Updated: Aug 25
"Look at her face, I notice she's smiling
I never miss a trick
Look up her sleeve, 'cause maybe she's hiding
Half a brick
I can only find love - I can only find love in there...."
We come to the last song on the album. Cue audience sigh.....
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At the moment (Summer 2020), in the middle of a pandemic, there is a plethora of programmes on British television revolving around healthcare. We have a daytime drama on BBC called “Doctors” and two evening dramas called “Holby City” and “Casualty”. Then we have the “reality” programmes which are (pardon the joke) uniformly good. You’ve got “Ambulance” on BBC, “Paramedics” on Channel 4 and another we watched on E4 last night called “24 Hours in A&E”.
"24 Hours in A&E" films the participants, over a day’s worth of activity, passing through the accident and emergency department of a major London hospital (St George's, Tooting). Last night, there was one, middle-aged guy who showed up with his wife. He’d suffered a seizure. What transpired was a moving story of his unnervingly nasty criminal past, which included murder, his wife’s devotion to him regardless and his acknowledgement on camera that he owes everything to her now because of this. “She taught me how to deal with people”, he said. “Before that, I didn’t know. I haven’t been in prison for 5 years. It’s all down to her. She made an evil man a decent man”.
As well as the NHS treating this chap with their usual professionalism, compassion and love, here was a tale of him overcoming complete alienation, violence towards and mistrust of the world through someone’s love for him. I found this amazing. The woman was amazing. The man was amazing. Redemption made real, against a backdrop of cuts on his face, his wife holding his hand, a brain scan and his pleading for a cigarette (“after the scan, Sir”, said the doctor).
I thought of this song as I watched. I wondered if that guy, if he ever heard it, would identify with some of the lyrics?
On playing a demo of this song, a friend of mine mentioned that the initial chord sequence, which lies underneath the lead guitar solo, reminded him of the theme tune to "The Magic Roundabout". For the uninitiated, this was a BBC children's programme of the 60's and 70's written and narrated in the UK by Eric Thompson, the father of the actresses Emma and Sophie (I met Sophie once, in a West London pub a few years ago, after I'd finished a Christmas covers gig). It had characters in it such as Dougal the Skye Terrier, Brian the snail, Ermentrude the cow, Dylan the (very hippy-ish) rabbit and Zebedee, a somewhat unidentifiable thing-on-a-spring, who used to bound in when it was time to close proceedings. The kids don't know they're born these days.....
The bits I particularly like in this song include the use of a whammy effect on the arse end of the first, minimalist guitar solo, the question-and-answer segments of the chorus vocals and the rhythm guitars, which make it all chug along like a jerky travelator.
Thank you for getting this far. If you’d like to ask any questions about this album, or any other James Henry material, please feel free to drop me a line. Love and best wishes to you all.