A friend of mine sent me this rough and ready footage of The Sundays singing My Finest Hour and it brought back a lot of feelings I’d had when I was younger. As a thirteen-year old, I found The Sundays to be the female-fronted version of The Smiths, with Harriet Wheeler’s swooping voice also reminding me of a more lucid Elizabeth Fraser. These days, I think what strikes me most is the Englishness of the voice and the ringing guitar. Rhythmically, it’s of its time, but there’s a real strength in a woman singing “poetry is not for me”, ironically, in a quite florid and ‘poetic’ context.
I was at a woman’s house once and I wandered over to her pile of CDs to have a nosy, but she rightly admonished me for my typically-male habit. She said something like, “Don’t go sniffing around and judging me by my taste in music – men always do that and make mental notes about my psyche”. At least, that was the gist. Ever since, I’ve reigned in my eagerness to inspect people’s belongings the first time I visit their house.
I’m also reminded of Tracyanne Campbell’s lyrics on Camera Obscura’s Swans: “No surprises in the record collection/You must’ve thought I was someone else”, which is both a sad and withering song. The first time I heard it, it gave me a pang in my chest.