Same As It Ever Was’
There are those lines in the refrain of the song “Once In A Lifetime” where Talking Heads’ David Byrne repeatedly utters “same as it ever was”.
It sounds like the needle got stuck in a groove and was my looping musical earworm today for whatever reason.
It certainly feels like “same, same” as Auckland returns to another Covid-19 lockdown.The rhythms of restriction return as if they had never left.
If lockdown is overly familiar, and not necessarily in a good way, I do get out for walks down by the local creek to clear my head.
It too is so familiar (but comforting too); hardly changing except for the level of tides that feed it from the sea or when heavy rain falls.
“Same as it ever was, same as it ever was…”
‘Diamonds Are The Morning Sea’
“All the diamonds in this world
that mean anything to me
are conjured up by wind and sunlight
sparkling on the sea”
Bruce Cockburn, from “All The Diamonds In The World”
‘Only One Angel’
“If you want to know what pulls me through
I have only one angel, …that one angel is you”
– Jimmy LaFave (Texan singer-songwriter) ‘Only One Angel’
This post, by the way, marks 1000 posts on
Ebb Then Flood – it is dedicated to my guardian angels – those who saved me, sustain me, and watch over me always – thank you.
‘For Money Can’t Buy Me Love’
Christmas decorations on a disused bank in a Northland town I passed through earlier in the week.
Money doesn’t change hands there anymore, but certainly rampant consumerism is running amok elsewhere at this time of year.
The scene reminded me of the words of the old song from the four wise men of Liverpool:
“I don’t care too much for money, for money can’t buy me love.”
I wish you love, and peace, today.
– Andy L.
“These diamonds on my windshield, these tears from heaven”, as Tom Waits once sang, and this photo taken today shows.
Pluviophiles (rain lovers) don’t cry when the sky does.
A dreary Sunday in a lockdown is just an excuse to drive to the nearby shore by myself , and revel in the rain as it sluices from the clouds and drips down the windscreen.
The view may be obsured – but I don’t care – I have diamonds.
…morse signals in concrete and glass…
‘Never Bow Down’
“Never to bow down,
don’t you ever slow down”
– ‘Bow Down’, The Go-Betweens
When I reviewed the above shot of the triple bows, all proud and pointing, these defiant lyrics sprang to mind.
You can listen to the terrific song from Brisbane’s finest, below:
When it all gets a bit tangled and gloomy, we all need a guiding light, someone or something, to see us through.
Song for the day, to match, from Television’s classic 1977 debut album, ‘Marquee Moon’:
“Guiding light, guiding light
guiding through these nights”
‘ Listen To The Lion’
Lions, of course, are symbols of courage and bravery.
Courage features in the second part of
The Serenity Prayer:
“Courage to change the things I can”
I think about that which I can change at the start of the day. Whether I act depends largely on whether I have the guts to do so.
Some leonine musical inspiration comes from Irish singer-songwriter in one of his more extended songs:
” I shall search my very soul
for the lion
inside of me”
(Mr. Morrison really rips loose with the vocal chords on this number; the repetition too, as he hits full trance and utters the phrase “listen to the lion” over and over again at one point in the song. It makes for one of his more challenging listens, but that’s possibly the point. I still marvel that Van, well into his musical work by then, was still only 26 or so when this track was recorded – it sounds like someone with way more time and miles under the belt).
I was binge watching the second series of the Ricky Gervais Netflix series
‘Afterlife’ during the weekend.
Wickedly funny, but also filled with pathos and ruminations on our common mortality.
Right at the end of the series the soundtrack featured Iron and Wine’s song
‘Passing Afternoon’ from the 2004 album ‘ Our Endless Numbered Days’.
“There are things that drift away like our endless, numbered days”.
The photograph above was recently taken looking over a coastal cliff on a walk ( I haven’t spent all of lockdown on my arse watching TV! ).
The gradations of colour, the deepening sea and the pattern of the waves held me in quiet thrall.
As I took in the view below me; as I watched Gervais’s character grapple with life and death; as Iron and Wine’s gorgeous song played, I found myself drifting….
It has been a week of vivid and bizarre dreams for me, some nightmarish.
Perhaps coming off antidepressant medication has something to do with it , as that is an apparent side effect.
