The opening track of Ethan Gruska’s Slowmotionary starts with “I’m travelling through the valley / my whole childhood is here” – a song of childhood memories and early heartbreak, and of history repeating itself. It’s the perfect introduction to this storytelling album. A house and shed lit by one single bright light surrounded by complete darkness adorns the cover – perhaps a family home, or the destination of a long trip through the American countryside, fuelled by stories and a longing to be home.
The guitar-driven songs on Prism Tats’ EP 11:11, following his 2016 self-titled debut, remind me of late 80s British guitar pop by bands such as The Fixx and Comsat Angels. Instead of Thatcher, there’s Trump; both then and now see social inequality and a general desolate outlook on life as a result of (fear of) terrorism or technology.
Whether you go to the rich mines Dug beneath the rich bodegas Of Rio Tinto Or Seville, Cadiz, Jerez, The leisurely speech of beyond the Tweed you will hear. In one such place, beneath the Segura, I was.
At a book fair in a church on a square in Inveraray, I read a poem by Liz Lochhead. It’s the only poem she ever wrote about her husband dying, a friend I’m there with says as she shows me the book. My eyes pass each word slowly, while I travel up the road with her, Liz Lochhead, and her late husband, savouring the Gaelic names of towns and expressive phrases, sitting down on a wooden bench at a book fair in a church on a square in Inveraray.
Every now and again I come across a piece of literature that is life changing. At any other time, these universally solitary pieces of art would fade into obscurity, but at a specific juncture they have the power to define a generation. For the noughties nihilists, films like The Room occupy that space. When it comes to literature, however, there can only be one true monarch: My Immortal.