Oh I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside

Yes, I’ve been away. Very nice it was too. The English seaside, even in the sunshine, can be bracingly cold, but mucking about on a sheltered beach in bright sunshine in late April is a glorious thing and not to be sniffed at. Come on, global warming, do your worst!

Song of the trip was, bizarrely, Robert Wyatt’s “Shipbuilding”. I started singing this to my kid, for some reason, during the trip, then on the way home we put on Radio 4, and what came on within a couple of minutes? Yep, “Shipbuilding”. Isn’t that odd?

Now I have written about this song before, as part of the whole Pitchfork Thang, but over time this track has become a firm favourite round here, dusted off when I want to listen to something that’s simple yet complex, beautiful yet troubling, and something to sing along to so I can annoy the neighbourhood cats and dogs.

Has there ever been a song written that so perfectly encapsulates the horrendous deal made by communities that are making weapons? That to buy your wife shoes and a winter coat, and your son’s birthday present, you have to build a ship that will be used to kill people? That speaking out against it may well end up with you getting beaten up, or “filled in”, as the song puts it? That there is more to life – “Diving for pearls” – than just trudging through a daily existence of dreary work.

A work of genius, that’s what it is.

MP3: Shipbuilding by Robert Wyatt

Buy “Greatest Misses” Here (CD/MP3)

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