Monday, 22 February 2010

Miracle Mile Monday part 26


I guess you start getting to an age when the musicians who appear in the obituary pages are not some throw back to an age of 60 beat combos or 70s super groups, but people whose music you have grown up with. When it happens it can hit you with the weight of mortality. Being English I never really got all sub Princess Di worship of Kurt Cobain or Jeff Buckley. However, it has happened three times to me when the death of someone I've never met has sent me into a spin of sadness, where everything stops and I feel the emptiness of losing something important. All 3 times because it was a bolt out of the blue either through a tragic accident as with Kirsty MacColl, or because I just assumed they would go on forever as with John Peel and once because of the ordinariness of death. Grant Mclennan was hosting a party , went upstairs to lie down and never woke up, just at the time when his band had hit a second wind and were going from strength to strength.

I'm not sure if the second Miracle Mile track from "Limbo" is a tribute or homage or related at all. All I know is that it feels to me like a fitting memory

Now I won't go to sleep
Without your sweet lullaby
I might fall in too deep
And maybe catch the devil's eye

I also ran, a dreams a plan if there's gold in wonder
I sing because I do , because I can
Because the ghost of a tune
Has got me grinning like a loon

And you sleep with a song
And you dream as you depart
But I won't call you gone
Little man with a quiet heart
Keep your elbows in the breeze my son
Dream about a better bright tomorrow

I also ran, a dreams a plan if there's gold in wonder

I sing because I do , because I can
Because the ghost of a tune
Keeps me singing to the moon

Then like the ghost of a better tune
That's got me grinning like a loon
That keeps me singing to the moon
You left the room too soon

Ghostwritten - The Miracle Mile

update from the comments - this was written by Trev in the recording diary

This was the the last song that we recorded for the album, which seems sadly appropriate. 'Perry and Simone' from 'Heartbreak Star' was playing on the ipod 'select' as I heard the news of Grant McLennan's passing. “Come see the paradise” indeed. After marinating in the music of GM and the Go Betweens for a couple of days, I then sat down and wrote ‘Ghostwritten’ . I rarely write directly about other folk (far too self obsessed) but I’d forgotten quite how seminal the GB’s were for me. Along with Waits/Springsteen/The Smiths/Blue Nile/Paddy Mac’ etc, they shaped my post punk musical obsessions...became as influential as any in defining and refining my approach to writing. I've got a few skeletons in my musical attic, albums that haven't survived or aged well, but I'll pat myself on the back over The Go Betweens. I got there fairly early with 'Liberty Belle', fell for 'The Wrong Road' and, later, the mysteries of 'Cattle and Cane' and was forever smitten. The songs seem just as 'right' now as the did then; they breathe their very own exotic air, yet maintain a whiff of the mundane, something special to fuel anyone’s day. The sensibilities aren't male, or ‘cock ‘n’roll’, girl friends connected as much as I did. I loved the vulnerability of the poetry, and that, particularly with Grant, the songs seemed inclusive, "an open invitation" to his world, the songs going exactly where I hoped they would, (with a few twists along the way) me grinning like a loon as they did. There'd always be that 'favourite Beatle' discussion, Robert and Grant's bittersweet combination is beyond that, but I do love those solo albums; there are times when a cup of sweet milky tea is 'just right'. 'Oceans Apart' was a welcome return. Hearing 'The Statue' was like bumping into a best mate years down the line. Of course, Grant is already missed, but there's a big heart to be heard in his words and music. God bless him!
The legacy of any great artist remains intact and influential forever. We’re often guided by the hands of folk departed, and, while I’m not crediting Grant with a co-write here, he was definitely helping to shape the chords as I wrote. The song is not ‘about’ anything specific, a reflection on the joys and possibilities of song writing, the importance of inspiration and influence and, ultimately, as a recognition of a kindred spirit, a nod in his direction as he leaves the room. It might be a bit sweet for some. Apologies. I did try to sharpen it with some vinegar, but it didn’t seem right. Where’s Robert Forster when you need him?

