26 July 2019

Let Me Sing And I'm Happy

Non, je n'egret rien

Every summer now for some ten years or so a friend and I have taken a couple of July days out to walk somewhere in England.  We have wandered on the Northumbrian coast, in the Yorkshire Dales, the Peak District, in Norfolk, Suffolk, the Cotswolds, along the Kent coast, around Malvern and Stratford, and, this year, in rural Essex.

This year we found ourselves alongside the thundering A120 near Colchester, attempting to appreciate the joys of Essex in the shadow of the new Caligula, Al (Mammy) Jolson [I'd walk a million miles.....complete according to taste....]

the Blue Boris Chafer

In fact, there is an Irving Berlin song that Alexander Boris Piccaninny Letterbox Kipper Caligula Jolson made famous, by the title of Let Me Sing And I'm Happy, which just about sums up the onanistic joys of these happy days in their full fretulosity.....

What care I who makes the laws of a nation
Let those who will take care of its rights and wrongs
What care I who care for the world's affairs
As long as I can sing this popular song
Let me sing a funny song with crazy words that roll along
And if my song can start you laughing I'm happy, so happy


In the muddy estuarine tracts of Essex I lose myself in reflections on life and love that are far, very very far, from Westminster or Brussels.  It is quiet here, and lovely.  A few oysters and a glass of stout and the soul develops resistance to the glib emptiness of daily politics.  Ancient toil and tidal wash provide an impression of things that matter more than greed and gain.

Godwits, rather than fuckwits, sift the silt here.....

And in the Stour Valley, where John Constable created the two dimensions that England has become (no offence, JC, you meant no harm: Ed.) the Common Darter does what a Common Darter does, not what some self-important hyper-ambitious ill-informed cabaret minstrel would decree.....

And the people of this world attempt to live their lives as well as they can, by the skiff.....

Or by the spray can.....

The haves, the have-nots.....

The ducks, raising their young....

The swans, loving their families.....

And the Drakes [pirateering, as some do]....

Let's be honest, Essex is no Shangri-La, but it's worth the detour.  It still surprises, and delights, me how one can find solace on the banks of a muddy creek, with the fluffy clatters and screeches of birds tempering the rotting reeks of the slimes, while gleaming insects sparkle over the shiny weeds.....

Yup, Essex is neither Magaluf nor the Maldives, but it saves air miles and carbon footprints, or exchange rates (and commission).  Maldon has a sweet gold and a tart salt, Mersey has all the oysters you can eat, and Clacton is 'on-sea'.....

On our way to our respective homes in the nondescript netherlands of this scabied aisle, we pause in the rain at Perry Green, to commune with some of Harry Moore's patient figures....

I admire these stoical unmoving, unmovable figures, who care nothing for rain nor dark.  It's an intriguing staging post.

In an ancient barn, tapestries tell silent stories,

While bronze casts stand impassive under the raindrops in quiet corners of the grounds, pieces of ordnance yet to be dropped on the innocent by the bombasts who preen to rule....

Let me sing a sad refrain of broken hearts that love in vain
And if my song can start you crying I'm happy

And thence to home, where peace comes dropping slow (if I am lucky). 

Non, rien de rien
Non, je ne regrette rien
Ni le bien qu'on m'a fait
Ni le mal
Tout ça m'est bien égal
Non, rien de rien 
Non, je ne regrette rien
C'est payé, balayé, oublié
Je me fous du passé
Avec mes souvenirs 
J'ai allumé le feu
Mes chagrins, mes plaisirs
Je n'ai plus besoin d'eux
Balayé les amours 
Avec leurs trémolos
Balayé pour toujours
Je repars à zéro
Non, rien de rien
Non, je ne regrette rien
Ni le bien qu'on m'a fait
Ni le mal
Tout ça m'est bien égal
Non, rien de rien 
Non, je ne regrette rien
Car ma vie
Car mes joies
Ça commence avec toi

Songwriters: Charles Dumont / Michel Vaucaire

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