Song to the Siren

By 1984, my musical tastes were quite distant from those of my friends (I mentioned in an earlier post that they were diverging around that time). I think this was a symbol of my sense of our decaying friendship; even “friends 2.0” started to disperse, and I was exploring different groups of people trying to find a fit (and yes, female companionship… it wasn’t until I stopped looking that one arrived in the mid-1980s, and it led to many happy times, marriage, two beautiful, wonderful children, then losses including family death and, much later, the breakdown of that marriage). 

And back to the early 80s, I was often listening to late-night radio on CBC Radio 2 (Night Lines on Friday and Saturday, and Brave New Waves through the rest of the weekdays) which I sometimes recorded so that I could hear what was being played if I happened to be out. I wasn’t out every single night anymore like I described in my post on “Crazy Love.” I shared a condo with a high school friend, and spent quite a lot of solo time in my small room, with my stereo and recliner chair. 

My condo mate’s and my relationship, like some others in our school friends group, had a history of being somewhat unhealthy at times. We all grew up with various unresolved wounds and weaknesses, not to mention a few had some pretty hellish/distant parenting. In the absence of learning to talk about those issues, we took on what the adult male world taught us young men — toxic masculinity; mind you, not the horrible kind that included misogyny and violence, but rather the slightly more subtle aspects: bullying, and what would now be referred to as microaggression — within the group. Some of that was focused on me due to my standing in the social pecking order of our school and our group. However, that lower position in our group could and did sometimes change from me to others. 

I don’t see those men anymore, though I am in regular contact with one who was something of an adjunct to the group because we had a mutual interest in motocross, and he and I developed a better, mutual sense of respect. I talk about him in my post on “Drive.”

I was truly fortunate in my late 40s to meet a group of men that meets regularly to talk about men’s issues and — as one of our now late, elder men used to say — “to learn to be better men.” That group is not without its challenges, but it has exposed me to a lot of learning and much personal growth and development. Through it, I’ve also made numerous connections, including some men in Colorado, Minnesota and California.

Back to 1984 though; that was also when some bands belonging to or close to the sub-genre of Dream Pop gathered for a project called This Mortal Coil. The collective (members from Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance, Modern English, Xmal Deutschland, Cindytalk, Colourbox, and The Wolfgang Press) released the album It’ll End in Tears, that year. It’s an eclectic mix of dreamy, melancholic, industrial, and upbeat tunes that I often listened to in my room on solitary evenings when I was getting better at and actually starting to savour time with me.

I was reminded of this album and time of life when sitting down to — wait for it — yes, my main man, Mr Garvey on BBC6 Music’s Guy Garvey’s Finest Hour. The program I referenced yesterday, (May 31, 2020 – “Tom Waits, Tim Buckley and Talk Talk”) highlighted Tim Buckley, who wrote “Song to the Siren” in 1967. Buckley died at age 28 of a drug overdose, leaving two sons. 

The Cocteau Twins recorded their cover of Buckley’s song for the This Mortal Coil project’s It’ll End in Tears album.

Now you know a little about why this is my song of the day for today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.

Here’s the official video for the song released under the British label 4AD, from the This Mortal Coil (topic) YouTube channel:

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