Friday, March 21, 2008

And now for a musical interlude

The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society!

For some reason, back when I was in high school, my favorite band was the Kinks. Strange, as by the time I was in high school, the Kinks were almost 20 years past their prime, though in the mid 1980s they did have something of as revival.

The songs of the British invasion were about rebellion against a Britain that was tired and boring and crying for change following war, rationing, decolonization and stagnation. The Kinks of course with their electric power chords and long hair and songs about sexual freedom tied into this rebellion.

But unlike other bands, the Kinks showed a real sentimentality for "Old England." The "Village Green" does not extol modern sensibilities but rather looks half ironically, half wistfully, at the simpler pleasures of small town English life.

Other songs are in the same vein. "Victoria" for example is a not totally unsentimental view of the pre-World War I Empire while "Come Dancing" remembers a time of innocence after World War II but before the sexual revolution. "Living on a Thin Line," while something of an indictment of Thacherism, also seems to grope for a simpler times of "kings and days of old."

It is always a danger to read too much into music. Maybe you can just sit back and enjoy it. And while we are at, God save the Village Green!


Anonymous said...

While it may be a danger to read too much into music, I think you'd agree that what gives music its power is the meaning we ascribe to it and the thoughts and feelings it provokes.

Nice post.

As a Churchillian kind of guy, I wish I could have traveled the British Empire in its heyday.


William R. Barker said...

Ahh...! More great memories, Anthony!

I saw the Kinks at the old Boston Garden back in '81 on the weekend of my freshman year at college move-in. They were frigg'n fantastic!

Cool song! I don't believe I've ever heard it before. I'm 110% with you on "Come Dancing," it's one of my favorite songs - I'm an unabashed sentimentalist myself! (*WINK*)

JS - and you too, Anthony - if you liked the Raj you'll LOVE the late George MacDonald Fraser's "Flashman." If you're not already fans, check the series out.