This month’s Featured Modern Track is I Wish There Was A Pill.
A lot of time has passed since I wrote it. And, as with The Big Striptease, I occasionally wonder whether I still stand by what it says. With the latter, I feel I’ve changed. With the former, I feel perhaps the world has changed. I get the sense that in this country in the 10 years since the song was written there has been much more recognition of the importance of, and difficulty of, treating mental health issues.
I think I was frustrated with what seemed to me like a society that was only capable of dealing with depression with some form of pill. Dealing with a problem in the hardware rather than the software, so to speak. But over that decade I’ve really come to appreciate that the antidepressants that I name-check at the start of the song can literally mean the difference between life and death for millions of people who take them. For so many people it really is a hardware problem, and the purpose of the drugs is to allow those who take them to live a normal life, or something close to it, rather than some blissed out existence.
I wanted to make that point in its own blog post, because I think that the song could seem just like a glib dismissal of mental health problems far more severe than anything I’ve ever had to deal with.
Thank you to Dan Allen for this wonderful recommendation. They may have names like characters from an 80s cop show but boy can they make these Child Ballads sound sweet.
This album was recorded a number of years ago, so apologies for being late to the party! I have been listening to it over and over.
(Although tell me it’s not just me that hears the line “Saddle me a milk white steed / Bridle me a pony” and thinks of this, right?)
Current Favourite Track:
Of all the eulogies in all the world (says he, undermining the final point of the essay):
This is a piece of sheer filth that I performed at Folk Weekend: Oxford a number of years ago.
But it’s traditional, so that makes it okay.
Jonathan Gold is the first food critic to win the Pulitzer Prize for journalism. He is the polar opposite of the food critic Anton Ego in the film Ratatouille. He’s a lovely guy.
But this documentary about him, City of Gold, is about much more than food. It is in part a love letter to Los Angeles.
If you’re in a hurry, just skip to 1m 31s in, where he says:
People who come in for a couple of weeks, stay at a hotel in Beverley Hills, take in what they can get to within 10 minutes in the rented car, and explain to you what Los Angeles is…
Current Favourite Thing:
The fact that, as well as being a Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic, a fan of opera and a talented cellist, Jonathan Gold happened to be hanging out in the studio when Dr Dre recorded his seminal album ‘The Chronic’.