Saturday, 25 April 2015

Rock & Electoral Roll

Cliché though it may be at this point, by and large it does seem to remain the case that the majority of our politicians are either unable or unwilling to give straight answers to important questions.  They duck and dive on a whole range of subjects, but ever since first becoming interested in politics I’ve noticed there is one issue in particular which parties on all sides have been consistently at great pains to avoid.  This is doubtless due in part to the stakes being so high of course.  As with so many areas in public office, politicians probably feel they can’t be seen to make a mistake while addressing it, lest opponents and the media jump over them and tear their credibility to shreds; so instead they attempt to distract, deflect and confuse, preferring to talk instead of policy announcements, budget details, growth projections, job prospects and other such bumf.  Yet as we approach arguably the most keenly contested election in our post war history, with the general public crying out almost as one for clarity on the single matter which at this point could make all the difference, the question of ‘If your political party were a band or musician, which band or musician would your political party be and why?' is again conspicuously absent from any and all manifestos.  And they wonder why we’re disengaged from politics?

Well you know what, if those fat cats in Westminster won’t be straight with you then I will.  Because while I believe it’s vitally important for people to use their vote, I think it’s equally as essential that they have all the salient facts before they do.  That’s why today I’m here to give you the very  I first started pondering the age old question of  ‘If the political parties were a band or musician, which band of musician would they be and why?’ on my own a couple of nights ago but when I realised what a potential game changer I had on my hands I sought the advice of a pal and together we added the final pieces of the puzzle.  What we worked out is theoretically massive and could have huge implications for the upcoming election.  We’re basically the modern day, British equivalent of Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman when they discovered Watergate or whatever.  I hope you wore double socks today, Establishment, because I’m about to blow at least one pair of them off.

My first instinct was to cast the Labour party as The Rolling Stones because, like Labour, in the early part of their career The Rolling Stones were amazing, weren’t they?  They came out with some proper revolutionary stuff.  ‘Let It Bleed’, ‘Exile On Main Street’  ‘Sticky Fingers’ – that’s pretty much your musical equivalent of the welfare state right there: NHS, Trade Unions, the works.  Brilliant.  Recently though…not so much.  I mean they’ve both done a few okay things since their glory years, ‘Start Me Up’ and Devolution say, as well as some crap things, ‘Sex Drive’ and starting illegal wars for example, but generally speaking from the 90’s onwards things have been patchy for both.  Increasingly they seem quite content get by on their rightly revered name and fine reputation, to just live off the hits.  Nothing truly ground-breaking from either in a while.  Generally a bit bland.  Definite sense of it being more about the bank balance these days.  I thought this was a perfect fit, but it was pointed out to me by Jamie that there’s a certain smug slickness to New Labour that doesn’t equate to Old Stones.  

After a quick rethink we hit instead on U2.  Similarly to the Stones and Labour, they arguably started out well; the early work had some real heart and power to it with plenty of social conscience in there too.  Unfortunately, with massive success it seemed to gradually become more about style over substance, much more of an emphasis on image and P.R.  Started to believe their own hype possibly, get a bit pleased with themselves.  Labour: The wearing-sunglasses-all-the-time-even-indoors-and-at-night years, you might call them.  Out went inspiring inventions like Pride (In The Name Of Love) and the National Minimum Wage and in came meaningless, allegedly crowd pleasing what’s-the-pointeries like ‘Elevation’ and the Millennium Dome.  Also it has become more and more difficult in recent times to reconcile the good values both expound with the fact that they’re incredibly well off people, some of whom have decidedly questionable personal finical ethics and are rather snugger with big business and banks than they would care to admit.  That said, both Labour & U2 still have a lot of fans and still manage the occasional decent effort (um, that one off the ‘Batman Forever’ soundtrack maybe, and, I dunno, the fox hunting ban I guess?)  On top of that there’s always that slim chance they could recapture old form, and to be frank, they're still better than what’s coming next.


