The Pioneers; muse-o-journal-ism

So I was washing-up some time ago and heard this song coming out of the sitting room – those of you who have visited know this is not going to have much impact on sound quality.  [Oh and OMG I did not see this song on TV I think I was in Japan when that Orange County geography lesson happened – I thought it was in Virginia!]

This was part of The Boy playing some stuff from Lampeter Days.  I didn’t know why the lyrics had got such a hold over me but today the brain kicked in ( – I tried for John Ruskin before I got there so big ones, Kele Okerere).

A sense of purpose and a sense of skill

A sense of function but a disregard

We will not be the first

We will not be the first

We will not be the first

We won’t

So, in a ‘toptracks’ line-up, Tunng’s cover of ‘Pioneers’ is sandwiched inbetween beautiful misery and soft yellow nostalgic tones.  It’s followed by ‘Jenny Again’ which allows it to bleed into an honestly melodramatic map of loss and grief which positions the now slowed interpretation of these lyrics, a tender release of youth’s promises to change the world, within a New Folk landscape.  From listening again today with more than half an ear I’ve been considering the pull of slow artisan living and devotion to small labours – Full Time Hobbies are calling indeed.  And this is at the heart of my hidden nostalgic reaction.  I am older and tire of kicking against the pricks.  The tequila and smoke filled frenzy of post-adolescence is clearing and a new phase of prudential conservation is emerging.  The ecstatic oil-spill of youth’s economics of excess in all – rage, love, moral indignation, hope, unsaleable innovation, death defying change,  – is dried up.  It’s now the evening of sitting to knit jumpers for penguins while the lentils soften.

If it can be broken it can be fixed

All you need is time

All you need is time

All you need is time

All you need is

The falling lilts of the softly attacked repetitions are, in the original, given the idiosyncratic upward bite of Kele Okerere’s committed post-punk shout.  In contrast to the contemplative centering of folk, Bloc Party’s ‘Pioneers’ flows on its more dangerous current into ‘The Price of Gas’, with  its aggressive mantra ‘We’re gonna win this’.  Aurally appealing to the heard – we’re going to witness, the lyrical silo returns the violence of a blunt national stupidity in red white and blue; politics condensed into economic sludge.  The original ‘Pioneers’, in short, is rendered by a soul literate in commitment.  The difference between violent and caring anger is deftly enacted in both lyric and ballad forms.  The committed soul cares and embracing a hero’s caring anger always fuels youth’s inner fire.

Album transitions carry less currency in our Apple Tubed lives but either as credit to ‘Silent Alarm’s depth and epic scope or as acknowledgement of the impact it had on my 22nd year, during which only this album and perhaps Franz Ferdinand were repeatedly read cover to cover, I appeal to their significance.  This debut album hit my third year undergraduate philosopher’s ears with its surge of knowing sincerity, holding enough intelligence and passion to explode the ironic apathy of the proto-hipster London dance floor.  And these transitions work.  The energy is not so much seamlessly maintained as organic, mutating from one contorted thrown silhouette to the next.


Black on black chucks.

black on black chucks

Black on black.  Black mac, black skinnies, black t-shirt.

Black dance floor!


We promised the world we’d tame it

What were we hoping for!


He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.

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