the condition of muzak

No, I refer not to the Michael Moorcock novel of that name, but rather to what is presumably a Pandora station playing here in the little place down from where I live. Keeping a cup of coffee company while my beleaguered veteran car is tended to up the hill, I’m aware of a string quartet emerging from the ceiling corners. But what music is this? Sounds like a pop tune I’ve never heard.

After a couple such that I don’t recognize, I find myself registering something out of long ago, vaguely unsettling … and … oh god, that’s what it is: “and if a 10-ton truck…” No no! It’s Mr. Morrissey, transformed into a string quartet! How can this be?

Whenever this song comes on I never really want to listen to those lines of the chorus, want to put fingers in ears. I always feel people shouldn’t wish for such things, even in the context of an intentionally hyper-romantic gesture.

However, the very end I always thought was all right. And here it comes, in the form of a string quartet, as a trickle of rain descends upon the little parking lot and the mind hurtles back to a view, usually of soft blue sky and golden sun in my memory, though in reality most often grey, of the Bodleian, Sheldonian, and St. Mary’s from my 2nd year window. A city positively drenched in melancholy and the kleshic weight of centuries.

Then someone calls out a greeting to a friend across the room and I am yanked back to the new world – brave or otherwise – and a smell of baking croissants, a cup of coffee and the tiny patch of condensation on the window where it rests. Parking lot, silent Prius pulling in, pattering rain…

There is a light that never goes out.
There is a light that never goes out.
There is a light that never goes out…