Seven songs. Seven stories. Some truths. Some lies.
Life On Mars – David Bowie
In bed, we’re tangled. I’ve lost count of the hours, and I’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve done our best to eat each other alive, but I know that I have heard this song twice tonight. The first time was a sub-par cover by a female artist I do not dislike, but this time, it is The Man Himself, singing it how it should be sung.
My eyes are closed, and I see a stage that isn’t there. Performers stand on invisible platforms floating through the air. A grand Grimaldi stands opposite a Pierrot, strangely confident in his stance. Lions and silks and bubbles, all swirling around me, and yet I am not there. It’s all around me, but it’s still distant. It’s like watching television, except that I am surrounded and separated by and from its wonder. I feel like I’m spinning and swirling, draped in loose fitting robes that dance as I soar upwards-
He changes the track and I’m flung out of the trance. I am bitter, but I keep it to myself. The real world doesn’t allow me to float on the wind, but there are worse ways to spend your time than this.
Baby I Am Nobody Now – Andy Bull
Up front. Packed in. Sold out. Who would have thought it? Everyone should have thought it – it’s a well deserved warm welcome, and the audience are rewarded with a swathe of sound that twirls softly around us like a silk scarf. I get that hit, reach the little nirvana where I’m not stuck in this clunky body, instead I’m writhing through the air like an ethereal serpent.
The melodramatic metaphors come easily as the backing vocals swoop in to fill out the chorus. The sound is massive, so dense that it feels like it could scoop up underneath us and lift us to the ceiling like a cushion filled with air.
They’re playing their way through a fucking superb album, one that’s lifted even higher by hearing it being played live. I think about hearing it and seeing it again, this time with an orchestra filling out the places where the synths have been, raising the crescendo even higher. I get chills at the thought, on top of those I’ve already got.
I open my eyes and remember it’s still happening. I drink it in, and dance.
Cold As Canada – Paul Kelly
In the song, she’s watching him sleep, but he left hours ago. I’m sitting on the side of the bed, and I feel the light creep in through the shutters and hit my back. I didn’t stray like the woman in the lyrics, but that’s only because I was never really here to begin with.
There is no sound, save for my deep breaths and the ensuing sighs that reveal just how deep a hole I’m in. My ears don’t need to hear it; it’s embedded itself in my heart and my head and I just want to collapse in on myself and be wiped from the memory of the world.
Maybe not from the world’s memory. Just his.
I don’t know who’s committed a greater betrayal: the woman who knows what on earth she’s done; or the woman who could do no wrong.
She needs to walk away. She doesn’t know. She doesn’t know when, but it needs to be soon, before the guilt eats her away to nothing.
It doesn’t matter how it happens. There are no winners here.
There’s no good way to say goodbye.
He Called Me Baby – Patsy Cline
She had always hated the idea of being called that word. She was not a child.
But he said it, and she enjoyed it.
She heard someone say once, “You should only use the word ‘baby’ in a song if it’s actually about a newborn.” She was pretty sure it was a bastardised David Byrne quote, but it didn’t matter where it came from. It seemed like a good philosophy.
The first time. She figured it was the heat of the moment. She tried to ignore it. Instead, she loved it. But she winced a little. Something was wrong.
The second time. Now it sounded deliberate, like they were actually going places. She felt warm, glowing despite the cold air, but something was still niggling at the back of her mind.
The third time. The last time. It hit her like a concrete slab.
She wanted to tell him: “You’re not calling me that because you care. You’re saying it because you think it’s the right thing to say, and it would be.
“But you’re not saying it to me. The woman you’re saying it to isn’t here, is she?”
Instead, she just said, “Please, don’t call me that.”
And that was the last time it passed his lips.
Grandma’s Herbal Cure All – Moochers Inc
The fact that she would never see these people again intoxicated her to the point that she just let it happen. She danced in the street, tearing her shoes to pieces on the cobblestones, letting her hair fly in the wind.
Man Like That – Gin Wigmore
She often thought about the revenge fantasies she would play out on him.
But every time she thought of one, she would find herself taking him back.
It was a dreadful waste of plotting, in her opinion.
In the end, she just threw coffee on him. Easy and effective, cheap and classic. Him and her.
Good Intent – Kimbra
New shoes. Black. Small heel. Buckled, not laced.
Old shoes. Black-ish. Smaller heel, more worn on the left side; wobbles when walks. Buckles are buckled, coming undone.
These things that are comfortable never last.