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.