A brand new Random Review

by Jamie Johnston

Jamie revives an old Ferretbrain format and, characteristically, makes it longer and more wordy.
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Those who are relatively new to Ferretbrain may not recall the Random Review format. The rules are quite simple, and their ramifications can be seen from previous examples of the form. In short, I review the man-made ([1]) aesthetic experience I was having at any moment when my phone made a noise today.

So: without further ado, my random review.


Saturday 12 September 2009

11·40

I am in the bath. It's that kind of Saturday. My phone rings, but I can't answer it because it's not the kind of Saturday when one has one's phone within reach of the bath. I am reading Children And Childhood In Roman Italy by Beryl Rawson. I'm still on the first chapter, but so far I'm finding it an interesting book. This chapter is about representations of children in Roman visual art and written texts, and academic writing about topics like that can easily become little more than a list of examples roughly sorted into categories, but Rawson handles the material smoothly and expertly. She brings out convincingly the broad trends and characteristics of Roman society that underlie the examples she uses, and more pleasingly she handles it all chronologically and explains the way social and political changes relate to changes in the presentation of children.

Her prose is readable, restrained, sometimes a little stiff and even occasionally defensive ("The dangers of retrojecting modern sentiments to the past must indeed be recognized", for example). This means that when she's dealing with topics or ideas that I find particularly interesting the book has no trouble holding my attention, but when it moves into areas that appeal to me less the writing lacks the style or enthusiasm to carry me through and I find myself tempted to skim. This will happen particularly later in the day when I get to the part of her chronological treatment that deals with the high imperial period, which I've always found rather dull. But that is still in the future: for now, I am in the bath and it is the reign of Augustus.

In any book that refers frequently to works of art one feels a slight disappointment whenever the work in question isn't shown in an illustration, but academic books are expensive enough without being full of photographs so one must grin and bear it. There are quite a few good quality black-and-white photographs in this chapter, and they do the job very nicely. The book has foot-notes rather than end-notes, which is nice, though actually since I'm outside my area of particular expertise (which is more on the political and legal side of Roman republican history) I'm not referring to the notes much anyway. It's a paperback and not too thick, so reading it in the bath poses no serious challenge; but it is brand new (a birthday present) and crisp-edged, so it does leave slightly uncomfortable grooves in one's hands if one isn't careful. Okay, I think I've reviewed this book enough now.


11·48

I am still in the bath. My phone rings again. I am currently peering at the reflection of my right eye in a magnifying mirror, trying to extract an errant eyelash that's tickling my iris. Since this is hardly reviewable, I shall review my phone's ring-tone in stead. It is Sunday Morning by the Velvet Underground. This was, I think, the very first Velvets song I heard, and it's still one of my favourites. It's like a little safe and lazy space, like waking up with the sunshine glimmering through the window and a gentle breath of air moving through the warm room. There are things that have to be faced, and people to deal with, and it won't be too long before you have to get up and leave this bubble and do all that; but for a few minutes you can just lie still and look at the patterns of the sunlight on the chair and the wall, and life stretches out behind you and in front of you and you can look at it in the same vague, relaxed way you look at those patterns. I love the first few twinkling notes that establish the dreamy celesta figure that runs throughout the song, and then the supremely relaxed way the bass comes in with its 'pom pom', two notes, and then sits back again and does nothing for another bar until the guitar and drums surge up very gently together like a tiny wave sloshing on the beach, and Lou Reed's breathy vocal begins. I imagine him and the rest of the band lying around a room on the second floor of some New York flat, some on sofas, some on the floor, surrounded by the comforting untidiness that remains from the hour or two they spent talking and drinking and smoking lazily after they got back from whatever wild party they'd been to. They wake up slowly, that nice awakening that isn't prompted by an alarm clock or a disturbance but just happens because you've slept enough, and the song begins. Comes the second verse, when Reed's vocal is veiled by a layer of echo, and I start to look out of the open window and see the people across the street ease their window open to hear the music, and a yellow taxi cruises by below, and someone is putting her washing on the line, and a white pigeon flutters down to sit on the roof. Now Lou lays his guitar in his lap and plays a little laid-back solo, and through the bathroom door drifts the answering rise and fall of John Cale's viola, and so it goes on.

