Disadvantage

I remember that I saw you on a glossy photograph
Lying on your back on a blanket
In the middle of a field of grass
Shielding your eyes from the sun in the sky
Your eyes were so blue that it nearly blew my mind

You have me at a disadvantage
I don’t even know your name
Or where you’re from –
What are you selling again?

I see you passing by me most days on the side of a bus
I’m barely even me so I can’t even see there ever being an us
You’re selling me things just out of my reach
Like two cars on the drive
And a week at the beach

You have me at a disadvantage
I don’t even know your name
Or where you’re from –
What are you selling again?

Notes

A slightly happy accident – and a little bit out of my usual wheelhouse. While recording No One’s News, I’d become slightly obsessed by the thud of the upright bass and I’d been kicking an idea around for a song along the lines of Pink Floyd’s Us and Them – with a shifting chord pattern over a sedate, see-sawing bass. A bit of Moog emulator and keyboard washes and the bulk of the thing was complete in under an hour – with a little ornamentation from a lazy slide guitar pattern I more or less made up on the spot. I’m a pitiful guitarist, but I’m happy with that figure.

Then… I left it to bubble for a week, listening to it in the car as I drove too and fro from work. It had a definite sound of summer about it, so I began by imagining a woman lying on a blanket in a field of grass, shielding her eyes from the sun. For a while, it was just going to be reliving of a day – containing a jokey punchline to the lyric: “I could buy us some Quavers – tell me what’s your favourite flavour?” but the mood didn’t really seem to suit that comedic tone.

So, it transformed into a piece about, I guess, the distance between reality and how ideals are marketed to us through advertising. The girl now wasn’t ‘real,’ but used in photographs and on the side of a bus to sell an unattainable reality. The longing of the male protagonist (although I guess it could be a woman!) isn’t directed just at the girl, but a whole world he’s unable to enter. He’s not even sure what she’s being used to sell – but it looks glamourous and unattainable to him for whatever reason.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *