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Somewhat Out Of Kilter Harvest Songs: Audio Visual Transmission Guide #42/52a

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Now, I was watching the television one night when an advert came on for bagged salad and the accompanying music made me smile and shake my head just a touch.

The premise of the advert is that the company responsible for the lettuce always seeks out the “very best sunlight” to grow their lettuce.

In the advert we are shown a subtly cartoon-like picture perfect, I assume continental farm and a CGI anthropomorphic tractor sets off to cross the fields of lettuce (not quite sure what it’s doing as the fields don’t need ploughing as the crops are already growing) and is admonished by the farmer to not block the sunlight with its shadow.

The soundtrack to the advert is Nik Kershaw’s single “I Won’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me”, reached number 2 in the UK singles chart in 1984 and the tractor happily sings the song as it goes about its undefined work.

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The word denuded comes to mind about now, as in a song being denuded of its meaning.

Only the chorus of the song (“I won’t let the sun go down on me, I won’t let the sun go down”) is heard in the advert but in actuality the song is a satirical take and reflection on Cold War conflict, dread and potential annihilation.

Always something to choose when you want to imply that you grow happy and healthy lettuces I find.

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Below are some of the other lyrics to the song:

Forty winks in the lobby, make mine a G&T
Then to our favorite hobby, searching for an enemy
Here in our paper houses
Stretching for miles and miles
Old men in stripy trousers rule the world with plastic smiles

Mother nature isn’t in it
Three hundred million years
Goodbye in just a minute,
Gone forever, no more tears
Pinball man, power glutton, vacuum inside his head
Forefinger on the button, is he blue or is he red

I know that it’s quite likely that at the time people didn’t always necessarily realise what the song was about, it was just another catchy pop song that filled the airwaves, the Thursday night Top Of The Pops slot and the pages of the likes of Smash Hits magazine but hearing it used in this context still made me quietly shake my head in a “The modern world hey?” manner.

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The song was part of a loose gathering of successful UK chart singles around the mid-1980s that I wrote about in the second year of A Year In The Country, under the tag of “apocalyptic pop” – the link for which you can find below.


(File Post Under: Cathode Ray & Cinematic Explorations, Radiowave Resonations & Audiological Investigations)

Audio Visual Transmission Guide #1:
Out Of Kilter Harvest Songs

Local Broadcasts:
Week #31/52: The Quietened Bunker Archives #2; Songs For The Bunker – The Once Was Ascendance Of Apocalyptic Pop


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