Updated: Mar 21
Welcome all to 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆’𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿, a series of weekly reviews by Charles Connolly - an artist in his own right. Here, Charles delves into the greatest brand new singles brought to you by the best unsigned artists on our electrifying and eclectic set of 𝙉𝙚𝙬 𝘼𝙧𝙩𝙞𝙨𝙩 𝙎𝙥𝙤𝙩𝙡𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩 playlists.
𝘼𝙥𝙤𝙘𝙖𝙡𝙮𝙥𝙨𝙚 - 𝙀𝙢𝙞𝙡𝙮 𝙂𝙧𝙖𝙮
Charles rewrites history…
When everyone has quite calmed down from being so progressively and obsessively modern, we might actually get back to reality. Not virtual reality. Reality! You remember. A life of people and tangible things. A time when people actually used their minds rather than commanding a machine to do it for them...? It worked for centuries. It worked very well, in fact. Craft was high. Art was off the charts. Reading was the only way to absorb information. That and a good schooling and upbringing. If we were to go back to the 16th century, we would see people being people. Brilliant people. Hell, we could go back to ancient Rome and you certainly wouldn't find cavemen. And speaking of cavemen, it used to be an insult to call someone a caveman - for obvious reasons. These days, I think it would be quite a compliment. To be compared to someone who used both their brain and their brawn in order to survive and pass the time. So would a modern individual smile and gracefully nod their head in gratitude of having been called such a thing? No, they would not. Grace is a lost manner. They would take great offence because they would insist this c-word to be archaic and sexist, and that the preferred term these days is "shelterperson”, if it has to be used at all.
Which brings me to literary fiction. Some of you might be aware of what has quietly been happening to Roald Dahl’s children’s books of late. Some of you may be too young and uninformed to have even heard of Roald Dahl. I have absolutely no doubt of that whatsoever. Put it this way, other than J.K. Rowling, he is the biggest children’s writer of all time. J.K. Rowling wrote the Harry Potter books by the way. A book is a printed work consisting of pages glued or sewn together along one side and bound in covers. These pages are made of paper. Paper is made from trees. Do I have to explain what a tree is? Maybe, these days… Sigh. Anyway: Roald Dahl. You will almost certainly have seen or at least heard of the films (these are what we in England call movies): Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, then latterly Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. James and the Giant Peach. Matilda. The BFG. Fantastic Mr. Fox. The Witches. He wrote all of these books and FAR more. He even wrote the screenplay for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, based on the novel by Ian Fleming - more on him in a bit. The thing is, the modern trend for deleting history is once again in full vigour. Several weeks ago it was found out that Puffin Books had “rewritten” the entirety of Dahl’s back catalogue, last year. It took a reputable newspaper to realise this travesty. Any single example of anything at which anyone could possibly take offence, was removed or replaced. Take for example, the word “fat”. A fat kid could be offended. Removed! “Ugly”? No no no. Then the ugly kids would be mortified. Removed! “Short legs”? Couldn’t possibly have something as offensive as short legs! “Mother and father”? All illegal words these days, apparently. It’s called “family” now. Ahh. Bless. The point is, this happened. This culling of fabulously unique art is where we are right now. The good news is, there was such a backlash, that Puffin Books has announced a U-turn and will be publishing the original unedited text. Admittedly, AS WELL as the boring cottonwool-wrapped baby version. The bad news is, this trend is spreading. I mentioned Ian Fleming earlier. How many of you have heard of him? I’ll give you a clue. He wrote all the James Bond books. That’s right - well done. He is the writer of the James Bond books. Good guess! Now guess what’s happening to HIS books… That’s right - “rewritten”. Pathetic. Painful. Horrific. And I fear it will continue. I’ve just thought of the ultimate oxymoronic rewriting task that might stump them… George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. But they won’t touch that. It has become a manual for Life. Like The Bible, only more realistic.