The Forgettable Fire

Now see originally I was going to just say the Conservatives were Chris De Burgh, as both have been around forever and both are awful, but again it was suggested to me that it might need to be a little more nuanced than that.  After all you don’t get into Government god knows how many times if everybody hates you so it would have to be an act with a certain amount of support, however inexplicable.  It was Jamie again who first hit on the idea of the Tories being represented by, ironically enough I suppose, Simply Red.  Difficult as it may be for some of us to comprehend, during the 80’s and 90’s Simply Red and The Conservative party were quite popular.  You would see them on TV or here them on the radio all the time and think to yourself, who likes this stuff?  Who buys it?  Who finds it even slightly agreeable?  Nobody I know.  Then of course you come to learn that just because you’re not a fan, that doesn’t mean they’re not out there.  Some folk might think the NHS could use a good ol’ fashioned privatisin’.  Some voters might have reckoned our manufacturing industries needed taken down a peg or two million.  Some individuals may genuinely wonder, what’s a few billion in cheekily avoided tax between multinational friends anyway?  Plenty of people probably liked ‘Fairground.’  Yep, I just equated the worst excesses of the Tory party to the song ‘Fairground’ and I don’t regret it.  I hate that song. 

The Tories and Simply Red it turns out (on account of the latter being considered classic sophisticated soiree background music) tend to be quite big with people who refer to wine by year instead of colour and who would really prefer it if you left your shoes at the door before you come in, thanks.  Maybe that’s a bit sweeping.  I don't say all Conservative voters or Simply Red fans are like that, some are just normal folk.  Heck, sometimes even I’ll hear something like ‘Stars’ or ‘Record numbers of people in employment’ and I’ll think, ‘Aye fair do’s, that’s alright.’  But then on closer inspection you’re like “Nah, that’s cheesy as hell and they’re all low paid or zero hours contracts so it doesn’t count.”  It’s not that I dislike what they’re supposedly striving for (successful people and Soul music) I don’t, it’s just that I consider the way these two do it to be atrocious.  Look if all these links seem a little tenuous and aren’t really cutting it for you, try this one on for size: Simply Red had a song called ‘Money’s Too Tight To Mention’, yes?  And what’s the one thing you’ve heard out of every Tory without fail for the last five years?  And did either of these two groups look particularly hard up while they were telling us this?  Naw.  Exactly.  Thank you.  Nailed it.


Holding back the poor

This was quite easy.  When the Lemonheads started off they were a rough round the edges alt rockish punk band.  When the Liberal Democrats first set out they were also relative outsiders.  Neither did particularly well in terms of converting a large audience but they did put out some good stuff for a while and even though it was probably never going to go anywhere, their fans loyally supported them anyway.  Even if they weren’t your own personal favourite, it was perfectly possible to hear things like the album ‘Hate Your Friends’ or an anti-war stance or the album ‘Lick’ or the championing of civil liberties and go, ‘Yeah that sounds pretty good, I like it.’  Again, they were never going to be number 1, but the other options were so insipid and ever more samey that at times it was tempting to choose them regardless.  Then the Lemonheads and Lib Dems mirrored each other further by losing an old leader and handing control of their group to a very presentable looking young fella with much greater pop sensibilities.  The subsequent move into the mainstream brought both much more attention, but the changes they made to get that attention – by abandoning their punky aesthetic and a lot of political principles – left much of their original fan base bitterly disappointed.  Incidentally to anyone reading this now and thinking, ‘Ah except wait a minute, because Simply Red and The Lemonheads never formed a five year super group though, did they?  So that analogy doesn’t work,’ I would simply say: Pipe down David bloody Dimbleby!  This is a wafer thin concept I’ve got going on here and frankly I feel like I’ve done spectacularly well to eek it out this far.  And I’ve still got another four of these to do, so do me a favour and get off my case.  Anyway my main point about them both being taken over by a bit pretty boys who sold out is totally valid.  So Lib Dems are The Lemonheads, cos they just are, if you don’t like it bugger off to the Financial Times or something.


It's a shame about tuition fees.

