Friday, 11 May 2018

Grumpy Old Men Songs #4: For Guardian Readers Only...

Throughout his career, Lloyd Cole has always managed to make cynicism sound bittersweet. Although he might come across as something of a curmudgeon at times, he's actually the most warm and self-effacing live performer I've ever seen... and I've seen him live more times than any other artist.

Back in 2006 - when he was a younger man than I am now, but still cheerfully playing the Grumpy Old Man card (as I do) - he used to introduce the following tune as being "for Guardian readers only". It's a song about having some of your right-on principles knocked out of you as you grow older, and perhaps looking back with some cynicism at the naïve youth you once were who honestly thought your actions made a difference and that one day you might change the world. Behind that glorious grumbliness though, there's also an aching melancholy for that same past, a fervent desire to grab on to it and make it real again.
I know I said I favoured peaceful resolution
But that was when we were the young idealists
The Young Idealists
Raging through the coffee shops and bars
Make believe the world was really ours
Still supposing we could make a difference

Then we bought into the neocon economic dream
And we were trading in futures we believed in
The Young Idealists
Careering through the markets to the Mall
Venturing that we could have it all
Still supposing we could make a difference

And then the markets fall
And the heavens open
And there's no synergy at all
The synergy is broken

So maybe now I'd take that wholesale revolution
We were talking about
Maybe now I'd take a future we can breathe in
The Young Idealists

It's been too long since Lloyd had a new record out. I do hope there's one in the pipeline. I want to grow older and grumpier with him by my side.


  1. Your second paragraph is sad but true
    I can vaguely remember that days when I thought that my friends and I could make a difference.
    I now look on things with a cynical older eye having had the hope kicked out of me over the years!

  2. I agree with CC - Do we just get too comfy and stop trying to make a difference or is it that we've become cynical?

    I still feel very strongly about certain issues (my rants do pop up at my place every now and again) but I've come to realise that although things do change as the collective consciousness takes on board injustices or inequalities, it sometimes takes an awful long time. Fortunately for me I have the vote, and don't need my husband's permission to open a bank account, but those before me were not as lucky.

  3. You certainly snagged the right photo of Mr. Cole for this piece. Loved his last album, but a new one would be most welcome. One of my favorites too.

  4. I caught his Lloyd's solo tour and he was on fine form, exhibiting a splendidly dry humour between songs. He was interviewed on RadMac not that long ago and mentioned a new LP was in the pipeline.


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