Songs of Innocence 1: Sleep Like A Baby Tonight

U2 Time

I’ve been enjoying U2’s Songs of Innocence album – kindly donated into my life by Apple!  There is so much to enthuse about. The standout track for me so far is Sleep Like A Baby Tonight.  Musically is has a lilting lullaby-like style – mellow… but there is a deep dark element of menace in it that The Edge manages to capture with some simple but astounding guitar work.  The lead guitar solo late in the piece sounds as if he is channeling an old African-American playing mournful blues on his muted trumpet – rich, wide, sad, broken. The sense of menace in the music is reflective of what informed the writing of the song – the clergy sexual abuse of children and young adults that has transpired to have been a dark undercurrent in the church the the years that shaped and formed this group of men into a band.  It may not have impacted them individually but it impacted the lives of many around them and thereby shaped them.
Here is Bono’s reflection on this song: “Some can live with cruelty and abuse. Some have to… When the children of any church aren’t served, but are instead enslaved by an abuse of power, extraordinary acts of atonement are required to put things back together. Honesty is just the starting point…secrets can make you sick. Ireland in the ‘70s was a tough place.”
The menace,captured so well in the lyrics and the music, makes this song extraordinary.  It is one thing to rage with loud chords and angry vocals – but to reflect the menace gently and patiently but pointedly indicates the depth of wisdom that U2 are tapping into this album.

The Hired Man


Anne and I have just finished reading The Hired Man by Aminatta Forna.  This 2013 novel tells a story about the memories triggered by the arrival of an English family in a village in Croatia and their encounter with the narrator Duro Kolak.  It is a splendid easy to read but hard to put down novel that identifies the ongoing impact of the 10-year war in the former Yugoslavia.  The tragedy of that war is slowly unfolded as layers of paint are removed from two mosaics by Grace, the daughter in the English family.  Grace is aptly named as her observant character enables some of the harshest parts of the story to be told.  Highly recommended!

Not as green as I am cabbage looking

The phrase in the title is one of Anne’s Irish mother’s more unusual phrases.  We are trying to compile a list of them to store up in the family records.
Ones like ‘wet behind the ears’ and ‘it is enough to make one spit’ are phrases that our mothers had in common.
These days, all the fun and imagination has gone out of our language because of our higher tolerance of swearwords.  Our mothers might have had a few of those as well, but mostly, we think, they regurgitated phrases from the definitely-no-swearing Victorian era.
So we are wondering what phrases you might recall from your forebears that we could compile as a kind of coaching system for our more crass generation.
Hit reply and help us out here!

To start the ball rolling just in case ‘Not as green as I am a cabbage’ didn’t send you into old-time phrase ecstasy, here are a few I remember hearing from a grand old chap I knew some time back… “stone the crows” and “stiffen the rats.”