01 July 2012

The Flaming Lips - Do You Realize

We've talked about songs that you would want played at your funeral. Mine has changed (again) and it is all written down in a letter to whoever outlives me.

However the 23rd Track today was always likely to be on my list of "to be played when I kick the bucket".
It was playing after I drove a friend home, pissed as a newt (him, not me) after a few shandies for his birthday. As I pulled into my drive it was playing and I was close to tears.

That is the official US video.  The UK one had lots of dancing naked women. For some reason, I can't find that on YouTube. Perhaps I should try RedTube...

So why was I close to tears?
For all the facts over being a quiet, fat, tough skinned sack of crap, I am a human. A human who has faults, fails occasionally and can't express my love for everyone and everything the way I wish I could. I am not perfect in any way and try to better myself when I can. I am grotesquely naive - and most of the time I wouldn't really want to change that. I find wonder in simple things and fall in love five times a day.
At least.

Stupidly, childishly, hopelessly and I do nothing about it.
Inherently,  my heart is broken five times a day as well.

So obviously regret is another feeling that claws away at me - why didn't I do this, or say that. Regret eats you up like a disease, rotting you from the inside.

So when did I first hear this?
No idea.  I think it was written up in the press as one of the best albums of the year and had a funky looking cover, so I bought it. And fell in love with it.

Who are they? A band that has been around for decades. Rockers, weirdo's, grunge stalwarts, acid freaks, pop divas - they have worn all the hats that are going. But they love their fans, always giving more than just a little light show. The lead singer always starts the show coming out in a giant hamster ball. At shows a few years ago they gave out lasers to the crowd. Hundreds of them. Just imagine what that looks like....


I drove a girl who worked with me home one evening, over a decade ago and played it to her, wanting her to love me. She nearly did, but fell for the brash, fit, boy with courage instead.

The Shapesmith and I went to see them at the Albert Hall a couple of years later. Lets just say they know how to put on a show...

I grinned the whole night long - happy with such unbridled joy for the first time in years - that my face was in pain for days. I've been through a lot of things in 38 years. Things I wish I hadn't, but we don't always have a choice. The words of this simplistic, overly sappy song hit me. And they keep hitting me every time.


Do you realize, that you have the most beautiful face
Do you realize, we're floating in space,
Do you realize, that happiness makes you cry
Do you realize, that everyone you know someday will die


And instead of saying all of your goodbyes, let them know
You realize that life goes fast
It's hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun doesn't go down
It's just an illusion caused by the world spinning round

Is it the truth of life moving faster than I can deal with, resonating with my own feelings and memories of past regrets?
Is it the the deep knowledge in each of us that life is finite and that on average, half of those we love will die before us, and our own inability to deal with it sociologically?
Is it their knowledge of Copernican science?
Is it their "hippy" ideology and general weirdness?
Is it a deeper pain to do with the mis-spelling of realise? With a "Z" instead of the correct "S"?

I don't know. probably an addition of all of the above.


All I do know that what, to some could be one of the more depressing songs in the pantheon of pop, I find one of the most emotionally life affirming. It mixes many of my pent up feelings and spits out its rainbow cocktail of joy in nine lines.

It expresses love. And there is nothing else in this world.