There’s A Way of Saying, A Way of Saying A Shape

An entirely random memory, brought on by listening to a song from Graham Coxon’s 1998 album The Sky is Too High for the first time in… well, pretty much 23 years:

It was during the period, post-graduation, that I was working in Aberdeen without having a permanent place to live; instead, I was spending a lot of time on couches and floors of understanding friends, as well as the occasional night in a bed-and-breakfast or something similar when I couldn’t rely on the kindness of friends that particular evening. In this particular case, I was staying with a friend who was still a student in the art school where I was now teaching, which was very much a strange and awkward experience for both of us — not that I was staying with him, but that I was now technically a peer of teachers that he very much didn’t like or respect. (For, it should be said, good reason; they didn’t understand what he was doing, so pretty much dismissed everything that he did without asking other peoples’ opinions.)

The memory in question is of me in the morning, getting ready to go to work, and playing Coxon’s just-released album in the background. For those unfamiliar with it, it’s mostly acoustic and somewhat drone-y and deary, in the way that a lot of post-Britpop acoustic music was at the time before melodies were rediscovered; that it was both acoustic and dreary was what caught the attention of the friend I was staying with, and he somewhat tongue-in-cheekily called me out on those facts, with my defensive reaction being a variation on, basically, you shut up this is good and you just don’t get it.

I was, for the record, only half-right — it’s an okay record, but as an album, it’s actually overlong and far too same-y for its own good.

As we discussed how quiet and afraid the music sounded, the penultimate track on the album came on. It sounds like this:

Both of us stopped talking for the entire duration of the song. When it was finished, the friend looked at me for a second, and then said, matter-of-factly, “See? That’s more like it.”

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