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Song of the day – 46: Television Personalities

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television personalities

There’s a new Television Personalities album out shortly.

It’s called A Memory Is Better Than Nothing. Information about it is typically sketchy but it’s coming out on Rocket Girl. It’s far more focused and orchestrated than the majority of Dan’s recent work since his return in the 00s. His songs have been sensitively and fully fleshed-out, with no dance-floor gimmicks. Fair play to the musicians – TexasBob Juarez (six and 12-string acoustic and electric guitars, electric sitar), Mike Stone (bass guitar, keyboards) and Arnau Obiols (drums, percussion). The songs are, as ever, about girls and former girlfriends and lost innocence and isolation and schoolyard bullying and poignancy and pleading: psychedelic in the Syd Barrett sense of the word: magical and tear-inducing in any sense of the word.

The album contains at least one shimmering gemstone of a love song in ‘You’re My Yoko’ – and probably several more.

The lyrics in ‘You’re My Yoko’ – “All the places I have been/All the places I have seen/Well, that’s me/That’s Daniel/I’ve been mad and I’ve been bad/I’ve been glad and I’ve been had/Well, that’s me/That’s Daniel” – I can totally see as becoming a sort of theme for Daniel Thackray, our second son. The song has a very Beatles arrangement, appropriately enough.

On Facebook yesterday, someone asked me why I walked out halfway through Television Personalities’ return performance at Brighton’ Hanbury Ballroom – the first time Charlotte and I went out together following the birth of Isaac, nearly five years ago. My accuser found it endearingly shambolic. I didn’t find it endearing at all, just sad. I have more respect for Dan Treacy than that, to watch him parody himself mercilessly, to watch him helplessly lapse into alcoholism. This album seems a great way of justifying my faith: there’s little to pity, much to admire – the beautiful tunes (very post-Alex Chilton) and obsession with the sweet chimera of childhood, the plaintive, playful guitars and clattering drums, the maudlin lyrics that mostly keep the right (self-deprecating) side of self-pity, the delicate harmonies and fragile beauty.

I was asked once what word always gets missed out when I’m being described: fragile.

Fragile.

Here’s a video for ‘The Good Anarchist’ – a song that features on the album. I believe.

And here’s an “endearingly shambolic” – or perhaps just sad – live performance of ‘You’re My Yoko’, from 2007.

Updated 13.10.11
This is such a heart-breakingly beautiful song. I just don’t want it to become his epitaph.

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