There are a few reasons why it's my ring-tone. One is that, although it isn't one of my absolute favourite songs, it's one of a relatively small number that I am never ever not in the mood to hear. Whenever it starts to play it makes me feel glad and relaxed, and if I must have a small machine that occasionally and unexpectedly demands my attention by making a noise then Sunday Morning is a very good noise for it to make. Secondly, it starts with a single, clear, chiming series of notes that fits well with the requirements of the ring-tone genre and makes it audible without being noisy. In a similar vein, it starts simply and quietly and then fairly quickly changes to a louder and fuller sound, which means that if I don't hear it in the first few seconds I shall hear it soon enough after that. And finally, I find it interesting to see who recognizes it and how quickly. Or, rather, I shall find it interesting if anyone ever does recognize it: I haven't had it for long, so it hasn't happened yet.


12·46

I've just boarded the overground train from Putney to Waterloo, and I've received a text message. Nothing immediately presents itself as an obvious subject for a review, but I soon conclude that the most interesting aesthetic feature of my surroundings is ladies' millinery. Three women at my end of the carriage are wearing headgear. One, a woman in perhaps her mid thirties, has a hat that is not too far removed from a Panama. It's white with a simple black band with a small bow, and it matches her outfit admirably. The outfit consists of a loose satiny black dress with an empire waist, a simple black handbag, and sequined ballet flats that were mostly black with white at the top of the vamp, rather like those old-fashioned men's black and white dancing shoes whose name I can't recall. The black and white of the hat went nicely with the shoes, and the sequined surface of the white part of the shoes even created a similar-looking texture to the straw weave of the hat; and the black and white theme was also taken up by an elegant little watch with a black leather strap and a rectangular face with Roman numerals. The whole ensemble was let down rather badly by a nasty clash between her scarlet lipstick and her lavender fingernails - but I digress. The criticism I'd make of the hat itself is that it had a flat brim. Now, I've known people to insist that the correct way to wear the brim of a Panama, fedora, trilby, or most other C-crown hats - that is, turned up at the back and down at the front - does not apply to women. I think it's more accurate to say that it doesn't apply to women's hats, but I say it still applies to women who wear men's or unisex C-crown hats. It isn't, after all, an arbitrary rule: it looks better than having the brim turned up all the way round or down all the way round, both of which look silly whether the wearer is male or female. But in the case of this hat I can't blame the wearer, because she couldn't have worn the brim properly if she'd wanted to: the brim was made flat, like that of a boater, except of course that it was much wider, the width of a Panama brim. And to me it just looked bad. It had no life to it, no elegant sweep or curve. Why would anyone make a hat like that? Perhaps in despair as the consistent failure of the majority of people who wear C-crown hats nowadays to wear the brims properly: if so, I sympathize. But still.

The next hat was another straw hat, and again I cannot fault its wearer on colour coordination: it was precisely the same cloying candy-floss pink as her fluffy tracksuit. I should point out in her defence that she was about ten years old. The hat was broad-brimmed with a round crown and a couple of rows of sequins around the break. It was clearly well-loved, or at least old, for the brim was twisted and the crown dimpled. What can I say about this hat, really? To keep the sun off a ten-year-old girl who is wearing a pink tracksuit one can hardly criticize it. As a piece of millinery in itself it left a fair amount to be desired.

I save my favourite for last. It was not a hat but a small purple fascinator of stripped feathers and coiled ribbon, worn by a petite woman in her late thirties as part of what may well have been a wedding outfit. She was sitting so that I couldn't see much of her, but the gist of it was a purple and white floral summer dress topped off with a plain black shawl. The fascinator itself matched the dress nicely and also brought out just a hint of red (henna, perhaps) in the otherwise uninteresting brown of her straight hair. Fascinators can get over-large and over-ambitious, but for my money they're underrated and it's rather a shame they're basically confined to weddings and formal balls. Given the relative popularity of wearing a single imitation flower in the hair (on a clip or whatever), it's surprising that no one has successfully explored the area between that sort of decoration and the more formal fascinator.

