“A solitary life / A life of small horizons / Dull as the pewter skies over NW11”
For the 0.3% of the blog who don’t own all of Richard Thompson’s albums, this is the chorus to a Solitary Life off Front Parlour Ballads. It’s a bitter lay; some might say typically so. The song finishes on an upbeat note with the subject matter dying of cancer. (Having a bodycount in song qualifies Thommo to play at folk festivals.)
But as I pedalled up the Denbighshire moors on a gloriously sunny Easter, I found myself merrily singing one of the couplets, as I oft have before: “Holidays in the Yorkshire Dales / Cycling tours of the North of Wales” He may sing it with a sneer, but it all sounds lovely to me, as indeed does the solitary life, says someone who has relished living on his own for the last 18 years. So I sing that song with a spring in my step and joy in my heart.
Do you ever find yourself enjoying a song for emotions that are quite clearly the opposite to that which the artist intended?