Tuesday, 24 March 2009

"I think it's only fair to tell you I'm absolutely cuckoo"

An additional spring was put in my step yesterday during an already pleasant sun-inflected wander through the back streets of the Northern Quarter. These anonymous, unattributed, words, taken of course from the Magnetic Fields song Absolutely Cuckoo, leapt from a wall in cursive white on black. What better affirmation of the dawn of spring than this sprightly country lament, guitars like new green shoots and electronic effects a-burble over the teasing strums of a ukulele? Absolutely Cuckoo is the opening track on the Magnetic Fields' majestic three album box set 69 Love Songs, an ambitious concept album full of short, sweet, perfectly formed songs of love turned on its head, which is ten years old this year. Stephin Merritt's one-step-away-from-laughing baritone dances through skipping ropes of repeated rhyming couplets, which chase each other round and round like the words to a nursery rhyme. Absolutely Cuckoo also manages to sum up my entire relationship history in one minute and thirty five seconds.

Don't fall in love with me yet
we only recently met
true i'm in love with you but
you might decide i'm a nut
give me a week or two to
go absolutely cuckoo
and when you see your error
then you can flee in terror
like everybody else does
i only tell you this 'cause
i'm easy to get rid of
but not if you fall in love
know now that i'm on the make
and if you make a mistake
my heart wil certainly break
i'll have to jump in a lake
and all my friends will blame you
there's no telling what they'll do
it's only fair to tell you
i'm absolutely cuckoo.

Update: April 27

I've noticed that the graffiti has still been there every time I've been to my favourite fruit and vegetable stall (possibly called Fresh is Best, in the shacks opposite the Arndale Market). I saw today that it finally seems to have been painted over, but it lasted for over a month!

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