Tough one.  The SNP would have to be a band that really divided opinion, in the early years and still today.  There would need to be a lot of people who questioned their quality, motives and authenticity, as well as plenty who heard them and actually really rated them.  So I had a think and in the end I’ve decided to plump for Pearl Jam.  Now, just go with me on this for a second, okay?  Right.  I reckon the SNP are like Pearl Jam because when Pearl Jam first came to prominence many (if not in fact the majority) wrote them off as one-note opportunists, taking advantage of the trend at the time, jumping on the grunge bandwagon merely to cash in and sell records.  Same with the SNP.  Except the trend wasn’t grunge music, it was opposition to the Tories.  And they didn’t want to sell records, they wanted to gain independence.  You see?  When Pearl Jam sang about anguish and torment, loads of people rolled their eyes and went ‘Yeah right, you’re in this for the money.’  Likewise when the SNP spoke of inequality and social justice, the response used to be largely be ‘Aye, heard it. You’d say anything to get independence, you lot.”  It was expected therefore that when both the movements that gave them a platform dwindled so would they, but in fact the opposite has happened.  The two have gone on to become even bigger and have enduring success by expanding their horizons and in turn their support.
Let’s say the Pearl Jam album ‘Ten’ is the case for independence, because that’s arguably what both sides of this pairing are chiefly associated with.  Hands up, I’ll admit it, I like ‘Ten.'  I bought ‘Ten’, I hope one day everyone will buy ‘Ten’, I feel strongly our lives would be considerably improved if we all took a punt on‘Ten’; but even if you don’t like that LP, even if every time you hear it you’re like, ‘This again?  Dear god, change the record, please! If I never hear this again it’ll be two soon” then there’s still plenty of very different, decent offerings to explore.  Scrapping tuition fees for example, that would probably be the album ‘Vs’ because everyone's in favour of that, eh?  Mitigating the Bedroom Tax is like the SNP’s ‘No Code’ as it’s also very impressive.  Forming a minority government, that’s maybe ‘Vitalogy’ – tricky but ultimately rewarding.  Wind Farms, you’re looking at ‘Riot Act’ in terms of not being everyone’s cup of tea, but I like it. Naturally there have been mistakes along the way - the odd duff policy, the occasional entirely ukelele based album - but generally speaking both have been at lot more successful and effective than many would've expected.  However there’ll probably always remain a question of credibility in some the minds of some.  For every one of us who watches Eddie Vedder or Nicola Sturgeon and goes, ‘Caw they sound good don’t they?  I think I might even fancy them a wee bit’ there’s somebody else going, ‘God I hate these guys.  What are they trying to pull?  They’re not at all authentic.”


I confess I was struggling to come up with a band for the Green Party because you need an act who were always good but for the most part ignored anyway.  Jamie's shout was ‘Pulp.’  Inspired I thought, because Pulp and in particular Jarvis Cocker, like the Green Party, were indeed around for ages before anyone took any notice.  For a while albums like ‘It’, ‘Freaks’ and ‘Separations’ were similar to the Green Part’s environmental message in that they were well worth listening to and yet largely fell on deaf ears.  Niche listening.  Cult following at best.  Then as time went on they began to register a bit more in the public consciousness.  As people began zipping up parkas in August, slapping on the sun cream in October, occasionally canoeing along a street they usually walked down, or hearing songs like ‘Babies’, ‘Razzmatazz’ and ‘Do You Remember The First Time?’ they began to feel this lot might actually be on to something.  And I have a feeling that in this particular election, with more emphasis on social policies alongside the environmental stuff and with smaller parties looking set to have real influence, the Green Party might be a ‘Different Class’ this time round; they might genuinely breakthrough to the 'Common People.’  After all it’s about time ‘Something Changed.’  (I tell you what, this concept isn’t perfect, but when it works, boy does it work.  Buzzing with how this one is turning out.)  Also, also, may-maybe if the Green Party did well they could go out to celebrate at ‘Bar Italia’, in ‘Underwear’ and a ‘Pencil Skirt.’  Then on to a Disco...2000….I’ve lost it, haven’t I?  I got greedy.  Made a nonsense of it now.  Anyway my point is this time the Green Party has a real opportunity to get the recognition they deserve and even if, like Jarvis and Pulp, the excitement is relatively short lived, they’ll always be around and listening to them will never be a waste of time.  Moreover if we refuse to acknowledge the existence of Pulp the planet is doomed.  (Ach, STOP IT now Andy, you’re undoing all your good work from earlier.)