Finally, I note that all three women were wearing their headgear in the carriage. Should they have been? (Well, clearly the woman with the fascinator should have because one never expects anyone to remove a fascinator except when changing clothes, but the other two.) This is subject I find very troublesome myself, and for women there are even more complexities. The traditional rule of etiquette for men is clear: one should remove one's hat indoors, and also when meeting someone. Obviously what underlies this is the idea that baring one's head shows respect for others; when outdoors it's reasonable to put it back on once one has shown that respect, but indoors there is no reason to wear a hat and also to be indoors is to be in an entirely human environment that demands a certain continuing show of respect for that environment and those who occupy and use it. Modern life, though, presents problems. Is a train carriage 'indoors'? What about a shopping centre? In the unspoken negotiation in which one indicates one's desire to sit down there and the other person moves his legs to one side to allow one to do so, does one 'meet' the other person? Even if not, is it disrespectful to sit wedged between two people and with one's knees almost touching those of someone opposite and yet keep one's hat on? Such are the problems that confront the handful of hat-wearers who still care. Women, though, had more complex rules to begin with, because it traditionally depends on the type of hat: a women's hat can stay on, because removing it may be a complex operation involving hairpins and suchlike; but a unisex hat or a hat of a style traditionally worn by men, like a trilby or a baseball cap, should be removed in the same circumstances as for men. And this, complex enough in itself, is further vexed by the increasing number of styles of hat made for women that are clearly modelled on men's hats but are plainly intended as women's hats, not unisex. Anyway, this is not the place to try to answer these questions. It probably wasn't even the place to ask them, but never mind.


13·54

I am now in Camden market. I am walking past a t-shirt stall and my eye is caught by a Barack Obama t-shirt. It's a white t-shirt with a four-colour portrait of Mr Obama in pastel colours, but someone has wittily put a safety-pin through his nose in classic punk style. I like this. It isn't terribly clever in a sense, but it brings right up to date a simple and effective visual motif that goes right back to the beginnings of punk and has its immediate ancestry in Duchamp's L.H.O.O.Q.. What's nice about it is that it both subverts and endorses at the same time. In a way, sticking a safety-pin through the nose of the world's most famous contemporary politician can't help being a rather aggressive act, and at any rate it undeniably shows a mischievous and irreverent attitude towards someone who is still, by and large, either hated or idolized or at the very least taken very seriously. But it also coopts and embraces Obama by making him instantly into a punk himself, and a very noble and inspiring punk too (given his dramatic pose in the image); and a British punk, as well, because of course American punk never really embraced the safety-pin. Here is punk, like so many other groups and movements, saying, "Obama is ours, he's one of us"; but, being punk, it also does it in a way that makes fun both of Obama and of the very act of coopting him. So I like it.


14·07

I'm still in the market. This is the first time I've been to the Stables market since the re-vamp was finished, and it's quite a dramatic change. At first sight it looks like it's been gentrified and rendered up to the tourists like a sacrificial victim, but actually after a bit of wandering around I found myself quite enjoying it. The area just inside the main gates has been opened out, and beyond the eating area there's now a broad flight of steps down to a lower level that wasn't there before at all, as far as I can remember; there is also, of course, still the sloping walkway up the side of the central building, and that building now contains a rather nice-looking bar, a gallery, and a space with a stage for musical performances, comedy, &c. these interior parts are perhaps the most seriously trendified part of the new market, but even here there's a feeling that with a bit of time it could easily become a genuine hang-out for penniless musicians, poets, artists, and suchlike. There's a new eating / seating area under elaborately carved canopies supported on pillars made in the shape of Edwardian ladies. An over-sized version of a classic red phone-booth looks like it's going to be an information-point, though at the moment it's empty except for some bits of scrap timber. Several parts of the market are now covered in unobtrustive but attractive awnings that allow plenty of light through but will keep off the worst of the sun and the rain. Although some parts have been opened out a little, it's even more labyrinthine than before and in places feels like a real Levantine souk. All the old brickwork is still visible and hasn't been prettied up, so one has even more powerfully than before the sense that the market has grown up to fill an architectural space designed for something entirely different. Nothing is glossy or shiny, and one doesn't get an inappropriate 'no expense spared' feeling, but it is certainly clear that no effort has been spared: there's an awful lot of carved wood and cast bronze that must have taken a huge amount of work by various craftsmen. None of it looks too fine, though: it's all rough around the edges in the way one would wish for Camden. But how wonderful to see this amount of hand-crafted decorative art in a public commercial and social space.

