Saturday, November 12, 2011

Book Cover: Mother, Brother, Lover

There used to be a time when I would devour lyrics of songs, either by listening to the words or reading them (or both). This is something I tend not to do any more, either because I can't understand what anyone's singing nowadays (yes, I'm getting old) or, mostly, because with the majority of music, lyrics don't seem to be important (ie they're trite) and the human voice can be listened to like a musical instrument, which is fine by me. (Bands like Radiohead or R.E.M. make out they're serious or intellectual until you actually listen to the lyrics of their songs and realise they're meaningless or banal, such as, say, Radiohead's House of Cards: ' I don't wanna be your friend / I just wanna be your lover / No matter how it ends'. Zzzzz.)

I'll always listen to the words of certain singer songwriters – 'like it was written in my soul from me to you' – such as Dylan, Cohen, Reed and (Paul) Simon. But of more recent and younger singers or bands, Pulp and Jarvis Cocker spring to mind. Pulp usually printed the lyrics to their songs in their CD booklets, but advised people against reading them whilst listening to the music.

To save having to find all those old Pulp CDs, Faber have recently published a collection of Jarvis Cocker's lyrics, entitled Mother, Brother, Lover. It seems funny, at first, seeing the cover looking like an old Faber classic anthology of a famous poet, until you realise that Cocker is a famous poet of sorts and should be celebrated as one. I love the look of the book. Come on, this is something you can't Kindle. You've got to hold it and leaf through the pages.

• What I'm ever-so-subtly doing here (and here) is giving any readers who know me some ideas on what to get for my birthday and/or Christmas. At under £8, Mother, Brother, Lover is certainly the cheaper option than the Saul Bass book.

• Have I mentioned I saw Jarvis and his (then) wife and baby strolling along – Oh, I have? Okay, fine.

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