Saturday, 9 February 2013
Some songs just haunt you. It's not the catchy melody or the memorable guitar lick that stay with you. It's not even the lyrics - you know that clever couplet that made you smile or the uplifting chorus echoing around your head. It's certainly not the style of the song or the voice of the singer that causes you to sit up and notice it because more often than not it's just not your kind of music. No what I'm talking about is a song that overshadows you - it feels as though it's lagging a footstep or so behind you ready to strike at any moment. I put Mary Gauthier's 'I Drink' in that category. I guess what haunts me about this song is the story. Much like my reflections on Townes Van Zandt's 'Waiting Around to Die' there's something in this song that rings true. It's personal, it's painful and it just demands a response. Why do I care? Well, I see this song being played out in life and it's frightening.
And it's for this reason that 'I don't drink'. In fact I've been fasting from 'drink' for nigh on 20 years now. Even now I occasionally miss it - a glass of red wine during Sunday lunch, a cool lager on a hot summer's day, a Bailey's at Christmas. But I've seen too much pain caused by drink to feel anything but antipathy towards it. Destruction too often follows in its wake. So it's a fast I'm proud to make. And whenever I'm tempted to break my fast I sense this song one step behind - a dark shadow creeping up from behind and it's then that I make my statement 'I don't drink'.