Self-indulgence leads me today to enthuse about a song which, for me at least, epitomises our present situation amidst the restrictions of the Covid19 pandemic.
Since his ‘Black Adder’ and ’Fry and Laurie’ days, I have been a great fan of British actor and musician, Hugh Laurie. In this blog I wish to draw attention to his version, along with his traditional jazz musicians, …… , as both pianist and singer. of ‘CHANGES’.
The song uses the tune of the traditional gospel hymn ‘What a Friend we Have in Jesus’, one of the best known and liked hymns from the 19th century religious revival in America. The words of the original were written in 1855 as a poem by preacher Joseph M. Scriven and with the melody composed by Charles Crozat Converse in 1868. The same tune was re-worked by Alan Price, re-worded as ‘CHANGES’, and released by him in 1973. Hugh Laurie released it on the album ‘Didn’t It Rain’ in 2013.
I give the words below – a true mirror of the year 2020
Everyone is facing changes No one knows what’s going on And everyone is changing places Still the world keeps moving on
Love must always change to sorrow? And everyone must play the game Because it’s here today and gone tomorrow Still the world goes on the same
Love must always turn to sorrow And everyone must play the game Because its here today and gone tomorrow Still the world goes on the same
It’s here today and gone tomorrow Still the world goes on the same
There are many versions of both songs on YouTube. I give a link to my favourite Hugh Laurie version below . . .
Today drags its pale length as does the serpent slow, stately, watchful a day like any other the day that follows yesterday always preceding tomorrow like a tedious argument
Unplanned both shy of work and play bereft hot-desking and agile-working not working for me my day now structured by eating measured by meals by medication by those forever coffee spoons
Nothing planned so nothing to regret meaningless moments with nothing arranged only possibilities are exciting the five o’clock briefing another dose of dead antiques another bargain hunted down one more home under the hammer another escape to the country to the chateau or the sun but from my armchair escape is no longer an option glimpsed desires unfulfilled and not a matter of money
The seaside too still eludes me retaining its magnetism but with the pull of the tide unable to reach me The Lakes a mirage in my memory a Prelude taught to feel, perhaps too much, the self-sufficing power of solitude but this solitude no longer blissful
It now descends the yellow fog obscuring the future taking with it the meaning of my days rubbing its back against the window panes of this my settled cell licking it’s tongue
into the corners of my every uneventful evening. my every desultory day
So please release me let me go I’m being driven potty Let me disturb the universe please do beam me up Scotty
Not quite yet insane please let me live again
NOTE: Readers may recognise certain phrases repeated from the poetic works of Wordsworth and T.S.Eliot, plus an echo from ‘Star Trek’.