Let's all cycle to work in the year 2000

Before I start I feel it’s important to point out that just because I’m comparing this band to a party of principally narrow minded, backwards looking, xenophobic gonks, I’m not automatically branding said band as correspondingly narrow minded, backwards looking, xenophobic gonks.  Mind you, I have already compared a Rolling Stones song to international warfare and a Simply Red tune to the systematic destruction of hundreds of communities in the eighties, so I suppose it may be a little late to be scrabbling for the moral high ground now.  Nevertheless, we just needed a band which only ever really sings about one or two things, constantly brings everything back to those things, is generally a bit of joke and can’t really be taken seriously.  In the end we came up with The Wurzels.  Simply because The Wurzels seemed preoccupied with farming and cider in the same way UKIP do with the European Union and immigrants.  I’m not saying all those things aren’t important in their own right, but come on, not every single issue/song revolves around the E.U or immigrants/farming or cider.  To just continuously bang on about those particular things in isolation is just not sustainable in career terms.
Ooh arr, eee yew
As I say though, both certainly have fans and it’s absolutely right their concerns in these areas should be legitimately scrutinized.  I mean of course we should have chief control over our own combine harvester and ultimate say on who we give the key to, but personally I just feel a little uneasy about potentially withdrawing the U.K’s 20 acres from the E.U’s combined 43.  We are competing with American, Russian and Chinese farms after all.  Okay, maybe you think 43 is a little high with regards control of the overall crop, so we stick in there and negotiate ourselves a few acres back, no?  (What?  I said concerns should be legitimately scrutinized, I didn’t say by me, right now, using The Wurzels.)  So if farming is the metaphorical E.U that leaves the contentious attitude to cider.  It’s fine to champion cider.  I like cider.  However, a lot of people, me included, find the inherent suspicion of any drink which is not cider to be deeply troubling.  Spirits and beers from all over the world enrich our pub and bar experiences, not to mention make a sizable net contribution to our economy, it we stopped the flow of such an eclectic mix of drinks into this country we would be considerably worse off in my opinion.  This Wurzels/UKIP link was never the strongest so in closing let me say; by all means buy a Wurzels record if you so wish, at least they’re purposely ridiculous, but vote UKIP?  Don’t make I laugh! (That’s Somerset for ‘No.’)


Lovely Plaid Cymru.  I’m going to make them the band Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci because they’re both Welsh and I haven’t heard a lot of their stuff but what I have heard, I like.  Also I don’t have much of a clue what either of their names translate as.  If you live in Wales though I’d encourage you to check them both out.  I would.


So there you go.  No excuse not to get involved now.  All your options for the 2015 UK General Elections made crystal clear.  U2, Simply Red, Lemonheads, Pearl Jam, Pulp Gorky's Zygotic Mynci or The Wurzels.  Simple.  I mean obviously there are the wee dinky parties who I haven’t covered here but for the purposes of this analogy let’s just say they’re all unsigned bands: not widely known, but if you like one of them, provided they're not unspeakably awful, by all means fill your fully enfranchised boots 
Search me.

I gave Northern Ireland a miss too, not out of disrespect, simply because to me over there is summed up by the Progressive Rock genre: excruciatingly complex, well over my head and just generally not my scene.  Again though, if all that's your thing, get stuck in.  Happy votin'.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

You're No Sun Of Mine.