5 comments:

  1. I just checked our online diary on the forum (at www.miraclemile.co.uk) and this was written at the time...

    This was the the last song that we recorded for the album, which seems sadly appropriate. 'Perry and Simone' from 'Heartbreak Star' was playing on the ipod 'select' as I heard the news of Grant McLellan's passing. “Come see the paradise” indeed. After marinating in the music of GM and the Go Betweens for a couple of days, I then sat down and wrote ‘Ghostwritten’ . I rarely write directly about other folk (far too self obsessed) but I’d forgotten quite how seminal the GB’s were for me. Along with Waits/Springsteen/The Smiths/Blue Nile/Paddy Mac’ etc, they shaped my post punk musical obsessions...became as influential as any in defining and refining my approach to writing. I've got a few skeletons in my musical attic, albums that haven't survived or aged well, but I'll pat myself on the back over The Go Betweens. I got there fairly early with 'Liberty Belle', fell for 'The Wrong Road' and, later, the mysteries of 'Cattle and Cane' and was forever smitten. The songs seem just as 'right' now as the did then; they breathe their very own exotic air, yet maintain a whiff of the mundane, something special to fuel anyone’s day. The sensibilities aren't male, or ‘cock ‘n’roll’, girl friends connected as much as I did. I loved the vulnerability of the poetry, and that, particularly with Grant, the songs seemed inclusive, "an open invitation" to his world, the songs going exactly where I hoped they would, (with a few twists along the way) me grinning like a loon as they did. There'd always be that 'favorite Beatle' discussion, Robert and Grant's bittersweet combination is beyond that, but I do love those solo albums; there are times when a cup of sweet milky tea is 'just right'. 'Oceans Apart' was a welcome return. Hearing 'The Statue' was like bumping into a best mate years down the line. Of course, Grant is already missed, but there's a big heart to be heard in his words and music. God bless him!
    The legacy of any great artist remains intact and influential forever. We’re often guided by the hands of folk departed, and, while I’m not crediting Grant with a co-write here, he was definitely helping to shape the chords as I wrote. The song is not ‘about’ anything specific, a reflection on the joys and possibilities of song writing, the importance of inspiration and influence and, ultimately, as a recognition of a kindred spirit, a nod in his direction as he leaves the room. It might be a bit sweet for some. Apologies. I did try to sharpen it with some vinegar, but it didn’t seem right. Where’s Robert Forster when you need him?

    ReplyDelete
  2. ...reading this reminds me that I got into big trouble from Go Betweens Blog City for getting the album title wrong (it was 'Horsebreaker Star') and, even worse, spelling McLennan wrong.
    Disrespect!
    There's nowt more feisty than an indignant Australian!
    My only defence to them was that I always referred to him as 'Grant' and was a shite speller anyway; did the fact that I couldn't even spell McCartney (?) diminish my love for the man's (early) music?
    I was forgiven and we moved on...
    Trev

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  3. Thanks Trev - I think the diary entry puts it all really well. One of my favourit e"live moments" was seeing GM and RF play togthe when I think they must ahve been toying with the idea of reforming. RF was in a canary yellow suit (which only he could make look stylish) He suddenly sadi "this is a guitar and this is a guitar break" - before launching into cattle and cane. GM sang the song with a wide grin. They seemed so well matched and like all good partnerships seemd as happy playing each others songs as their own

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  4. Great tribute song, intentionally or not. GM and RF are probably the act I have seen live the most, as they made a number of reformation tours through LA. Had opportunity to see them do some songs at Rhino Records..rather an intimate affair, and chatted with them afterwards. Robert was...interesting....Grant, a right down to earth fellow who gave the impression you could have quite a grand time with at the pub downing a few pints. I was saddened when he passed... Cattle and Cane now feels even more melancholy when I hear it....

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  5. thanks for the comment - I know what you mean I'd alwaysthought I'd like Rf at a dinner party as I'd bet he would be full of great stories but GMc for a chat down the pub

    ReplyDelete

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