If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Tuesday, 21 December 2010


Bitterly cold night, all the site locked down and secure, taking five minutes between duties, I listened to some music on my phone with a pair of headphones borrowed from Lost Property. It was a piece of music I had almost forgotten I had: After The Goldrush by Neil Young.

And the song 'Birds'.

When you see me
Fly away without you
Shadow on the things you know
Feathers fall around you
And show you the way to go
It's over.
Young's lyrics are never clear, and don't slap you in the face with a 'meaning'. They are more associative and suggestive, and any meaning you find is something that was probably in your head anyway. Listening to this song in my own quiet moment, I found it both melancholy and very moving. Young's thin and plaintive voice matches the words perfectly.

Only love can break your heart.


  1. Always had a soft spot for that particular record, myself. I think he's done better individual songs but never as complete an album.

    Good description of the fey imagery that characterises (imho) his best work over the years. And I love the opener to track one, "Tell Me Why", which always paints me a vivid picture:
    "Sailing hardships through broken harbours, out on the waves in the night,
    Still the searcher must ride the dark horse, racing along in his fright".

  2. Heh - I always heard that as 'racing alone in his fright'. The mind's ear.

    ATGR is the only Neil Young album I know well, and it's been somewhere in my consciousness since 1970. I can remember hearing it for the first time at a friend's house and being blown away.


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