Lily Allen Performs ‘LDN’

Here’s a clip of chirpy Londoner with an eye for criticism for her surroundings, Lily Allen.  It’s “LDN” a calypso-infused pop tune about the Big Smoke as taken from her debut album  Alright, Still.

There is something to be said about duality in everyday life, and I think that’s what may have been on Lily Allen’s mind when she co-wrote this song for her debut, a song originally released as a single in September of 2006.  Her voice is absolutely and unabashedly ‘London’ on this track, which adds a layer of credibility to what is easily interpreted as something of a pessimistic outlook on living there.

The song is a series of vignettes, outlining the darker side of living in a place where so many are thrust together in close quarters in various states of desperation, not unlike Richard Thompson’s “The Sights and Sounds of London Town”, which covers similar thematic ground.

To me, this is the song of one who once had an idealized vision of her hometown which is embodied by the bouncy calypso style, soon to be let down by reality as reflected in the lyrics.  In some ways, it’s sad to hear this story sung by someone so young that is basically about the cruelty of the world, even if that cruelty has a distinctive London air about it.

But, in other ways this is an encouraging tale.  The song’s narrator is a young woman who is aware of her surroundings.  The tone of the song is disappointment (illustrated very well in the video at the end, when her plans are cancelled by the unknown party on the other end of her cellphone conversation). But, this is a song about someone being relieved of her illusions.  In this, it’s about a unique kind of liberation.

And to me, it’s encouraging that this song tells the story for so many young people in an otherwise numb state of being, not realizing that life can be so much better than it is.  When disappointment of this kind is expressed, the fight for change is often not far behind.

For more information, check out the legendary Lily Allen MySpace page, which was the hub of her success as a mainstream artist working outside of mainstream marketing channels.

Enjoy!

Bombs

It is a sad time. When I heard that London, my former home, had been bombed, I really wished that I had experienced some sort of surprise. Sure, the horror and the outrage hit me later on. I still have very good friends in London, and my thoughts immediately went to them. I hoped that they had escaped injury and I worried about them until they sent me their notes, telling me that they, and in turn all of the people they knew, were alright. One friend had been biking near Aldgate East and had wondered what all the fuss was about. Another, to his horror, found out that his mother had chosen to visit the Smoke on just the wrong day. She’s fine, but still had to negotiate her way home via King’s Cross. Yet another friend told me that her doctor friend could look forward to treating the injured that day, seeing to the job of taking care of injuries sustained in someone’s idea of war.

But who are these people, setting off bombs designed to kill civilians? Where do you need to go in your life when you think that methodically organizing something like that is in any way moral or sane? What is your justification? Is it personal tradgedy? Is it an act of faith in a religion? Is it just the glee gained in causing the world to pay attention to something that you’ve caused, even though that thing has no constructive value?

You know what? I don’t care.

The thing that makes this so much worse is that I really wasn’t surprised in my heart of hearts that this has happened. So far this decade, the 2000’s, one that bore so much hope in all of our imaginations when we were children – better tommorows, longer lives, and jet packs – is characterised by warring parties bombing each other for self-motivated reasons. And we the regular people see it and are not surprised. Our sense of outrage is intact in some cases, but our innocence is gone, and a thirst for revenge stands in its place. The idea that wars have rules is like so much nonsense in this new age. This is what angers me most; that hope in humanity is a commodity as rare as diamonds, and life is cheap, reduced to numbers and news clips.

This is the new destruction. Welcome to the 21st cenury.