Life. Oh Life.
And, if I may be so bold, do-do-do-do
Marvelling at the enormous breadth and profundity of words ever written about the human condition, I do sometimes wonder if our artistic peak was in fact reached with the release of ‘Life’ by Des’ree in the summer of 1998.
Life. Oh Life. Oh Life. Oh Life.
I have a deep, and somewhat embarrassing, affection for this song. The way the verses sound like she did a secret sponsorship deal with The New Oxford Rhyming Dictionary. The way her voice strains in the lower register. The breezy, unfakeable, shameless absence of shits given1.
Most of all I love the false paving stone of that chorus lyric. It appears so ordinary at first, but apply any weight at all and it suddenly gives way into a dizzying, infinite expanse. Each ‘life’ holds the many worlds of all our collective experience. Each ‘oh’ holds the sighs of all the conscious universe. It is at once both light and heavy, shallow and deep, a quantum entanglement of everything and nothing2. Joy, pain, boredom, suffering, regret, death, hope, sometimes I see them in that chorus more than in a Nick Cave song. Is that wrong? It’s wrong isn’t it.
If you think so, you’re certainly not alone. In a 2007 public vote, this song was declared, by a clueless mob of fools, to have the worst pop lyrics ever. I don’t care. I’m inspired to share how I feel.
So anyway. Life, how is it?
Sometimes living out your dreams ain’t as easy as it seems
You wanna fly around the world in a beautiful balloon.
I took some time out after the tour ended to rest and refocus. I mainly avoid the evening news, but I have eaten lots of toast. I have been in a park with no one else around, in the dark, but I wasn’t afraid because of the patriarchy and because it was a nice part of town. I’ve been writing when I can. I’ve not been in a balloon3.
Most of all I’ve been focusing on my family and mental health. I’ve felt some guilt about my absence here, particularly for those of you who became paid subscribers, but I also remember points 1 and 2 of this post. The content will sometimes ebb and flow, I hope that’s enough for now. And I’ve got some great things to share soon.
Doubling down, we’re now going to move onto another Des’ree classic - You Gotta Be. It’s fabulous.
Does my daughter really need a parent when this song exists? Let’s go with yes to be on the safe side, but it’s still so good. In Des’ree’s hands the flimsy ‘My, oh my, hey, hey hey’ somehow holds the power of Dame Judy Dench sitting on a dusty porch looking into the middle distance.
I recorded a quick cover.
Perhaps it’s not my most significant work, but I was determined to share whatever arose from today, and, well, it turned out to be this. To those feeling disappointed, I nod sagely, compress my lips sympathetically, and say listen as your day unfolds, challenge what the future holds, try to keep your head up to the sky.
Love will save the day.
Until next time folks,
Thursday 21st September 2023 - Coatbridge, Georgian Hotel. Tickets.
Friday 22nd September 2023 - Lintrathen Lodge at Lochside Wee Bear Cafe. Tickets.
Saturday 23rd September 2023 - Dundee Masonic Hall. Tickets.
Saturday 7th October 2023 - Purley On Thames St Mary’s Church. Tickets.
View all confirmed dates on a map here: https://share.jakemorley.com/livemap
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I realise now it has a faint reminder of The Light - “I’m fairly messy, I pick my nose, I like Rubik’s cubes, I like barbershop quartets.” You can’t fake banality like that.
I add this expression mainly to annoy my brothers. One of whom is to be fair an actual quantum physicist.
For the uninitiated, these are mostly Des’ree lyrics