Sunday, November 26, 2006

Lost in the Supermarket - with 'im out of Japan

If I were gracelessly manhandled to the floor, held in a Half (or, possibly, Full) Nelson by a masked and dangerous hired killer and told, in no uncertain terms, to name the finest album by a British artist from the last twenty years, I’d risk life and limb by painfully and fearfully spluttering out eight words: ‘Secrets of the Beehive by David Sylvian, sir.’ Naturally, I don’t expect this to happen but neither did I expect my weekly food shopping trip to be embellished and improved so mightily by the aforementioned long player this morning. I decided to put something ‘old’ onto the loyal MP3 Player and consider myself fortunate indeed to have made such a choice. It’s a gorgeous, gorgeous album, full of space and art and wisdom and astoundingly beautiful songs. From the tender opening track September with its spare arrangement and gently knowing and delectably personal and melancholic lyrics (We say that we’re in love/While secretly praying for rain/Sipping Coke and playing games/September’s here again) to the majestic and striking Waterfront, the album proffers elegiac wonders and works of art throughout. There are so many highlights from the subtle and moving build-up of Let The Happiness In, the mystery of The Boy With The Gun and, featuring possibly the most effective and life-affirming fade-in-and-out-half-way-through-a-song in the history of popular music, the plaintive Orpheus. The whole album works marvellously. It is jazzy without being over-complex, deeply intelligent without being unintelligible and intense without being claustrophobic. It’s a wonderful piece of art and this morning’s trawl through the aisles was all the more joyous for its company.

Naturally I’m disappointed that the city club were defeated by old rivals Bristol on Friday night. I watched the match unfold via a telecast that I viewed at the spacious Shed Bar. Unbeaten records have to go sometime and with the atrocious weather conditions proving such a leveller, a loss shouldn’t be regarded as an utter disaster. The team will bounce back. Frankly, the Gloucester club is in a far better state than Bristol with our young and ambitious players giving supporters real hope for the future compared to the short term gain of packing a squad with ageing yet streetwise performers. I’m glad I support the city.

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