These Days

Marketing gets ever more imaginative. Just when we were starting to have explain to our young what record sleeves were, Damien Hirst jumps to rescue by not only designing the cover art for The Hours’ new album See The Light, but stumps up the cash for its label company too. AND someone manages to talk The Guardian into running a comp for the artwork, with a pre-release giveaway of the track These Days. So with an album title like that – and having quite an interest in modern art and especially the way it tussles and toys with religious concepts – I had to download it.

And guess what – the Sheffield Sound of my youth still lives! Evidently the ten-year old Antony Genn, future Hours man, started his musical career standing at the stage door of The Top Rank (one remembers it well …) waiting for The Clash to turn up.

My musical taste has changed a bit since then, but when I found that the lyrics of the song weren’t yet around on the internet I was intrigued enough by what I could hear to have a go at transcribing them. I don’t guarantee they’re 100% accurate, but you’ll get the drift:

When you’re going through hell you’ve got to keep going
If I stop and think of the state we’re in I just hang my head
And it don’t make sense the seeds we’re sowing
We have nothing left to believe in or rebel against
But for several time we need to pull together
The time is now when everything’s falling apart
The slow rehearsal soon will be gone for ever
These days, these days are all we have
These days are all we have

Can we be bought or sold, for there’s a question
Well if there ain’t no rest it’s best that we all must be beyond cloud nine
It’s sad to find the piece/peace that’s missing
’Cos I need something to believe in before I lose my mind
But for several time we need to pull together
The time is now when everything’s falling apart
The slow rehearsal soon will be gone for ever
These days, these days, these days are all we have
These days are all we have
These days are all we have
These days are all we have

I’m going to set you free
We are going to set you free
We are going to set you free
We are going to set you free

The group’s Manifesto on their website goes like this:

We are living in strange times, the glass is filled to the brim with uncertainty and anticipation. What we all gonna do? Where does this road lead? The truth is nobody knows. We have one choice to make. Am I gonna be a positive force, or a negative force?

Welcome to the world of The Hours. We have made that decision. We mean what we say. Every note. Every beat. Every syllable. The world may be falling apart,so surely now is the time for us to come together. Come inside and get to know us. Know what we think,what we feel,what makes us laugh,what makes us angry. Come and see what we look like. We want to get to know you. Put your arms around us and we’ll put our arms around you too. We’re gonna take you with us…wherever the hell it is that we’re heading…

It’s so redolent of the mood of the moment. Everything seems doomed. There’s nothing to believe in. But we need to believe in something or lose our minds. We don’t know where we’re going. But somehow we need to pull together to get there.

I suppose I really do hope that some of those who are searching like this will indeed ‘See The Light’ – that strange light that shines even in the darkness and even when we don’t understand it.

Oh yes – and I was truly staggered to find that after opening the launch tour in Sheffield (of course) the Hours are then off to my old patch of Carlisle of all places (Brickyard, 10th May, just across from where we lived, in Carlisle’s Georgian Nightclub Quarter – really). Well done them.

Here’s the album’s promo video on YouTube: