The other day I was perusing myspace looking to make ‘friends’ with bands and artists that I like. Now, I’m not fool enough to think that these people a) manage their own myspace page or b) would actually check out my profile and listen to my music only to discover that I’m the songwriter they’ve always been looking for but didn’t know it until now. No, I invite them to be my ‘friend’ because I admire their work and thusly people who do check out my profile can see who I listen to and am influenced by. So it was with great horror that when I searched for The Beautiful South and discovered through their page –www.myspace.com/thebeautifulsouth - that they had broken up. 3 weeks ago. This is truly a heartbreaking loss to the world of music.
I know what you are saying…who the hell are these people? Simply put, they are the best band you’ve never heard of and are undoubtedly the most underrated group of the last 19 years. Formed in England in the late 80’s by former members of The Housemartins, Paul Heaton, and Dave Hemingway and joined by Brianna Corrigan (later replaced by Alison Wheeler), Sean Welch, Dave Stead, and Dave Rotheray their sweet melodies and even sweeter harmonies belie the darker truths beneath their infectious pop tunes. They are hard not to tap your feet to, and Paul Heaton’s songwriting as witnessed in the above referenced Prettiest Eyes, my personal favourite, is clever, original, lacking in clichés and far above that of most pop writers you will ever hear. As he says on their websight: “So many pop songs are written about 15-20 year olds. We've never really targeted them, or newly weds. We write about people who've lived together most of their lives.”
Like most he tells stories of heartache, loss and love but he does it from a perspective that is distant so as not to be too emotional, yet somehow intimate enough so you understand exactly what he’s getting at. “The Sound Of North America isn’t Christians quietly praying it’s the sounds of shuffling feet that don’t know where they’re staying…A homeless Greta Garbo moves across the street, the moonlight shining clearly through her skirt, a real life living legend that no one wants to meet and that’s when being Garbo really hurts. Sometimes you feel expensive, sometimes you feel so cheap you can roam the streets of Queen whilst everyone’s asleep, you can act with anybody from the cradle to the crypt but god help the actress who doesn’t know the script…”
I can’t say enough about this band, only that I will truly miss their collective offering to the world and I look forward to any solo projects that may come from these folks. Find them on myspace or www.beautifulsouth.co.uk. But find them before they disappear.
I spent another Saturday morning at the The Vet’s office. No worries – just a check-up on Phineas to see how he’s doing with his treatments and if indeed they are helping him. My awesome Vet, Dr. Rettinger, was pleased with how he seemed so now we await test results and hopefully don’t go back for another 4-6 months. It’s all a part of our new routine and that’s cool. He’s worth it. But it’s funny being in the waiting room with everyone and their pets. It’s this odd ‘daycare’ situation where people wait, mingle and admire each other’s ‘kids’.
It feels like when I’m home and I go pick up my niece, Cate, from daycare and other ‘parents’ are there. The same words are spoken, the same admiring glances, and the same feeling of pride at my ‘offspring’. “How old?”, “Myyy…what a cutie!!”, “Sorry about the saliva I guess he really likes you…”. It’s odd. They’re not my kid in the traditional sense. But still I’m proud of how adorable Phin and Cate are. “Yep, I’m kin” I think glowingly as the comments are passed around. “Yeah, I’ve cleaned up puke, fed them, and changed a diaper or 2”. Ok – I never actually changed Cate’s diaper, but I’ve been around when the diaper was changed and thusly experienced every odor that could occur during that time.
I’ve been spit on, puked on, and most importantly, I’m loved and love them with all my heart. So really I could be in any waiting room in Connecticut, or here in West Hollywood and the feelings are the same. I know that sounds strange, but it’s true. It’s a club I’m proud to be a part of, and if I’m lucky one day Cate and Phin will see the crows feet on my eyes.
Thanks for tuning in…Until next Monday…CHEERS!!!