Gloria

 

Lyrics

Sitting on the seawall with a polystyrene tea
Handing you a Kit-Kat – there’s half for you and half for me
Sea slops seaweed on the prom just like it did,
In simpler, easier long-agos, back when we were only kids

Oh my Gloria
Oh my Gloria
They say that pleasure follows pain
Just as sunshine follows rain
As sure as eggs is eggs if we get knocked down
We’ll get right back up again
Oh my Gloria

Busy going nowhere through days that look the same
Friends arrive as strangers and leave behind unnumbered names
Seasons leave their fingerprints on every fold of skin
A different kind of beauty – what’s left without is kept within

Oh my Gloria
Oh my Gloria
They say that pleasure follows pain
Just as sunshine follows rain
As sure as eggs is eggs if we get knocked down
We’ll get right back up again
Oh my Gloria

But when it seems to me
That nothing’s like it used to be
You put your hand in mind
Remind me with that same old smile
There’s still a road ahead
And many miles still left to tread

Like photographs that yellow in the pages of a book
(“You were young and skinnier and I still had a hairline – look!”)
The colours might have faded, but their vividness remains,
The future is uncertain but the past will always be the same

Oh my Gloria
Oh my Gloria
They say that pleasure follows pain
Just as sunshine follows rain
As sure as eggs is eggs if we get knocked down
We’ll get right back up again
Oh my Gloria…

Thoughts

Yep. It’s an old person song – both in content and in style. Award yourself 10 points if you noticed either the lyrical theme or the musical setting. I actually wrote the music a couple of years back, and knew what lyrical field I wanted to pitch it in, but I just never got around to finishing it – despite its relative simplicity (frankly, I was more interested in my other songs).

Anyway, after what seemed like a thousand goes around, I finally arrived at a lyric that expressed what I was trying to say and a reasonable vocal. I’ve parcelled out the track to my tame guitarist, as it’s practically crying for some Faces/Ronnie Wood style country/blues twanging on it – so much so that I had a crack at it myself, but couldn’t quite get the feel. In a sense, the track as stands is still technically unfinished, but I like it enough to class it as “in the bag” at this point.

So, what’s it about? Well as I mentioned above, it’s an old person song and, like most of my songs, kind of indirectly personal. Me and my wife (who has endured more shit from me than is reasonable for any human to bother with) have, for a long time, had a kind of shared vision of basically growing old together. If you potter around seaside towns, you will see many couples, dressed in beige, shuffling alongside each other in a kind of beatific silence. It’s easy to mock them for being all of those things, but I see them as something to strive for. If you arrive in the final third of your life with somebody to share it with it seems you are lucky indeed.

I look around my friends (and social media cohort) and there’s a recurring theme of loneliness and failed relationships. Often it’s laced with self-lacerating humour, but more often than not, it’s the men to blame (men: you are fucking dickheads) and when I look at my behaviour in the past I see very clearly that I was one such man, and that I am lucky beyond belief to have kept my marriage alive – and thus this modest, shared dream of being old and beige together.

And so, as age begins to creep up on me in the form of grey hair, expanding waist, failing eyes and ears etc, I’ve started to get a sort of weird pre-nostalgia for what this life might look like: a kind of premonition of a small, comfortable old age, spent pottering happily around seaside towns. And this song is a love letter to that imagined future, and thus also to my wife.

3 Comments on “Gloria”

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