By The Landlord
"Goodness me," I thought to myself (or words to that effect). Everyone, absolutely everyone in this train carriage is staring at hand-held small screens. Meanwhile, I, of course, was doing nothing of the kind, dipping into my leather-bound copy of Dr Kimpton's Olde Almanac of Analogue Aphorisms, quill in hand. But then suddenly it occurred to me – mobile phones, don't you know, I think they must be society's new smoking. People simply cannot stop. They absolutely cannot help themselves. In every spare moment. Could that be right? Well, I wasn't quite sure, so I directly went to check the truth of this on my own phone... And dammit, before I knew it, I was hooked.
Seriously though, addiction can manifest itself in many ways, in obsessive focus that leads to great achievement, in tireless love that transcends all difficulties, or self-destruction that can lead, to calamity, chaos, the suffering of others, and ultimately, one's own death. All of this, and more, is richly covered in song, so this is the week to suggest songs all about this, one what drives it, what it does to you and others, and all the emotions and consequences it brings.
And it is perhaps unsurprising that two particular geniuses, who tragically died this year, but were far more productive than any of us on that train, refused to own mobile phones. However, both David Bowie and Prince Rogers Nelson undoubtedly dipped into many other forms of addiction that a lifestyle surrounded by sex, drugs and rock'n'roll had to offer. Nevertheless Bowie worked tirelessly and triumphantly right up until his final day. And the just as prolific Purple One, who possibly succumbed, accidentally, to an overdose of the opioid fentanyl, admitted to only one addiction: "I am addicted to writing." And his massive vault of output, of which we have possibly only discovered a small amount, is certainly testimony to that.
There is so much to say about addiction, it's best to hear something from the horses' mouths. So then let us take this topic to the floor, where, this very afternoon, we've pulled out a little circle of plastic seats, and a selection celebrities have come to Song Bar's equivalent of an AA meeting. Each guest will describe their addiction-based flaws. OK, it's slightly inappropriate to hold this in a bar, but hey, who's going to let a little self-contraction get in the way in a place where internet and music offer a necessary, if addictive, daily dose. It's too late to stop now.
So who's first? It's a guy in a hat, with a gravelly voice, once described as the booze-soaked bard of the barstool, the keeper of a bad liver and a broken heart. What's your name, fella? "Tom."
Hi Tom, and what do have to share with the group?
"Don't you know there ain't no devil, it's just god when he's drunk."
Applause from the group.
"Thank you. Well, I still like coffee and cigarettes, and I used to say I've rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy, but now I've been a teetotaller for nearly 20 years. but I've still got an adrenaline addiction."
Thanks Tom. Who else wants to say something. Keith?
"I've never had a problem with drugs. I've had problems with the police. I only get ill when I give up drugs. A doctor told me I had six months to live and I went to his funeral."
Ozzy? "I am a raging alcoholic and a raging addict. Of all the things I've lost I miss my mind the most. I got rabies shots for biting the head off a bat but that's OK - the bat had to get Ozzy shots. Oh, now my phone's ringing. How do you work this fuckin' thing ..."
Alanis? "Well what about love? Breakups are a horrible thing for almost everybody I know. For someone who is a love addict, it's debilitating."
River? "We are taught to consume. And that's what we do. But if we realised that there really is no reason to consume, that it's just a mindset, that it's just an addiction, then we wouldn't be out there stepping on people's hands climbing the corporate ladder of success."
Mae? Ahem, sorry Miss West, do you have anything to say to the group? And would you mind, leaving River Phoenix alone, for a minute. I'm sure he'd prefer you not to be feeling up his leg.
Mae: "OK doll. Well, all I gotta say is, between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before.”
Marshall? Will the real Marshall, or Eminem, or Slim Shady, please stand up? May I have your attention please?
“OK. OK. Now that I understand that I'm an addict, I definitely have compassion for my mother. I get it."
Nikki Sixx? "Yeah, and when the addict gets recovery, his family gets recovery, right?"
James? "Call me Mr Taylor, please."
Sorry. Mr Taylor?
"I was a functional addict ... If you're an addict, it controls your life and your life becomes uncontrollable. It's boring and painful, filling your system with something that makes you stare at your shoes for six hours."
Keith: "Well, yeah, just one more thing. Music is definitely an addiction. An addiction is something I should know something about."
Thanks Keith. Any more? Oh, looks like we have a latecomer. Hi. Is that Mr Rollins?
"Hi. Call me Henry. Sorry I'm late. I've I've just one thing to say. If I were a doctor, I would prescribe that you all addict yourself deeply and irrevocably to music and never, ever seek a cure outside of more music. It really is the best drug available."
Thanks everybody. Now please start nominating your addiction songs, see you all next week for some playlists, whether they are about drugs, drink, love, or anything else that you simply can't help yourself doing. In the distant past one of our old friends did a list on cocaine and heroin, but that leaves plenty more to get addicted to. This week's group leader, and addiction adjudicator is the vivacious Violet Vivid, who will rehabilitate us all with lists published next Wednesday. Time for nominations will be called later on Monday.
As Oscar Wilde said, 'If there's one thing I can't resist, it's temptation.”
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Fancy a turn behind the pumps at The Song Bar? Care to choose a playlist from songs nominated and write something about it? Then feel free to contact The Song Bar here, or try the usual email address.