Fame can do funny things to people, you noticed?  Some people at least, not everyone.  I suppose it’s like a lot of things in that way though.  Penicillin for example; I mean obviously for the majority of folk penicillin is a great thing which has a really positive effect on them and can significantly improve their overall quality of life, but for a few individuals, like me, penicillin has a pretty weird influence on us.  For some reason we just have this really extreme adverse to it and we simply can’t take it.  Same with global popularity I think; normally if somebody suddenly acquires a few million adoring fans following a hit album or movie or whatever, that's good, smashin, who doesn't love a bit of well-deserved praise?  But for some aspiring performers that’s when something bizarre starts to happen.  Hard to say precisely what goes wrong, my guess would be it’s a combination of factors; a few too many yes-men here, a life sized papier-mâché model of themselves made with real human hair from a slightly too devoted girl in Japan there and before you know it *bam* they’ve lost all touch with reality and they’re proverbial head has swollen to the size of…well, my actual head after some penicillin. (No, honestly, you should see it, it's messed up.)
This is not news of course.  The particularly public nature of modern celebrity means we’ve invariably all seen it happen: Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, Marlon Brando, Diana Ross, Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears, Charlie Sheen, the list goes on and on.  All these stars and more have seen recognition inflate their egos either to the point of just having your bog standard overblown concept of their own self-worth, or else all the way up to your 100%, Grade A, fully paid, up, card carrying, fruitloopery.  Most gallingly of all, this persona often continues when the artist in question's biggest attributes are well and truly behind them, be that professionally for Michael Jackson, actual physical arseally for Jennifer Lopez  or in the case of a latter day Marlon Brando, both.  I don’t want to waste time discussing celebrities here though; we could argue all day over who truly deserves star status and who doesn’t, but god knows there are way too many people out there who get paid way too much money to do that already.  No, I want to talk about a genuine star.  The star that I think stated the whole ‘I’m amazing, me’ trend off; a star that has been adored by millions, if not billions, of people for an unbelievable number of years and is still every bit as popular today despite just generally having a really, really, really bad ‘tude.  In fact chances are you’re a fan of this star yourself so I’m probably on to plums with this argument already but I’m still gonna have my say anyway - my blog, my rules.  Today I wanna talk about the sun.  You heard me.  Yeah the sun.  The sun sun.  In the sky.  That one.
My theory is that like nearly all spoilt stars, the source of the sun’s problems can likely be traced back to its early years and in fairness probably weren't all the sun's fault in the beginning.  I mean I guess if I was out one day, just minding my own business, passing by ancient Egypt and I happened to look down and notice their entire civilization worshipping me, I’d feel pretty good about myself too.  I’d be all like ‘Me?  Y-you mean me?  Really?  Awww, c’mon guys, don't be silly I’m just a regular – woah!  Seriously??  You built that thing for me?  That big thing there?  Aw sweet, man.  Hey what did you just call me? Ra?  Ra...Yeah I like it, it’s kinda snappy.”  Okay, admittedly one instance like that probably wouldn’t be enough to tip you over the edge, once is just a nice pick-me-up, maybe keep you in a good mood the rest of the day, but if after that you were to mosey on round to ancient Greece say and find that they were really in to you  too - they build you stuff and call you 'Helios' as a cool nickname and all that jazz - at this point it's conceivable that you’re possibly going to start thinking to yourself, “Yeah, I AM pretty special, aren’t I?”  Now let’s say on top of all the stuff with Greeks and the Egyptians, you were to find out that Native American Indians and the Mayans have a special dance they do just for you (not together) Well now, I know that’s a boost because I’ve been on a stag do or two, I’ve had a special dance done just for me and I gotta tell you, I did not hate it.  But what if it didn’t stop there?  What if the fan club just kept getting bigger?  What if the already pretty pleased with itself sun discovered that the ancient Persians throw a party especially to celebrate it arriving every day?  Every single day.  No special occasion, a shindig just for showing up.  That’s like if every door you or I ever went through was the 'Stars in Their Eyes' door, with all of the cheering and applause, cept none of the turning into Luther Vandross.  Imagine that?

So there you go you see.  Obviously if you’re exposed to nothing but the unadulterated adulation of the whole world, everwhere you go, on a daily basis for millennia, naturally you’re going to lose perspective and start to get a bit up yourself.  It’s classic; too much success, too fast, too soon.  Like I said, all yes-men and nobody there to occasionally go, “Ho, you need to just cool it, sun, okay?”  Whoever’s fault it is however, what a monster they created.  Think about how the sun acts now: it’s hardly ever comes out in spite of loads of people being desperate to see it, even on days it’s scheduled to appear it often doesn’t or else it arrives late and when it does show up it’ll regularly disappear early, sometimes after only a few minutes just cos it feels like it.  If you look at it the wrong way or even just hang about it long enough it might seriously hurt you and yet, despite all this, it still retains millions of dedicated fans worldwide, many of whom will happily take their top off for it.  Remind you of anyone?  That’s right; the sun is now basically the celestial equivalent of former Guns ‘N’ Roses frontman and current delusional pain in the arse Axl Rose. Not good. 

You know where you are!? You're in the Teletubbies bay-beh, you're gonna DIE!

