Monday, 4 March 2013

Dad songs #5 and #6

It's a Billy Bragg special today, following requests from fellow psychologists Mike Eslea and Mike Page.

First we have 'Brickbat' from the 'William Bloke' album, when Bragg was coming to terms with his domesticity and life as a father.

"I used to want to plant bombs at the Last Night of the Proms / But now you'll find me with the baby, in the bathroom / With that big shell listening for the sound of the sea / The baby and me..."

Then it's 'Tank park salute' from 'Don't try this at home'. In this 2003 interview he describes it as the most honest thing he's written. When he sings 'You were so tall: how could you fall?' I defy you not to get a shiver down your spine and a tear in your eye.

Billy Bragg: I wrote that about my father who died in 1976. It was strange because I had never really spoken about that to anybody at the time he died really up until I wrote that song. When I wrote that song, playing it live, people would come up to me and tell me about an experience they had with…not necessarily a family member, just someone dear to them who was lost. So I had to suddenly find a way of speaking about it. Now even to the extent of speak about it on TV, which I had never had done before.
Andrew Denton: What was it you wrote that expressed you?
Billy Bragg: Well, really, I suppose about my relationship with my father and how I felt about the sense of loss. I suppose that's obvious to anybody. But there's some things in there about, you know, about being tall and him being strong and all those dad things that dads are. I've had big burly guys who have just loaded all the gear into the truck come to me afterwards and say, "That song about your dad, I thought it was great." You can't really ask for more than that.
Andrew Denton: Part of the thing with your father dying — as you were saying, he was a big strong man — but when your father dies he's suddenly made small.
Billy Bragg: He is. He's made mortal. When I became a father myself, it gave me a completely different perspective. Really great as well, because just recently last month was the 50th anniversary of my parents getting married. I was walking along the beach that day and I was speaking to my mum and I thought to myself, "What would be the thing of all the things I've achieved that I would most proud to show to my dad?" 
And it occurred to me it'd be my son, Jack, that was the thing I'm most proud of. When I thought about it that, it further occurred to me that the thing he was probably most proud of was me and my brother. And that made me feel closer to him on that day, that special day.

No comments:

Post a Comment