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Hijack the Summer

“There’s just one thing that’s clear to me, no-one dies with dignity, we just try to avoid the elephant somehow” Jason Isbell-Elephant.

Story time.

Late October 2015. Halloween haze in the air. Those fucking amazing cinder toffee cakes in the stores (I stocked up on maybe what 10 packs of these…)

After a whirlwind of bitter feelings and jealousy, I put the nail in the coffin of a 2 year relationship, and the reason I was in Hitchin in the first place. Neither of us could afford to move out of Lyon Court, so we co-habitated and stewed in the same flat for an extended period of 6 months after the death knell was sounded.

That’s just the background though. There are other songs on this!!

The underlying point is how shit I was feeling. Then someone came along, an artist, as predicted by all the shitty cliches (never gonna find it if you’re looking for it…rings true Bert), and teleported me from the airbed in our front room and nightly shouting matches, and back to Cambridge.

First dates with people normally consist of me hoping I can get away with being sarcastic and then panicking if I can’t, but the truth is on this one, we both came in with a bag of bones from our respected closets.

For me, the whole living with my now ex situation was a deep red flag in my mind, but she had a one up. Her dad, ill with cancer, the inspiration for her career choice, and someone she called every day, two collective elephants in one collective room.

Whilst that was a shadow throwing shapes for a fair few months, things were good, like really good. She was the epitome of chill (not totally sure how..), and lured me to the spires of Cambridge, away from claustrophobia and drama etc etc etc.

And then May

We’d booked a trip to Barcelona. This city is the greatest. Gaudi etc etc etc. I have hardly scratched the surface of the earth in terms of travel (this will change, give me some years, and a pocket for my fears, this will change), but of my limited destinations, it remains the greatest.

Throughout the wretches of spring I’d of course received a regular update on family progress. It was obvious deterioration, but on such a slow moving, angular level. Remember that line from the Dark Knight from Harvey Dent, “…have you ever had to tell someone it’s OK, even when you know it’s not?” That. A lot of that.

A week or two beforehand, she had a drop everything moment. Pneumonia she said….She moved her entire life back to Newcastle, every day, all that had gone before blurred. She fainted at the hospital I’m told…The hero she’d grown up with, but not as she remembered.

There’s 250 miles between Stevenage and Newcastle, and I felt every single fucking one of those.

May 12th. A simple Facebook message. Remarkable in it’s conciseness. 5 days prior to jetting off. He’d gone.

Rather than sacrifice a trip, I went alone.

There’s a set of abandoned bunkers around the centre of the city called the Bunkers Del Carmel. They raise up high above the tower blocks and sculptures, and no words or pointless adjectives will ever do justice;

I’ve always been a bit anti the whole “write a song quickly” thing. I always have suspicion when someone says they have 500 songs (nobody has 500 good songs), but I swear I sat up there by myself with just a setting sun and a city skyline, and wrote down near as makes no difference the final draft in hardly any time at all.

It’s hard to pin down the full extent of the song, as it’s just an explosion of where my head was at the time. “It’ll be alright, it’ll be OK, I’ll find a way, I’ll find a way” Someone I really cared about was suffering, and to be honest, I was just etching for a solution to just get things back to the way they were, to fix the situation, not me or her.

How many times have people wished for that eh.

The title “Hijack the Summer” is taken from a Kerrang! magazine review of “Dusk and Summer” by Dashboard Confessional. The tagline was “How to Hijack the Summer in 40 minutes”. That still sticks. That album still means being young, naive, drunk, reckless, in love etc etc, it represents low-sun evenings where the air is still warm. Exactly as it was on top of those hills. Dusk and Summer.

The line “The ocean’s full of diamonds” is a simplified version of the opening stanza of Wish you Were Here by Incubus (the ocean looks like a thousand diamonds, spread across a blue blanket). The line “ I am above palm trees straight and tall” is adapted from Goodbye Sky Harbour by Jimmy Eat World.

Other than that, the song is pretty self explanatory, there are no attempts at any fancy bits of wordplay or anything like that. A line like “with our bandannas and our sunglasses and our backs against each other, that time we hijacked the summer” is pretty clunky and, let’s be honest, shit, but it came out in a whirlwind and a flurry of pen on notepad, so it remained.

Spoiler alert, it didn’t end out ok. This was in fact the start of a whole tornado of emotions and mistrust etc etc, and again, more posts on that in the future, but at the time, the hope was real.

I may also get in a spot of trouble with this one too… I got told by a friend in 6th form that you can never justify using names in songs, and there’s probably a parallel line somewhere when it comes to writing uber personal blog posts. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t follow any of my platforms though, so we’re safe!

So yeah..this song isn’t really my best writing, is a bit hammy, and has a clunky lyric right slap bang in the chorus.

This song however is about something. In the limited timeslots that London gives you in a set, there is not nearly enough in the way of spare seconds to spill my guts on this tale pre song, so erm…now you know I guess. Maybe sometimes the story behind a song eclipses the song itself.

“There’s just one thing that’s clear to me, no-one dies with dignity, we just try to avoid the elephant somehow” Jason Isbell-Elephant.

The song can be found at the following link

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