Mind you if there’s one thing that winds me up more than our blind love of the sun it’s our criminal under appreciation of the moon.  From my purely non-scientific perspective, the way I (literally) see it, the moon is basically the same as the sun except it works nights.  Certainly it’s doing an equally as important job anyway.  The moon regulates the tides, that's a big deal, the basic eco systems of this planet would be royally screwed without it, not to mention all of us along with them, so my question is this; where’s the moon’s kudos?  Hmm?  Where’s the moon’s parade?  Where’s the legions of people flocking out in their specially bought outfits to have a barbeque in the moonlight?  Nowhere, that’s where.  I suppose you might well say it’s not hot enough for a barbeque, but isn’t that a sad indictment of the society we live in today; everything divided into hot & not hot, in or out, hip or not hip. “Oh - my - god, the sun is like so hot right now!  The moon?  Pff, whatever, I’m like soooo over it.  I’m like totally over the moon.”  Do me a favour.  The moon shows up every night and puts in a good 12 hour shift to zero acclaim.  All it gets in the way of recognition or thanks for doing its job is the occasional wee cameo in some horror story filled with werewolves and ghosts and murders which just makes people want to avoid it more in future.  Aye.  Great.  Ta.  “Aw, lot of nutters about tonight, must be a full moon” that commonly used phrase should tell you all you need to know about the moon's working conditions a lot of the time.

Like I say, make no mistake, the moon's big news up there, it could quite easily take the sun’s attitude and start getting a bit high and mighty, maybe lay down a few divaish demands that must be met before it'll appear, but no, the moon continues to modestly insist that it's really not star at all, honestly, it's just ordinary moon.  Howzat for humility?  There’s none of this ‘Absolutely no one must make direct eye contact with the sun at any time for the duration of the sun's stay.‘  You can stare at the moon all you want, it doesn’t care.  It’s just sound like that.  “When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore.”  Beautiful, isn’t it?  I love that song.  “When the sun hits your eye like a big fiery pie that’s severe corneal and retinal damage resulting in painful long term or permanent blindness.”  Hm.  Doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.

Wheeeen theee sun hits your eye like AHHHHHHHHHH!! AHHHHHHHHHH!! AHHHHHHHHHH!!!
Approachable, that’s the other thing we like our famouses to be, isn’t it?  Well the moon’s approachable.  There’s no question of us being too far beneath the moon to be worthy of going anywhere near it like we're told with the sun.  You can go to the moon right now if you want, that’s totally cool with the moon.  Alright it would cost a bit to get there but that’s not the moon’s fault, is it?  If you were coming to see me, you’d be welcome but you wouldn’t expect me to pay your bus fare or petrol money to get here.  If you ask me the moon is too accommodating.  Has a tendency to let visitors walk all over it I reckon.  Most people would’ve probably been like “I don’t care what that flag symbolises, you can’t that leave it here cluttering up my place, I’m sorry, naw” but that’s not the moons style, it’s like ‘Sure, pop it down wherever and feel free to come back up and see me any time. I’ll maybe see you tomorrow night?  Okay, cool.  Safe journey back now. Ooh, want some moon rock?  Nah go on, honestly I’ve got loads just lying about I’m not using”  The moon is a dude.

As underrated as the moon is however, at least it’s not out and out hated like the rain.  It does my box in when I hear people complain about the rain, seriously.  Fair enough if it was showing up all the time just to put a stop to everyone’s rippingly good outdoor fun and nothing else, but can you not see that the rain – ironically enough for a liquid – is there doing us all a massive solid by keeping everything hydrated?  In fact in reality it does us the biggest favour of all, it provides the water we drink to live, yet predominantly gets nothing but abuse for its trouble.  It keeps us alive for god sake.  When you think about it then, complaining about the rain is essentially then the same as watching some Paramedics arrive to treat a critically ill person and going “Aw god here they come.  Typical.  Just when I was starting to enjoy myself.  Totally ruined my day they have.  Paramedics, Paramedics go away, come again another day!”  Well they can’t do that because if they do that someone’s very likely to die.  There, you happy, Busta Rhymes?  You nearly killed a guy.  It’s not just our bodies the rain keeps going mind, it’s the economy too.  Clearly with a recession on we need all tourists we can get over here spending their hard earned dollars, or yen, or rupees or dong *struggles to supress a snigger* and the best way to attract them is to play to our strengths.  Rich Americans and Arab tourists don’t come to here to see a giant sun drenched sand box, they get enough of that at home, they want the romantic, picturesque ye olde rolling hills and glens, so if we want to keep them dishing out their pretty green we better make sure we’ve got scenery to match.  What do we need for that?  Zactly.  Rain and lot's of it.

