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Wednesday 25 October 2023

Start Again

I took this picture two years ago today, of Sefton Park in Liverpool. We went over for the day for Lou's birthday- it's her birthday today, so happy birthday to you Lou. Eliza had just gone to university in Liverpool the month before, which was a huge change for all of us and she was excited and loving her new student life. The three of us, me, Lou and Isaac went over to see her, go out for lunch on Lark Lane and then into town for some shopping. We were still being really cautious about Covid, not doing much indoors and not taking Isaac into indoor public spaces. We had lunch sitting outside a cafe on Lark Lane in the October sunshine. It was the last time the four of us were together. Just over a month later we were all in hospital with Isaac who had Covid and which killed him, aged twenty three on 30th November 2021. 

Last year we went over again to see Eliza on Lou's birthday. We were all in a bit of a mess, going through the grief and the loss and having to navigate all the first anniversaries- our birthdays, his birthday (23rd November) and the first anniversary of his death. It was a difficult day, each of us in tears at different times but we managed to see it through and in the end had a good night out. 

We're going over to Liverpool again today, the three of us going out once again for Lou's birthday. Here's a scouse song to celebrate. I've been playing disc four of Echo And The Bunnymen's Crystal Days box set a lot, a CD mainly comprising songs from their Scandinavian tour of 1985 where they supported themselves playing covers of Paint It Black, Soul Kitchen, Friction, Action Woman, She Cracked, It's All Over Now, Baby Blue and Run, Run, Run. At the start of the CD there's a live version of a song called Start Again, recorded live in Gothenburg in 1987, the final tour for the classic McCulloch/ Sergeant/ Pattinson/ de Freitas line up. In the booklet Ian says they never really nailed the song which suggests they had a go at it in some studio or other but as far as I'm aware this is the only existing Bunnymen version. It's a rattling, driving late- 80s Bunnymen song, with sweeping strings, a Will Sergeant guitar solo and a rousing chorus, 'sinking shadows again... And one day/ I'll turn around/ Wonder when/ I'll turn around/ And start again'. Looking at the words it does seem like it could be a coded message, Ian signalling to the other three he would be off shortly. 

Start Again (Live in Gothenburg 1987)

Incidentally, the Bunnymen HQ was across Sefton Park from the photo above on Aigburth Drive, the road that skirts the western edge of the park, a flat at the top of a large Victorian house occupied by various band members during the 1980s. 

Ian recorded Start Again for his 1989 solo album Candleland, the lyrics going through some changes. Candleland was filled with a few Bunnymen sounding songs but without the fizz that the other three Bunnymen brought. Producer Ray Shulman brought a production sheen to Ian's songs, there is the lovely title track where Ian sings with Liz Fraser and the very New Order-ish Faith And Healing. Start Again closes Candleland- the album version is slowed down, with an acoustic guitar, cello, a wash of synths and Ian singing softly, 'wonder when', as the song fades out. It's some distance from the live version in Sweden, a very different take on the song. 

Start Again

Candleland was partly a reflection on mortality following the then recent deaths of both Ian's dad and Pete de Freitas, Ian singing start again as a way to move on from both of those bereavements. And sitting here typing this I realise it applies to us too, trying to finding a way to start again without Isaac. 


Alistair said...

Happy birthday Lou, and have a good day all of you xx

Ernie Goggins said...

Happy birthday Lou

Rol said...

I hope you all have a good day, and one day find the path that enables you to truly start again. Happy birthday, Lou.

keepingitpeel said...

Raising a glass to you, Lou and to Isaac.

C said...

A very happy birthday to Lou and wishing you all the very best as you navigate together these most memorable dates and their associated emotions.

Khayem said...

A very happy birthday to Lou and very best wishes to you all for today.

A wonderful song selection and moving words, thanks, Adam.

The Swede said...

Happy birthday Lou and much love to all of you, always.

Swiss Adam said...

Thanks everyone for your birthday wishes for Lou- we had a lovely day, less difficult than a year ago in many ways. Love to you all.