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Friday, November 2, 2012

Waiting for the Great Leap Forward


As of late, I have been complete absorbed in XTC’s, “Making Plans for Nigel,” listening to it six or seven times a day. Dustin and I casually mentioned that if we ever decided to have a child (GASP!) and it was a boy, Nigel was a definite boy name possibility. I’m betting that our next boy cat would have a better chance of being named Nigel. Maybe a hairless cat that someone buys me for my thirtieth birthday? Just a consideration for the six people that even come close to reading this rarely-updated and poorly-attituded (that’s a word now) blog (that’s also a sentence fragment, but I like to live life on the edge. The grammatical edge).




I love this song because, much like the Brits, they say it best when they say nothing at all (Yes, I did steal that line from Keith Whitley. What’s he going to do about it? Not much, I’ll bet).

We're only making plans for Nigel 
We only want what's best for him 
We're only making plans for Nigel 
Nigel just needs this helping hand


And if young Nigel says he's happy 
He must be happy 
He must be happy in his work


We're only making plans for Nigel 
He has his future in a British steel 
We're only making plans for Nigel 
Nigel's whole future is as good as sealed


And if young Nigel says he's happy 
He must be happy 
He must be happy in his work


Nigel is not outspoken 
But he likes to speak 
And loves to be spoken to 
Nigel is happy in his work 
We're only making plans for Nigel


 So many songs have been written about working-class Brits by artists like Billy Bragg and groups like XTC, that I feel as though I have basic understanding of their desperation and apathy and how it, in turn,  mirrors my own in so many ways.  While artists like Sting (don’t get me wrong, I like him, but he’s a total twat) like to talk about how they grew up in working-class neighborhoods whilst on a Yoga retreat in sweaty, buggy Bali or from a yurt in Mongolia where they’re learning to play a yak intestine hurdy-gurdy from the local medicine man (thusly trying to gain some kind of street-cred with the middle-class and actually gaining street-cred with Bourgeois Bohemians that make two-hundred thousand dollars a year and have a Zen garden on the back patio of their brownstone because it just makes them feel more “at peace.” FEH.), there are artists that write songs that express what we’re all thinking in such amazingly witty ways that the typical idiot off the street isn’t going to get it and will just be-bop his way through life thinking that that song has a catchy tune (we already discussed this when I dissected Bruce Springsteen’s, “Born in the USA,” and wondered why anyone, anywhere would ever use that for their fourth of July celebration).

“Nigel’s whole future is as good as sealed,” is so ominous and so frightening under the guise of being upstanding and good. It’s like when you see a picture of John Wayne Gacy cheesin' it dressed like Pogo the clown when you know he’s secretly stuffing twinks in his crawl-space (are these analogies doing it for you yet?). 

I feel like I'm Nigel. I feel like my husband is Nigel. I feel like there are so many of us that are Nigel: with social deviants screaming inside of us. Aching to get out and set the nearest bank on fire and start bartering with goats and baked bread. 

My whole life seems to revolve around how I push dollars from one person to the next through spreadsheets and credits and re-bills and invoice history errors and dividends. My future was as good as sealed the day that I signed the FAFSA and said that I would spend the next four years spending forty-grand on a degree that would afford me to be so happy. I must be happy. I must be happy in this work.

We're waiting for the great leap forward.




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