The thing I'm actually meant to be reviewing is the colossal bronze statue of a farrier that I'm standing next to as I read the text message that's just arrived. It's one of a large number of bronze statues, most of them life-size but a few much larger, that are scattered around the new Stables market, all of horses and workmen. There were, of course, bronze horses already decorating the Horse Tunnel part of the Stables market before the re-vamp, and they're still there; but they've never felt quite right to me. They're lithe and sinuous and they leap and prance and emerge from walls. They look out of place in a slightly ramshackle punky gothy cheesy vintage incense-filled market. These new horses are much better: they're working horses, solid and patient, standing still or slowly pulling heavy-laden carts. The men are all Victorian or Edwardian working men with formidable whiskers and serious expressions, holding the reins of the horses or hammering horseshoes or shifting heavy bags of something or other. This chap next to me is lifting his hammer above a horseshoe that he holds with tongs on the surface of his anvil, frowning down at it over his big droopy moustache. At twice life-size he looks from a distance rather like a Soviet-style noble proletarian, but actually he's something rather more British. There's no triumphalism, no sense that he's Doing It For The Motherland. His pose isn't dramatic: the right arm holds the hammer only at shoulder-height, not brandishing or even hefting but just lifting it for a downward stroke that will be the same as dozens of strokes that came before and dozens that will come after. The over-developed muscles of his upper back make him look slightly hunched and tired, but not without a certain dignity. The actual workmanship of this and the other statues is not superb, mind you. But in a way that's appropriate: they're workmanlike, like the workmen and their work. My main criticism is that there are slightly too many of them and, being heavy and slightly lumpen as they are, they make the space feel rather encumbered, and a lot of the time I felt like I was in danger of bashing into them on my way from one side of the market to the other. I think the market might do well to remove perhaps as many as half of them, or to resituate some of them a bit more out of the way. But they aren't bad.


14·53

I'm now in the Horse Tunnel market next to what I hope are fake but fear are real fur coats. I've had lunch and am chewing some Wrigley's 5 gum, as I usually do after a meal. Normally I buy Marks & Spencer's berry gum because it's cheap and quite pleasant and comes in slightly smaller portions than most chewing gum, but for the last few days I haven't managed to find any so I eventually got fed up and bought the first kind I found, which was 5. British readers will probably have seen the ridiculously hyperbolic advertising for this new brand: advertising that claims that chewing 5 is like being whirled around extremely fast in a massive and elaborate frame like a human gyroscope, or like being thrown high into the air by a powerful jet of liquid and then landing on an enormous airbag, or like diving from a great height onto an iceberg. All this is, of course, rubbish. It's like every other chewing gum you've ever tried, but perhaps slightly more tingly in a way that I personally don't find especially pleasant. It makes me feel like my mouth may possibly have been injected with a very small dose of anaesthetic. But mostly I don't notice that and just find it unremarkable. It loses its flavour rather more quickly than my usual M&S gum and, like most brands, each portion is bigger than is really necessary and is therefore harder work to chew, which I suppose is good if you want to exercise your jaw but not especially helpful if you just want to clean your teeth and freshen your breath.


15·25

I've now left the market. As is my custom when visiting Camden, I went by tube to Chalk Farm station and then walked down the Camden High Street to the market, and then left the market in the same direction to get on the tube again at Camden Town, so I'm now walking down the High Street toward Camden Town station. As usual it's packed with tourists and punks and goths and other locals. But look, here's something I haven't seen before: massive bubbles drifting through the air. There's a very bored-looking woman waving a bubble-wand that looses great wind-sock bubbles into the High Street and into the path of - look what's coming - a big red double-decker bus! The bus hits the chain of beach-ball-sized misshapen bubbles and ploughs through, breaking them into dozens of smaller bubbles that scatter higher into the air and spin around shimmering purple and green in the sunlight. Awesome.


15·43

It turns out that Camden Town is exit-only at the moment, so I am now walking back up to Chalk Farm and have, in fact, nearly got to the station when another text comes through. I'm getting rather more telephonic action today than I expected when I decided to do a Random Review. Anyway, the thing that catches my attention this time is a smallish middle-aged man of South Asian ancestry carrying a tower of differently coloured cardboard boxes of crisps. You know, the kind of boxes that wholesalers sell to retailers who then stack them on a counter and open them at one end where there's a perforated hole so you can reach in an take out a packet of crisps. He and I are both walking quite quickly (though how he can do this without crashing into someone I don't know, for his vision must be severely restricted by his Tower Of Crisps) and in opposite directions, so I don't see what brand the crisps are, but each box (and there are four or five of them) is a different brightish primaryish colour (red, purple, green, perhaps yellow, and maybe another I couldn't really see) and the effect is rather striking. It reminds me a bit of an Anish Kapoor sculpture, which is nice because I'm a big fan of Kapoor. Er, yes, not much more to say about this really.


