Not the most upbeat of titles, I suppose, for a first post on a new blog, but an accurate one. It’s May 31 again, and the autumn is almost gone. A few leaves are still on the branches of deciduous trees, but they’ll by gone in a week or so. Now comes the grey, and the rain, and the swift, early sunsets.
It’s on this day each year I like to come to the little stairway that hangs off the side of the ramp that carries High St from Westgarth up the side of Rucker’s Hill, to Northcote and beyond. It’s my habit to watch the city, as the sun goes down again.
It’s a habit born of a few things: I’ve spent a lot of my life in Northcote and environs; significant dates encourage introspection in me, and, of course, I have a love of the music of The The. This song, in particular:
Matt Johnson’s music and lyrics will always have a place in my heart (I imagine them as the soundtrack to Jamie Delano’s Hellblazer, among other things), but this song is special.
Each May 31, I like to perch at the top of the stairs, watch the city fade into night, and evaluate just how we’re doing. Johnson wrote the song talking about Thatcher’s Britain, but the political and economic ideas of Thatcher and her ilk her never really gone away, and the current Australian government in particular seems guided by them.
Sometimes, it almost feels as if they use the lyrics of Heartland as a checklist:
- Cut the heart from the welfare state – check
- Wars on the television, never to be explained – check
- All the people frightened – CHECK
So alas, this will be yet another winter of long shadows and high hopes…
…still, as Warren Ellis reminded us, “the future is inherently a good thing, and we move into it one winter at a time.”
Thanks for reading. I hope you’ll journey into it with me.