes too. And then once you've got your London song and your America song striking an agreeable geographic balance, you can comfortably move on with pressing matters such as compiling the rest of your pop playlist.
Also: I've always wondered where the brief spoken-word intro of St. Etienne's Mario's Cafe came from (A cigarette, a cup of tea, a bun…). After a quick Google search I was pleasantly surprised to find that it's taken from a poem titled Steel Cathedrals by British poet/actor/artist Dirk Bogarde in 1943. Ties in rather nicely, no? Enjoy.
It seems to me, I spend my life in stations. Going, coming, standing, waiting. Paddington, Darlington, Shrewsbury, York. I know them all most bitterly. Dawn stations, with a steel light, and waxen figures. Dust, stone, and clanking sounds, hiss of weary steam. Night stations, shaded light, fading pools of colour. Shadows and the shuffling of a million feet. Khaki, blue, and bulky kitbags, rifles gleaming dull. Metal sound of army boots, and smoker's coughs. Titter of harlots in their silver foxes. Cases, casks, and coffins, clanging of the trolleys. Tea ums tarnished, and the greasy white of cups. Dry buns, Woodbines, Picture Post and Penguins; and the blaze of magazines. Grinding sound of trains, and rattle of the platform gates. Running feet and sudden shouts, clink of glasses from the buffet. Smell of drains, tar, fish and chips and sweaty scent, honk of taxis; and the gleam of cigarettes. Iron pillars, cupolas of glass, girders messed by pigeons; the lazy singing of a drunk. Sailors going to Chatham, soldiers going to Crewe. Aching bulk of kit and packs, tin hats swinging. The station clock with staggering hands and callous face, says twenty-five-to-nine. A cigarette, a cup of tea, a bun, and my train goes at ten.
1. London Town: Donovan
2. Wichita Lineman: Glen Campbell
3. Bleak Bake: King Krule
4. Expialidocious: Pogo
5. Jupiters: Four Tet
6. Quantum Leap: John Maus
7. Elstree: The Buggles
8. Painting by Numbers: Television Personalities
9. Michael Caine: Madness
10. I Can't Stop Holding On: Cleaners From Venus
11. Mario's Cafe: St. Etienne
12. Bitte Bitte: The Phoenix Foundation
13. Dear Prudence: The Beatles