18·31

Back at home now, and I'm listening to music and reading the internet. Specifically I'm reading this blog-post by Fugitivus in which she explains where she's at emotionally at the moment. I found her blog recently, as did many people, because of the much-linked-to post about rape, and I've found much of what she has to say about feminism and abuse very affecting, but I have no idea who she is and no great interest in her personal life, so I almost didn't read this post when I saw it was called Personal Life Update. But it starts with what looked like a book recommendation, so I began, and was hooked by the compelling writing. You can read the post for yourself in not much longer a time than it takes to read this paragraph, so it's enough to say that she gives a brief history of her emotional problems, concentrating not on what caused them but on how it felt to live with them day by day, and writing with such immediacy and effectiveness as to make me, largely un-fucked-up as I am, feel that I can imagine and even relate to how she felt. It isn't sentimental or self-flagellating, but the content is very very sad and quite upsetting; it ends, though, on a more positive (though apprehensive) note with a prospective move into a difficult but potentially rewarding new phase.

It seems a bit odd to 'review' a very personal account of some very personal things, and I found in very jarring indeed to get to the end of the post and be presented immediately with the information that three people had voted to give the post five stars out of five. I don't even know whether I'd particularly say I recommend that people read this. I wouldn't in any sense un-recommend it, but I don't know quite what I'd say the reader can expect to gain from it except perhaps a sort of catharsis by proxy that seems inappropriate given that this is someone's actual life and not a production of Sophocles. But reading this doesn't feel voyeuristic or uncomfortable in the way that (to me) it does to read Marcus Aurelius' Meditations, for example. It doesn't sound like an entry in a diary: it sounds like a communication of something she wants you to know and understand. And for the reader it acts principally as a exercise in empathy, which is a muscle that's always worth exercising.


18·34

The music currently emerging from my computer is the Temple Bar remix of U2's Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses?. When I first listened to Achtung Baby I'd heard the well-known singles like One and Even Better Than The Real Thing, so they didn't make a big impact, but the songs that immediately caught my attention were You're So Cruel and Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses?. In retrospect neither is by any stretch the best track on the album: I got a bit bored with You're So Cruel after a while, though I still like it, and other tracks grew on me, like Ultraviolet, but Horses is a funny one. The song itself has flaws. Some are structural, which is why one or two other mixes I've heard swap some parts of it around, but that doesn't really seem to help. It's hard to say what the other flaws are. Somehow it feels like it ought to be faster, but I've tried playing it faster on my own little electro-acoustic guitar and it doesn't really work; as Ian MacDonald says in Revolution In The Head about the Beatles' Come Together, Horses just never quite catches fire. I know U2 fans who really don't like it at all. But I remain convinced that it is in some way not far from being a great song. That's why it's interesting to hear this mix, which I believe was issued as a single but which I hadn't heard until quite recently. It's more acoustic, with a striking rise-and-fall figure that starts on the acoustic rhythm guitar and is taken up by what sounds like a couple of cellos, but the uninspiring electric lead guitar riff remains much the same, and the vocal, which I think is slightly different, still doesn't do whatever one feels it ought to. Still, I like the Temple Bar mix, and I like the song, if in a slightly frustrated way.


Here endeth the Random Review.




Notes

[1] · The rules have never before actually stipulated 'man-made', but I think it's implicit. You don't want me to start 'reviewing' people's faces or the weather. That wouldn't do anyone any good.
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Comments (go to latest)
Wardog at 18:30 on 2009-09-16
But how did you find your day of reviewing man-made aesthetic experiences? Did it heighten your appreciation of the world through which you move?

