Metronomy Own My Heart
I alternate between a weary sigh and laughter when I see people launch themselves through half closed tube doors in London, shoulders being thrown out of joint and laptop bags been trapped as they’ve flailed behind. I laugh because those people who do look silly. I sigh because if you’re that late already waiting for the next [insert tube line here] train arriving in 1 minute is not going to make any difference. I don’t, won’t and never will run for public transport. I have a country pace of life instilled in me, it’s my heritage and after 7 years of living in London I don’t think I’m likely to change.
I recently took the boy down to where I’m from, The English Riviera (title of Metronomy’s 3rd & now Mercury nominated album). On a walk along a beach in Brixham I asked him if he thought the place where I grew up represented my personality. In a split second he said “Yes, you’re so patient and on a level”.
That was the moment I realised that place, that little bay, has actually had an impact on who I am, even though I never really felt like I fitted in. I grew up in a wonderful, intelligent and caring family but my school years were difficult. I was in top sets but my teenage years were tormented by terrible, crippling acne and the bullying that comes with it (as Morrissey says “I can smile about it now, but at the time it was terrible”). After school you fall into three categories in that area. You’re either pregnant as you’re sitting your GCSE’s so your life is mapped out (notoriously high levels of teen pregnancies in Torbay). Alternatively you go to University or you find a job. I took the job route and still felt like I wasn’t fitting in. My Mum once described living with me was like “living with a ghost”. It was only when I moved to London that I felt the ground beneath my feet was Mecca, home, my pilgrimage complete.
Like anywhere you reminisce over I have an appreciation for it now I don’t live there. Joe Mount paints a pretty picture of The English Riviera, sending up the area in the video to The Bay making it look like you’re in Cannes with scantily clad girls spreading their legs. It’s not far from the truth even though it’s tongue in cheek. It really is a beautiful, breathtaking area (where women use bronzing balls to enhance their cleavage), “Those endless beaches that go on and on….” sings Mount.
Hearing the sea gulls eerily echo as it opens, the picture painted of domestic violence in Corinne by someone in the forces is a picture I can sadly say is true of practically every friend I had in Torquay (yes, listen closely to the upbeat song & you’ll hear it has a dark undertone), the fairground organ used in The Look conjuring up images of shabby Paignton pier. I remember when Muse revealed they were from Teignmouth and I was ranting to my Dad how I couldn’t believe they were from sleepy Devon, he didn’t look up from his paper as he said “Everyone has to come from somewhere”. So yes, why not from Torbay, The English Riviera. Where my parents met, where they eventually wed & raised four children. Where I lost my virginity, got caught shoplifting as a teen, wanted to escape from, learned to swim, whistle, took ballet classes… you get the picture.
Hearing a whole album based on an area you know so intimately tugs at my heart strings, I feel a connection to it. It’s my album, it makes me think of home and makes me think of everything I am now. I even have a nod to lyrics from She Wants permanently etched onto my foot. It get’s my vote for the Mercury Album prize, and I’m not sure anything will rival it for my personal album of the year. In love. ♥
Listen to Metronomy – The English Riviera on Spotify