So what with this frame of mind continuing, and computers taking over our once-meaningful lives, I have one question to ask. Where are we heading? Machines were always supposed to be useful and helpful. To save us time and physical backbreaking labour. To make the task easier, not to do it for us. We were never supposed to turn into drones. We were never supposed to have machines doing life for us. Otherwise what is our purpose?? So when will we stop this nonsense and get back to the real world? Learning from history rather than deleting it? Ach, who am I kidding. We will keep going in this stupid manner until we don't know how to speak and won't lift a finger for fear of doing it harm. You've all heard of cyber attacks. They are increasingly terrifying, the more we rely on computers. What about the most simplistic of cyber attacks… A simple power cut. A permanent power cut. This is all it would take to wrench us back to the time of the shelterpeople. For we are undoing the stages of progress we have made in the intervening centuries. People would be too soft to deal with anything, and too useless to know how to do anything about the whole disastrous mess. Eventually the whole world would just crumble from our weak uselessness. One by one, people would drop off the face of the Earth with little more than a trip, until nothing was left but a barren landscape. An empty scene with one solitary figure left. Emily Gray. The only one who saw sense. But the only one to remain in pain.
Emily has put together something rather special. It is brand new, yet very old. It is full of awe and wonder. It is bleak. It is an EP consisting of 5 tracks, but only amounting to a mere 9 minutes in total. This is Apocalypse. The air is thin and warm and full of dust. It is full of nothing else, save a few chunks of bent up sheet metal and bones, old and new. Emily stares, knowing not quite what has happened. The surrounding silence matches her own. It should be peaceful, but this is not a scene of peace. Despite the heavy, humid warmth, she shudders as if having stumbled into the Ice Age. She is in shock. Now, as we musicians know, there is no time where music is inappropriate. In shredded garms, she drags the remains of her guitar to rest upon a broken knee. In this dreary ancient modern scene, we start to hear the sounds of a purer time. Medieval England - Emily’s hometown, before things had started to go wrong. It is a humble sound. A peasant sound. A sound where purity has a place. Yet this is no gypsy jig. No tankards will go flying in this scene. No hopping and no smiles, for the only lonely soul remaining, bereft, has not a single smile left. But something wills Emily to play, to move, to sing. To rip and tear the layers of mystery, so nothing is left to bear but the beating red heart of a girl who cared. She stomps her dirty naked feet into the dusty ground with crazed anger, like one of Roald Dahl’s ugly witches. Her back bent double as if she still bears the weight of the world, despite there no longer being any world of which to speak. The desolation sends her loopy as she dances in circles to the sound of herself. She has forgotten the sore knee. Her determined harmonies are what you might imagine Shakespeare and fat old Henry VIII to have listened to, back in the days when rain used to fall from the sky. But there is something so virile and contemporary about her delivery. She pauses.
She sits on a worn boulder. Both she and the boulder have been weathered by the passing of time. Emily remembers all that has gone. Her memory being all that remains of the remains. She starts to wonder about the petty things in life that didn’t really ever matter, and why she ever bothered with such trivial cares. Then she starts to regret. Not so much what she did, as what she didn’t. But eventually she stumbles on the crux of it all. Regret of everything THEY did. Everything THEY did, that was so obviously wrong to us. If only they could have been less oblivious to avert oblivion. Exhausted, Emily cries and almost instantly falls asleep.
As the clock silently strikes an hour of the day or night, she awakes, cockeyed and strangely eager. She has a feeling. A feeling that she might not be the only one left. That she COULD not be the only survivor. It is light. It must be day. But then again, with the amount of messing around in recent years, who knows? Either way, Emily can see. Time matters little now. In hope, she follows one path, in search of footprints…
What happens next? You’ll have to find out for yourself! Emily Gray has created something that I have been missing in independent music. And mainstream music, as it happens. A theme. A story. Music that goes somewhere. Something more than a 3 minute pop song. And you know how much I love my 3 minute pop songs. I urge you to listen to the entire EP - it will take you less time than one song by Mercury Teardrop. And about half as long as a song by Pink Floyd. But it will leave you with a feeling far greater than any catchy melody. Welcome to the art of Emily Gray.
And finally, Emily had decided to put a Parental Advisory Explicit Content warning on the record. Not for swearing, but as a kind (and rather beautiful) caution that some might be hurt or affected by the lyrics. As far as I know, this is a unique idea. That someone could be affected by more than the literal isolated words. To leave the potentially “offensive” words alone, but to warn people of the REAL dangers of which to be aware. Sheer poetry in itself. They should do that for Roald Dahl’s books. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.
All 5 tracks will be on my Connolly’s Corner playlist for one week only, then one track will remain thereafter. Much like how Emily was the last to remain.
I personally relate to the “caveman”, in being both archaic and sexy. I think that’s what they said.
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