Of course I'm not saying the rain’s perfect.  For a start it could do to get itself over Africa a bit more often (although I’m led to believe it did go over there to see the band Toto once) and occasionally it can be a right troublemaker what with floods and such, but at least it makes no secret of that fact.  When you think about it, by comparison the sun is properly sneaky about how dangerous it can be.  Oh sure it comes over all nice and helpful with its vitamin D chat, but after a while on the sly it’s secretly like, “Pssst, I’m actually really quite bad for your skin, like I’m talking potentially life threatening,” then quickly it’s offically back to “Oh nothing, nothing.  Forget I said anything, just go back to sleep.  Here you’re browning up real nice there by the way, that tan's really coming on.  You leave it to me, I'll have you looking amazing tomorrow.”  The rain though, the rain’s more up front about things.  It’ll throw a couple of clouds out there first, maybe a wee rumble when something’s really about to go down, as if to say  “Here man, I’d just stay out my way today, yeah?  Just one of those days, know what I mean.”  Even if you don’t heed these warnings and it gets really bad the rain will still be giving you chances to reconsider.  Let’s face it, by the time the water reaches your waist that’s it essentially saying, “Look mate, I’m not going to lie to you here okay, hands up, I’m trying to drown you now.  I mean I thought I’d made that clear when I got up to your knees, but apparently not, so this is me officially telling you straight; you might want to get to higher ground or buy a boat or some armbands or something.  Sorry about this.”  If nothing else you have to admire its honesty and sense of fair play.  So yeah the rain's not terribly glamorous and can be a bit dark, but deep down it’s alright.  This is basically a meteorological ‘Pride & Prejudice’ we’ve got going on here, remember that?  Everyone think’s Mr Darcy’s an tube because he’s not very charismatic and everybody thinks Mr Bingley’s the business because he’s bright and sunny and fun, but in the end (spoiler alert – although c’mon, you’ve had 200 years, what’ve you been doing?) it turns out Bingley’s the gonk and Darcy’s cool as.

The rain is Mr Darcy. Insert your own wet joke here.
My point is the rain's a decent sort.  It does loads for us.  Not just those big important things I’ve already mentioned either but other, little, thoughtful stuff as well.  If you knew a guy who from time to time when you couldn’t be bothered getting up to go out and water the plants or wash the car, would go “Naw you wait there, I got this” you would love that guy.  Well what’s the rain if not that guy in weather form?  And that’s not all; it can to so much more for you if you just cut it some slack.  Look what the rain can do for you if you just give it a chance:

This lady later died of hypothermia but the flowery picture at her funeral was dynomite.

Yeah.  That.  The rain can make you look like that.  Even the guys.  Come on y'all, give an environmental phenomenon a break, yo.  All I'm saying is it might be nice appreciate some genuinely helpful, quite literally, down to earth weather for a change instead of playing cheerleader for some distant, egotistical star that just looks down on us all the time.  It wouldn’t kill us to just give the sun a miss for a while y'know ( might eventually…I don’t know, I’d need to check that, but you see what I’m getting at.)  Perhaps the best thing we could do the next time the sun's shows up, rather automatically stripping off and running out to meet it like some mad groupie, maybe could we go a different way from all those ancient civilisations and give it the cold shoulder to put it in its place.  Next time the sun swings round we should all join up, a modern civilisation united as one and together in one unified voice proudly declare, “Not the now, we’re playing Xbox” then shut the curtains.  That might teach it not to go around acting like the sun shines out its – aw.  Whatever, look, I may not have convinced you with this but David Bowie knows what I’m talking about.  Sometimes the sun can be a real bitch, am I right Dave?  We like a bit of rain, don't we bud?...  

A land without rain? David Bowie's nomad about the idea.