The 10-minute review – 18: Crayola Lectern

If you are lucky, you do not feel lonely growing up.

Today, in Sainsbury’s, bought one of those “three films on one DVD for a fiver” offers. South Pacific, The King And I, Oklahoma! I have never seen the second, although have seen enough parodies (particularly the Mad magazine one) to feel I know it intimately, and of course am familiar with the songs. The third always makes me think of Helen McCookerybook, albeit briefly, and that makes me happy, albeit briefly – she covered ‘The Surrey With The Fringe On Top’ in her 1980s band Helen And The Horns. (Read The Importance of Being Helen for further edification.) The Surrey being a stagecoach, not a county in southern England. The first was one of my go-to film soundtracks in the early 1980s and makes me think of Soundgarden. That makes me happy and sad, obv. Leap too great for you? Performed ‘Some Enchanted Evening’ on stage at the Vera Groningen as a duet with Chris Cornell in the 1990s before we were unceremoniously bundled to the ground by a fiesty tour manager.

Noticed have a tendency to leave the first person out of sentences. Presumably, Freudian.

If you are lucky, you feel nurtured and that there is a point to life. If you are lucky, you do not follow in your father’s footsteps.

When I write these posts on The Friendly Critic I have a habit of adding tags as I go along, before I have formulated an idea. Act as reminders. Act as fallbacks. Can’t help noticing that already three tags have appeared alongside this post trying to detail in my useless grey impotency this gorgeous, piano-drenched, trumpet-billowing psychedelic folk-rock music from Worthing’s own Crayola Lectern before I have even typed the words gorgeous, piano-drenched, trumpet-billowing psychedelic folk rock music… and so forth. Chris has a very sweet of habit of singing the brass section by himself and playing half the instruments on his new album Happy Endings like he’s time-slipped back several centuries and found himself on an idyllic English village green, scowling at the pigeons.

Grrr. Get away pigeons. Grrr. Get away.

There is a bit in ‘Secrets’ that sounds like it’s been lifted from most secret, intimate interpretations of Saucerful Of Secrets but. The title song shares (part of) a title with a Television Personalities song, but. The yin to its raging yang.

If you are lucky, your depression remains in the realm of melancholy and does not become so bleak and encompassing that you are not able to move for hours on end even as you feel everything crumbling around you.

This is beautiful, beautiful music. Sinister, compelling and so welcoming. The four names I have typed out are Roy Wood, Neil Innes, Robert Wyatt and The Addams Family but if you want the truth of it – and why the hell wouldn’t you want the truth of it? – none of the four names means as much to me, have ever meant as much to me, as the music from Mr Crayola Lectern, even with its woozy space-age proggy leanings. Especially with its woozy space-age proggy leanings. I finished up Neil Gaiman’s spellbinding spell-encrusted The Graveyard Book two days ago, and this music feels like my head playing catch-up. My dreams are no longer filled with wonder and mostly the realm of bleakness does not allow me the luxury, the necessity of music but if it did… this would be my succor, this would be my balm, this could be my beautiful Gothic dreaming.

Sometimes, you can hear Chris carolling quietly in the background. You may not understand what he is calling, the fairground prince. But it is enough to know that he is calling.

And if you are lucky, the only lamenting you will hear will be in church.

And if you are even luckier, you will not hear any music playing as they bury you deep, deep into the ground. Sooner, rather than later.

This music is a deep magic. These words are not. I hit ‘publish’ just as the album draws to a close and Miley Cyrus kicks in.

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