Featuring the beautiful Martha Davis (and the rest of the band dressed in their best from the racks of Chess King):
I first saw this video sometime in mid-1984 when I was stressed to the enamel of my teeth trying to finish up coursework on my MA in English, reading through the pile of books required for the comprehensive exam, half-assing my way through a thesis on the development of the detective story all while trying to keep myself fed and salvage a confusing relationship with someone I had been seeing since my sophomore year. Something that felt like it was crumbling in my hands. And every time I tried to glue a couple of pieces back together, they no longer fit.
It was probably the wrong song to get latched onto at the wrong time. The previous summer I had finished my BA, graudated with honors, stoked to begin the masters and my first year of teaching when I returned to school. I sizzled with enthusiasm.
One summer later all I had was smoke.
One summer never ends, one summer never begins. . .
Coincidentally, my roommate at the time introduced me to the sounds of The Style Council through a casette mix of the two US releases they had out at the time: the EP Long, Hot Summer and My Ever Changing Moods. The tile cut from the former summed up that whole lousy period:
(In my mind different voices call)
What once was pleasure nows pain for us all
(In my heart only shadows fall)
I once stood proud now I feel so small
(I dont know whether to laugh or cry)
The long hot summer just passed me by
Some stay stuck in their despondency and manage to build a life around it. I got over mine. The thesis was finished (with a thud, not with a scholoarly flourish as I had hoped), I got the degree, and, a year later, put the relationship out of its misery. Then I wobbled on with my life.
I still love those songs. They’re signposts for me. To be sure, they mark a confusing time when I wasn’t taking care of myself and becoming less and less responsible to the tasks toward which I had pointed myself a year earlier. Still, I’m not so masochistic toward myself that I drag up my past to give myself a stinging lash or two. Like that scene in The Natural when Roy Hobbs is in the team owner’s dark office and he pulls a sheaf of photographs – the dead body of the woman who had intended to kill him – and shakes them at him. “Remembah, Hobbs,” he growls, “you have a past.”
“I don’t care,” Hobbs replies, and steps out the door to suit up for his final game.
Yeah, I still have my own set of pictures from a past tied into these songs. The sting from them is long gone. All I do now is remember.