At any rate, the surreal shit of my dreamland continues apace.
You couldn’t make it up and you certainly can’t control it.
I’ll wake up from one weird episode and then plunge straight into another one, and so it continues till the dawn.
Deep REM sleep is supposed to be beneficial; maybe, but it is bemusing also.
I don’t even try to analyse the nocturnal art house cinema I am being served up involuntarily on a nightly basis.
What would be the point, really?
But I do have the ideal soundtrack to it all:
The Electric Prunes’s “I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night”. A thoroughly groovy 1960’s garage/psychedelic rock classic.
YouTube link below. Stick this in your pipe dream and smoke it, good people!
“I’m not ready to face the light…I had too much to dream last night”
‘On The Beach’
“Now I’m livin’
out here on the beach,
but those seagulls are
still out of reach
… I follow the road,
though I don’t know
where it ends.
Get out of town, get out of town,
think I’ll get out of town.”
‘On The Beach’, Neil Young (1974)
‘The Strong One’
” ‘Cause isn’t it hard
to be the one who gathers everybody’s tears
isn’t it hard
to be the strong one “
– ‘ The Strong One’, Bruce Cockburn
As to the photo image – the Stonehenge-like sculpture blends almost with the background of trees.
Truly strong people are sometimes unnoticeable.
They are always there – for others, to gather their tears (as Cockburn’s beautiful lyric states); constant and loyal.
Some mistake displays of dynamism, power and muscle-flexing for strong character.
The true strong ones of our world carry burdens without reward and recognition.
Maybe you are one of those that others rely on.
It is hard, to be the strong one.
Take time to take care of yourself too…
” I’ll sing you one, O
Green grow the rushes, O
What is your one, O?
One is one and all alone
And evermore shall be so.”
– ‘ Green Grow The Rushes, O ‘ ( trad. English folk song )
Truly Twisted‘s vine picture gets the gothic makeover.
I have the flu and am struggling in the fizzing positivity stakes, in case you couldn’t guess. Rehashing an image is certainly not beneath me today.
Today’s not so inspiring words to match come from the heavy metal heart of Glen Danzig:
“Got a little twist of Cain, from the god below “
(Danzig, ‘Twist Of Cain’)
Murder, check. Satan, check.
…add them to the list of unpleasant twisty things.
“Ah, but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now “
– Bob Dylan, ‘My Back Pages’
An elderly gentleman sits on a park bench in the Auckland Domain, quietly reading a book and listening to something through his headphones.
He would pause from thumbing the pages and look up from time to time to gaze around at his fellow parkgoers; walkers and people watching the ducks at the adjacent pond.
Reading is a luxury to me in an oft time-cramped existence, but this fellow seemed to have all the time in the world to focus on his book.
Ironic, considering that he has, in all probability, less time left on this planet than me(that is no certainty however!).
I was slightly envious of his ability to immerse himself in his book and music, or whatever he was filling his ears with.
I wondered what he was reading – fiction or non-fiction; thriller, humour or biography?
To read is to be curious about life.
And I bet he had an interesting life story himself.
What might his back pages read like?
In the previous post
Boxed In ,I touched on the boxes that we end up in.
In my recent travels in Scotland, I came across this ancient stone version in a cemetery at St. Andrews. Pretty impressive; nicely ergonomically tapered and contoured to fit the deceased’s head. Top design marks.
I suspect it was for someone of some importance. You wouldn’t go to all that bother for a regular dude or dudess.
Important person or not, as the pop-punk bard Wreckless Eric once said,” there’s only one destination in the final taxi”.
And on that cheery note, I too shall depart…
“Round and round, up and down
Through the streets of your town
Everyday I make my way
Through the streets of your town”
– The Go-Betweens, ‘Streets Of Your Town’
A marriage of a picture of one of my favourite towns, Edinburgh, with the lyrics from one of my favourite bands, Brisbane’s Go-Betweens, who spent a good deal of time in the UK forging their career, a long way from home.
There is something about the song that captures the displaced feeling of pounding the pavement in a town that will never be your own.
“If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise”
– ‘The Teddy Bears’ Picnic’
(for more flora aflame, see
Electric Glade )
” As long as I gaze on Waterloo Sunset
I am in paradise “
– The Kinks, ‘Waterloo Sunset’