I am slightly disappointed you did not review your iris. From what I have perceived of it from the outside it seems both aesthetic and highly functional (although less so with a lash adhered to it).
Arthur B at 20:32 on 2009-09-16
I love Sunday Morning, but I can't listen to it in isolation from the rest of the first VU album; I'm so used to it being a prelude to Lou Reed and Nico sneering their way through heroin purchases, ennui, heroin usage, and more ennui that it seems weird to separate it out from that.
Rami at 23:18 on 2009-09-16
Ooh, your mention of it made me have another listen at Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses, and that reminded me of how much I like it. I don't think of it often, because as you say it's not quite one of the stars of the show, but it's not far off :-)
Jamie Johnston at 22:08 on 2009-09-21
@ Kyra:

Interesting question. No, it didn't really. My mind always processes my surroundings pretty much as if I were going to review them even when I'm not, except that I usually devote less (though still a little) thought to how my aesthetic experience would be best expressed in words. But it was quite fun.

I think the thing about irides (I'm guessing at the plural) is that they are (I strongly suspect) always rather beautiful when examined closely, but one generally has to be fairly intimate with someone in order to be physically close enough to appreciate them. Which is nice because it means that when one gets to that level of intimacy one is almost guaranteed to discover a new and unique morsel of beauty about that person that you hadn't seen before.

@ Arthur:

I hear you, but I don't have the same problem for an entirely contingent reason: I first heard Sunday Morning not on the original album but on a rather badly compiled Lou Reed 'best of', back in my mid-teens when my experience of popular music was mostly limited to what they played on Capital FM. And in a way it is sort of justifiably severable from the rest of the album in that it was written and recorded as an afterthought. But at the same time my 'reading' of it (though that makes it sound too cerebral - really it's the atmosphere and images it conjures in my mind without much conscious input from me) gels with the rest of the album to the extent that it feels like the heroin and the ennui and the sneering are waiting outside the door, or even hanging on the back of the door waiting to be put on, but this is a moment of gentleness before it all begins again.

@ Rami:

What are your feelings about the album version versus the Temple Bar mix?
Arthur B at 22:20 on 2009-09-21
I hear you, but I don't have the same problem for an entirely contingent reason: I first heard Sunday Morning not on the original album but on a rather badly compiled Lou Reed 'best of', back in my mid-teens when my experience of popular music was mostly limited to what they played on Capital FM.
Damn, that must have been a weird compilation if it included Sunday Morning. As good as it is, I wouldn't rank it amongst Reed or the VU's best, and it's so alien to the rest of his work that it seems odd to put it on a compilation of representative songs.

And in a way it is sort of justifiably severable from the rest of the album in that it was written and recorded as an afterthought. But at the same time my 'reading' of it (though that makes it sound too cerebral - really it's the atmosphere and images it conjures in my mind without much conscious input from me) gels with the rest of the album to the extent that it feels like the heroin and the ennui and the sneering are waiting outside the door, or even hanging on the back of the door waiting to be put on, but this is a moment of gentleness before it all begins again.
That's kind of the impression I get too (although I see it more as a happy face put on the door to lure you in so that ennui can whack you on the back of the head and heroin can steal your wallet), but at the same time it feels like kind of a copout to just stop there; you have to open the door, otherwise the invitation seems meaningless.
Jamie Johnston at 00:10 on 2009-09-22
It was an odd compilation. As Allmusic says, "the disc runs through a random selection of songs that doesn't do justice to the Velvet Underground's legacy, nor to the erratic brilliance of Reed's solo career." Not only does it include Sunday Morning, but it doesn't include Heroin. Though I do think it was a good call to include the live version of Sweet Jane rather than the original.

On the other point, I suspect it's one of those differences of perception that arises largely from things like one's own world-view and experience and the contingent circumstances and thoughts one associates with the song. To me a lot of the attitude of the voices we hear on the rest of the album sounds a little bit self-conscious, a little bit like a pose, and that makes it easier for me to imagine (as I prefer to, for no reason beyond my own instincts and dispositions) that the calm and even the tiny glimmer of contentment in Sunday Morning is authentic rather than a trick. But that isn't to deny the rest: the song is very clear that "the wasted years" are "so close behind" (not in the past, but in pursuit), and "there's always someone around you who will call" (wanting something? trying to persuade you to do something? dragging you down?). Without the sense that the grimy world is waiting to close in, you (or, I should say, I) wouldn't get that sense of the fragility of the moment that makes it feel precious. So you're right, it would be wrong to ignore the prevailing atmosphere of the rest of the album, and indeed it would rob the song itself of that contrasting shadow that stops it being Chelsea Morning.
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