Stream or download a copy here on our bandcamp page (other record shops are available).
“Be like the sweet ache I can believe in
Hold like a keepsake after the leaving
Heaven can sleep tight
Everything’s alright fine”
First of the Later songs so far, born in a hangover and just in time for Hogmanay. I imagined myself as Glen Campbell singing the Pet Shop Boys but it may well sound nothing like that at all. What you steal is just the starting point. It’s what you do with what you steal. That’s what counts. For those who appreciate a spot of local colour, you can read on for a tale of the song’s origins here:
First of the “Later” songs, so far, born in a hangover and just in time for Hogmanay. I was stumbling through the no man’s land between last night and the night to come, fighting a rear-guard action against a horde of demons calling me bad names. Some hangovers can look so big they can pass themselves off as all sky, all horizon and all hereafter. There is nothing but and nothing beyond this. Abandon hope all ye who enter here. It is important then to remember that this is only a temporary psychosis caused by lack of fluids. Drink water, have some soup, take a nice, hot bath; back to basics, be humble, hit reset, switch off and on again, add in some calculated distractions. All well and good in theory. However.
Once upon a hangover, one penitent Sunday and a personal low point to date, I was unable to keep my fluids in place, so to speak. Another test of character. When even a humble glass of water is beyond us, then we must accept this additional level of abasement and find our new level. There is, of course, a fine line between humble and humiliating but never mind. One hasty rummage in a cupboard later and I emerged triumphant with a bathroom sponge. Eureka. I wet the sponge – not soaked, dampened only – and repaired to the sofa. I began with wetting my lips only – so far, so good. I then built up to occasional discrete, tactical sucks on the sponge, hoping to take on fluids by stealth, under the stomach’s radar. I had in place a strategy. All I needed now was some covering fire, a decoy, distraction. I switched the TV on, hoping for a gentle Sunday matinee from a bygone age to gaze at longingly whilst sucking on my sponge. The screen crackled into life with a Hollywood golden-era brassy fanfare, just in time to catch the Sunday matineé’s opening credits
“Humphrey Bogart stars in…. “SAHARA!”
You’ve got to laugh. Humour is our short circuit preventing meltdown. Or maybe, in the language of the movies, it heads us off at the pass, cutting off the path to insanity.
The Sahara hangover was from another time, a lion of its kind whereas the hangover of 31/12/20 was a gentle pussycat in comparison. Damage was sustainable, fluids acceptable, soup, a possibility. A few minor demons were off on a toot but the mopping up operation was well underway. Gather them up like naughty little numbskulls and put them back in the jar. Until the next time the lid pops off.
So, taking deep breaths, I repeated like a mantra –
“Everything’s alright, everything’s alright…”.
Tell it ‘til it’s true.
“Everything’s alright what?”, came the answer, one of the more stubborn of the demons.
“Everything’s alright fine”.
“Why two words when one would do?” said the demon. “Methinks you protest too much”.
This processing of information often takes a musical form and it’s good to take notes throughout. You never know what you might miss. Tum te tum. Whistle while you work. Humphrey Bogart won’t always be there to help you through your hangovers and some courses you’ll have to plot alone, making your own entertainment along the way. Meantime, and remember, this may well all turn out to be meantime, everything’s alright fine.
Biff Smith, Spring 2022.