Thursday, 20 November 2008

It's not St Swithin's Day but...

On Tuesday night, I was channel-surfing through a pretty average selection of typical British television. Nothing was on. As I surfed through BBC1, and chanced upon god-awful medical drama Holby City, I stopped. For there, at the end of the show, was Billy Bragg. No, he hasn't fallen on times so hard that he's been reduced to cameo appearances on ailing hospital-based soaps. Rather, the show seemed to be closing with a montage, presumably intended to wrap up a number of plotlines in seamless visual harmony... and that montage was being soundtracked by Uncle Bill's "St Swithin's Day". So I stopped surfing and watched - well, listened - to enjoy this most beautiful of songs. And then... then the sods faded Bill out before the last verse, and up came the jarring Holby theme tune as the credits rolled! What were they thinking? If you're going to introduce a moment of genuine class and sublime beauty to your tawdry show, at least have the decency to include it in its entirety!

So, for anyone else that loves this song (and that should be everybody), here are the lyrics in full, including the third stanza so stupidly omitted by the Beeb.

St Swithin's Day by Billy Bragg

Thinking back now,
I suppose you were just stating your views
What was it all for
For the weather or the Battle of Agincourt
And the times that we all hoped would last
Like a train they have gone by so fast
And though we stood together
At the edge of the platform
We were not moved by them

With my own hands
When I make love to your memory
It's not the same
I miss the thunder
I miss the rain
And the fact that you don't understand
Casts a shadow over this land
But the sun still shines from behind it.

Thanks all the same
But I just can't bring myself to answer your letters
It's not your fault
But your honesty touches me like a fire
The Polaroids that hold us together
Will surely fade away
Like the love that we spoke of forever
On St Swithin's Day.
I couldn't find an MP3 of this song to link to, or a YouTube of an official video (mainly because I don't think there was one), but there is this that you can "watch" to get a flavour of the song in full. Even with just a static image, it beats watching Holby any day of the week.

Footnote: St Swithin's Day is actually the 15th of July. According to tradition, whatever the weather on that day it will continue the same for the next 40 days. Which is, of course, bollocks.

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