Write Here, Write Now: 5.12 – Desire As

Prefab Sprout – Desire As. There’s no missing ‘s’

The spell of good songs continues with this soft-voiced recollection of regret. Jabs of keyboard keys play as Paddy intones the six things he has on his mind. I’m half curious about what those are and half musing whether there should be an ‘e’ rather than an ‘i’ (probably not). Musing on what was, on what was lost, from what sounds like a position of resolved calm (“there it is and there we are“) – phlegmatic in the face of a failed relationship.

Though, there’s almost a feeling of too much calm – it almost sounds like he’s numb in shock (“all I ever want to be is far from the eyes that ask me“), having an accusatory conversation with himself (“So tell me you must have thought it all out in advance
Or goodness, goodness knows why you’d throw it to the birds“) – the only thing that rouses him from torpor is a few blows on a saxophone towards the end of the song.

I think my favourite line is: “They were the best times, the harvest years with jam to lace the bread“, pretty much the only hopeful line in the song, though it surprised me to read that it wasn’t what I was hearing – “hardest years“.

Listening to the song over and over, it is the repeated keyboard motif that echoes in my head – downbeat, mournful in tone, yet not unharmonious . There’s a roundness, a settledness to its sound which suggests Paddy may yet reach a peaceful place. Best to let things go, with recollection as they pass, both fond and sad.

And what could be more perfect to go with this delicate serving of tristesse than the enigmatic sylph-like presence of Tilda Swinton in a series of exquisite portraits?

 

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