Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Monday, June 06, 2016

I use a music application on my phone called

Equalizer+, and one of the quirks of it is that if you play a new song, it tends to follow that song with the last playlist, album, or artist played before it. So I've been stuck for awhile on four songs, or more accurately, two versions of each of two different songs, and if I play one, it plays all. The songs are 'The Ballad of Accounting' (both the version by Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger, and the one by Battlefield Band, and 'Paint it, Black', the original by the Rolling Stones and and the cover by Ciara). They're two very different songs, but they both touch my emotions very strongly. The lyrics to the first are:
The Ballad of Accounting [Words and Music by Ewan MacColl]

In the morning we built the city
In the afternoon walked through its streets
Evening saw us leaving
We wandered through our days as if they would never end
All of us imagined we had endless time to spend
We hardly saw the crossroads
And small attention gave
To landmarks on the journey from the cradle to the grave,
cradle to the grave, cradle to the grave

Did you learn to dream in the morning?
Abandon dreams in the afternoon?
Wait without hope in the evening?
Did you stand there in the traces and let them feed you lies?
Did you trail along behind them wearing blinkers on your eyes?
Did you kiss the foot that kicked you?
Did you thank them for their scorn?
Did you ask for their forgiveness for the act of being born,
act of being born, act of being born?

Did you alter the face of the city?
Did you make any change in the world you found?
Or did you observe all the warnings?
Did you read the trespass notices, did you keep off the grass?
Did you shuffle off the pavement just to let your betters pass?
Did you learn to keep your mouth shut,
Were you seen and never heard?
Did you learn to be obedient and jump to at a word,
jump to at a word, jump to at a word?

Did you ever demand any answers?
The who, the what or the reason why?
Did you ever question the setup?
Did you stand aside and let them choose while you took second best?
Did you let them skim the cream off and then give to you the rest?
Did you settle for the shoddy?
Did you think it right
To let them rob you right and left and never make a fight,
never make a fight, never make a fight?

What did you learn in the morning?
How much did you know in the afternoon?
Were you content in the evening?
Did they teach you how to question when you were at the school?
Did the factory help you grow, were you the maker or the tool?
Did the place where you were living
Enrich your life and then
Did you reach some understanding of all your fellow men,
all your fellow men, all your fellow men?

Everyone knows 'Paint It, Black', right? The Rolling Stones made it famous, and there's a great video on YouTube where they've got footage from the VietNam War, and I've always associated that song with the era. But Ciara made an interesting version, and her cover appeared on the soundtrack of The Last Witch Hunter, the Vin Diesel movie we watched yesterday. I had gotten the song through the library some time ago, when I was looking for the Rolling Stones' version (I wound up buying a collection of their songs, as it wasn't available through Freegal. (If you're not familiar with Freegal, check and see if your library subscribes. With a valid library card, you can download three songs a week, for free, to keep)). Anyway, I'll include it here, as you may not have heard it:

Paint It, Black [originally done by The Rolling Stones]

I see a red door and I want it painted black
No colors any more, I want them to turn black
I see the girls walk by, dressed in their summer clothes
I have to turn my head until my darkness goes

I see a line of cars and they're all painted black
With flowers and my love both never to come back
I see people turn their heads and quickly look away
Like a newborn baby, it just happens every day

I look inside myself and see my heart is black
I see my red door I must have it painted black
Maybe then I'll fade away and not have to face the facts
It's not easy facing up when your whole world is black

No more will my green sea go turn a deeper blue
I could not foresee this thing happening to you
If I look hard enough into the setting sun
My love will laugh with me before the morning comes

I see a red door and I want it painted black
No colors any more, I want them to turn black
I see the girls walk by, dressed in their summer clothes
I have to turn my head until my darkness goes

Hmm, hmm, hmm, ...

I wanna see it painted, painted black
Black as night, black as coal
I wanna see the sun blotted out from the sky
I wanna see it painted, painted, painted, painted black

I think they're both powerful songs. The first really makes you question how you're living your life, whether you're living enough to be something other than a sheep. The second touches on depression, darkness, loss--very powerful emotions. And for whatever reason, every time I play anything else on my phone, it always seems to spit these out, too, so apparently I should be paying attention. :) [One other odd quirk to the program is that since my phone updated to Android Marshmallow, all the pictures suddenly got switched about. The individual songs are correctly paired with their covers, but not in the listing of playlists, albums, or artists. Weird. Hopefully that will sort out eventually.]

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