Posted by: docdenbow | March 5, 2012

It’s Grim Enough To Make A Robot Cry


It’s funny sometimes how I get to hear a familiar song. Sometimes these songs turn up on the radio, but usually a song just pops into my head and I hear it with every nuance, every lyric every solo, played in my own private auditorium inside my head. I then need to go and seek out the album that the song comes from and then play it through from end to end.

The latest song that has jumped into head is “Life In The Air Age” by Be Bop Deluxe. I used some of Bill Nelson’s lyrics to finish of a recent blog post, but to me “Life In The Air Age” is far and away the best song on their “Sunburst Finish” album. Back when I was a teenager (My heart was young and supple then) they were a great band, with a lot of style about them. A lot of their later songs had a sci-fi influence in the lyrical content. I remember seeing Be Bop Deluxe at the Civic in Wolverhampton on the “Modern Music” tour in around 1976. As a live act of this period their presentation was truly ground breaking with two or three large screens showing movie clips to put pictures to their songs. The open track was “Life In The Air Age” and on the screens were images from the classic Fritz Lang movie “Metropolis.” It was a perfect match to the almost mechanical rhythmic introduction which was stretched out in the live performance.

Anyway having played the various versions of “Life In The Air Age” that I have, live albums and on “Sunburst Finish,” I have noticed how you could interpret the lyrics in different ways. Having played the song to death in the past few days, the lyrics sing out to me about a person who feels out of step with the time that he’s living in, and wishing to go back to better times. Don’t we all?

Judge for yourself…….

Beneath the stars there are the bars
That serve the bitter drink…
The barman smiles at me,
His wife she gives a secret wink…
They listen patiently to me,
My story I unfold…
I see their faces change,
The lights grow dim I’m losing hold…
I used to be a boy,
My heart was young and supple then
But now it’s stoney cold,
I’m old and I could use a friend…
My world is not like yours,
I come from somewhere long ago…
But now there’s no way back,
I’m lost and I feel so alone…
You can leave me in the air age if you like
But I’d dearly love to go back to my own time….
Life in the air age, isn’t all the brochures say…
Life in the air age, it’s too dangerous to stay…
Life in the air age, airships crashing every day into the bay…
Life in the air age, it’s all highways in the sky…
Life in the air age, all the oceans have run dry…
Life in the air age, it’s grim enough to make a robot cry…

We all think times were better a few years ago and with the increasing reliance on technology taking many jobs previously the domain of man, we are slipping as individuals towards obsolescence. As things in life go in circles, I wonder when it will be grim enough to make a robot cry…

Ciao For Now My Maids In Heaven,

Denbow

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