Wednesday, 27 June 2012

"it's fast / it's wrong"

Estrangement, intensity; the dream that our separate abjections and ecstasies might be reconcilable - if only in the manner of a verse melody in the relative minor playing over a chorus in the relative major. Why do they appear as separate in the first place? The lyric personae of Wouldn't it be Good stand in for two directions of social mobility - for the "downwardly" and "upwardly" mobile, for those thrown out into the cold and for those consumed by the white phosphorous of financial conflagration.

The patterns are more established, their ideological reflections more secure, by the time Microdisney come to address them - in 1987, with And He Descended Into Hell, and in 1988 with Gale Force Wind:

"If a power was to lift him up / and make him rich / would he admit it was luck?". Again we are making deals with God: the force driving us apart is nameless, sublime, possibly malevolent. It deals in anarchic reversals of fortune, in uplift and sudden ruin. If Kate Bush tries to confront this anarchy with erotic solidarity, Cathal Coughlan takes stock of the human relationships it has destroyed and the pathologies generated by nostalgia for a stable moral order:

"He believed he was right to ask for things / to be his and for him alone / and the world was not right with him unless / his wish was the world's command". How, without reimposing rights of ownership over others, tying them to us so that they cannot escape or be blown away, is the world to be made right again?

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