I’m listening to King of America, Elvis Costello’s 1986 album, while receiving my fourth and final dose of Cytarabine for this chemo cycle. Unlike the over-produced and rather directionless ‘Goodbye Cruel World’, this album still works for me 32 years on as the songs and production remain coherent for the whole hour.
The first track is ‘Brilliant Mistake’, and the first verse seems to resonate when listened to against the backdrop of Trump and Brexit. I hope fervently that in a couple of years these brilliant mistakes will have been consigned to the dustbin of history. But if not, well, a few listens to ‘Suit of Lights’, also on this album, will probably make me feel a little better.
Brilliant Mistake – Declan MacManus
He thought he was the King of America
Where they pour coca-cola just like vintage wine
Now I try hard not to become hysterical
But I’m not sure if I’m laughing or crying
I wish that I could push a button
And talk in the past and not the present tense
And watch this hurting feeling disappear
Like it was common sense
It was a fine idea at the time (*)
Now it’s a brilliant mistake
(*) I was obviously never convinced that Trump or Brexit were fine ideas, but understand why many people thought they were. Hopefully change is coming …