May 21, 2011

I saw Nick Drake

Do you know this song? It's by Robyn Hitchcock, whom I find occasionally brilliant. I like his minimalist approach to music. The song is about another British performer/songwriter -- the "enigmatic" Nick Drake. It's some kind of wonderful. Below Robyn's video you'll find one by the man himself, Nick Drake. Consider this a parable for your Sunday morning.

Nick Drake died in 1974 at 26 years old. It was an overdose of amytriptylene, of all things -- an anti-depressant. Here are the lyrics to the Drake song:

Place to be

When I was young, younger than before
I never saw the truth hanging from the door
And now I’m older see it face to face
And now I’m older gotta get up, clean the place
And I was green, greener than the hill
Where flowers grew and sun shone still
Now I’m darker than the deepest sea
Just hand me down, give me a place to be
And I was strong, strong in the sun
I thought I’d see when day was done
Now I’m weaker than the palest blue
Oh, so weak in this need for you

For more Nick Drake, try this link to Pink Moon. I had never heard his music before encountering Hitchcock's song but I've since bought an album (Pink Moon remastered) and am now an official fan. Magical guy -- a minimalist like Hitchcock but as I say, I like that. Their lyrics suggest rather than state. Suggestion is so large, I always think.

This has been your sparsely-told Sunday music story. And though it seems like a parable I'm not sure what the message is. If he'd OD'd on heroin it would be a different story. But an anti-depressant?

By the way, there's an incorrect word in one of the lines in the video of the Hitchcock song. It's not "We'll lay you low" it's "will lay you low". Connected to the previous line, it's "The habits of a lifetime will lay you low." (Again: anti-depressants?)

In case you want to see the lyrics to "I Saw Nick Drake" in a readable format, here they are:

I saw Nick Drake
At the corner of time and motion
I caught his eye
And he caught mine
I said "You're tall."
He said "No taller than tomorrow's ocean."
I saw Nick Drake
And he was fine

I saw Nick Drake
As we were carrying the ice together
I saw his face
Beneath the glass
The net was gone
And all the strawberries of English weather
I saw him pass
Right through this place

I saw Nick Drake
The habits of a lifetime
Will lay you low
Into your grave
And when you're gone
You take the whole world with you
I saw Nick Drake
I saw him wave

And we're in bloom.

And now -- in fact, as you read this very sentence -- control of your computer is being returned to you. Carry on as before.


Artichoke Annie said...

Thanks for that post, Nick Drake I knew not, but now have read and listened on iTunes to several of his pieces. I like him and will probably return to purchase a few songs, Pink Moon for sure.

The real story and the published story of the death of Nick Drake could be quite different. It seems nobody likes to embrace the suicide concept in others...always preferring the 'overdose' explanation.

His story seems to be one of a person not too happy with his life, using drugs to help him over the bumps and humps - perhaps in the end it was all just too much for him.

Lucky for us he left his music behind...

writenow said...

Isn't he sweet? If you listen to the album Pink Moon, you'll like it, but the second time you'll LOVE it. It's so lovely. And you're right. Just sounds like he was trying to get well. If the drugs I take today were available for him then, I'll bet he'd still be writing music. It's all about when you're born. He was a bit too early.