Wednesday, 1 December 2010
Up The Revolution - #7
Bitter Springs – TV Tears (Harvey Records download)
I did a double take while looking through the books in a charity shop the other day. It was a hardback in the Psion Humour Classics series, and I thought for a moment there the title said: The World of Simon Rivers. It’s a nice idea. He deserves to have a book to himself does Simon. For if you wanna know a little bit about life like what it’s lived you need to study the thoughts of chairman Simon.
Thankfully Simon does share his words of wisdom, through the medium of song, on a reasonably regular basis. And TV Tears is the third (virtual) EP that his Bitter Springs outfit has bestowed upon us in the past year. It’s every bit as entertaining, profound, and alive as you’d hope. Yeah, alive. Because you know you listen to a lot of stuff and think what the hell has this got to do with life today? The Biter Springs have always had a unique way with their social surrealism, taking the everyday and accentuating its absurdities.
It’s funny because earlier this year I started jotting down random things I overheard people saying while out shopping. I know Kenneth Williams used to get a lot of lines from listening to people’s conversations on buses. I get the same sense from listening to the Bitter Springs. Take any of their songs, and there’ll be a handful of seemingly unconnected lines that grab you and stay with you, and which seem to have been plucked unerringly or unnervingly from your own subconscious or experience.
Simon’s songs have always been about a hundred things at once, but you often find one theme reaches out and grabs you. With TV Tears it’s the media’s talent for turning trauma into drama. The victim’s family breaks down for the camera to make the grief real and easily presentable, and if you think you’re above such things just wait till the spotlight’s on you and you’re led up the garden path ... “Now I’m really really scared, I never knew how much I cared. I kept a lid on it for years and now just look at me I’m crying TV tears. I thought how cheesy can you get. Embrace the brothers I’d never met. And when at last the cameras roll where was my famous self-control?”
Now we just need a strapline ...“Buy the Rivers ah babbling on ... Yeah-ah we wept when we remembered Syon”. Life eh? Thankfully we’ve got the Bitter Springs and their unique brand of West London blues and roots to rouse us and brighten things up.