Sunday, 16 August 2015

Oliver: The Farm - Mind [Peel Session] (28 December 1991)

When I last wrote about The Farm, I came to praise but with reservations.  I still had many of them even while listening incessantly to Mind, another track from their August 91 Peel session, which surfaced as the first single ahead of the Love See No Colour album.  It starts with one of the band's regular set-ups - meeting up with an old friend you haven't seen for years and noting the changes in them.  So far, so Hooton; at least it's catchy as hell.  My perception of the song changed as I listened to the second verse:

You're just another number on another chart.
I bet you've broken so many hearts.
I think back to the days when you laughed.
Laughed at those people, now you're one of them.
In the Eighties, the tables were turned.
After those riots in the midnight sun.
I tell you no lies and it's a fact.
Soon our cities, they were full of...

And then I strained to hear, what were they full of?  I mislaid the recording from the 28/12/91, so had to keep using the video, which is mixed as close to the sound that I heard on the Peel session.  I knew the whispered/silent word had to be something controversial but what?  A swear word?  "Shite" might rhyme with "fact" when said in a Liverpool accent, and the word definitely began with an "s".  At last, in my final listen before writing about the track, I worked out what it was - "skag".  And suddenly, their whole approach made more sense to me.  The nostalgia for more innocent times carries an even greater weight when it's married to a present as awful as the one described here.  And to be addressing such concerns to a drug addict is far more emotionally involving than if Peter was singing to someone who had jacked in their dreams for an office job and 2.4 children.  The symbolism in the video with "kids representing us in our younger days" and the walk around a dilapidated Liverpool Airport is a bit obvious, but for all that it's a lovely moment when you realise that a group you've previously dismissed as nothing more than good-timers have a bit more about them than you thought.

Unfortunately, the record buying public and presumably the radio stations who had been putting All
Together Now and Groovy Train on daytime playlists shied away from this funky, sensitive account of re-acquaintance with a heroin addict in ransacked British cities and it scraped into the Top 40.  A
real shame as it's arguably a better tune than either of those big hits.

HOUSEKEEPING NOTE - This is the 100th post of 2015 and that seems an appropriate point to announce a short break for this blog.  I love what I've put together here and I have so much music and Peel related stuff I want to share.  However, on August 28, I will be getting married.  Things are coming to a head in terms of organisation and I'm travelling to Ireland with my fiancée next week ahead of the ceremony the following week.  I need to give my time to thoughts of wedding speeches for a few weeks, instead of what I'm going to write about PJ Harvey, Nirvana or First Offence.  So in the event someone chances across this blog in the next 2 or 3 weeks and likes it enough to favourite it, I will be back with more Peel selections in early September.  Please send your wedding donations to the usual address.

Video courtesy of geddes57.

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