FRIDAY NIGHT VIDEOS!
I’ve talked before about how Joy Division were making the music of entropy; here’s a song from their later incarnation as New Order that sounds even more like the weary acceptance of a clock that knows it’s winding down.
“Leave Me Alone” is, appropriately, the last song on the debut Power, Corruption and Lies.
The lyrics are a bit abstract, but easy enough to understand that I won’t reprint them here (except to say that the rueful delivery of “You get these words wrong / every time / You get these words wrong / I just smile” is sheer perfection: such a simple and succinct way to communicate the inadequacy of language to express truth).
When I hear the song, I get an image in my head. It’s completely unrelated to the video up top, which is lovely in its own right – you should watch it.
The image I get is this:
Above a beach somewhere, in the cloudless sky, the late-afternoon sun hangs low: massively swollen, dim and red. It’s so big the whole horizon appears aflame. Soon it will touch the sea and seem to set it afire too.
The few remaining “people” (for they are no longer exactly human, as we use that term; maybe they look closer to the scuttling, translucent crab-like creatures that have provided the bulk of their sustenance since most landmass ceased to support vegetation) spend their days quietly; idly dreaming, along the coastlines, on the sand.
It’s been years – or maybe decades, or perhaps centuries – since the last words were spoken aloud here.
The people are not sad; not happy; not lonely.
They just are.
If they remembered what an hourglass was, they would be waiting for it to run out.
They hum, and they check the nets out of long habit and routine, and they wait for the end.
It’s such a specific image that I am sure it must be something I read in a story long ago (the translucent crab-thingies in particular), but some cursory Google searches have been fruitless.
I am hoping that the resident sci-fi historians here may be able to tell me where it’s from.