June 04, 2005

The Divine Comedy

What better lyrics for a sunny afternoon (perhaps the Kinks with Sunny Afternoon, a song which has the virtue of actually being called Sunny Afternoon) than:

I fall for this season everytime,
When it's hot and everybody smiles
I can't help myself, I'm i love with the suuuummertiiiiime.

The Divine Comedy with The Pop Singer's Fear of the Pollen Count.

They're such a great band. I was walking around campus the other day listening to them on my walkman (Yes, some of us are resisting the digital movement. Well at least until I can afford an mp3 player and then I'm right on board). Playing was their greatest hits album from a few years ago, A Secret History, or seeing as I'd condensed it to fit onto one side of tape, I guess my version was a potted history.


Artist's (Okay, my) impression of the cover to A Secret History.

For the uninitiated the Divine Comedy are an Irish band fronted by and sometimes consisting solely of Neil Hannon. They are possibly most famous for their involvement with Father Ted. The theme music for the show is taken from their track Songs of Love and they wrote My Lovely Horse which Ted and Dougal entered in "Eurosong '96".

Their first album was Liberation in 1993 featuring the aforementioned The Pop Singer's Fear of the Pollen Count (though it only became a hit in 1999). They hit the big time (?) on the release of Something for the Weekend which featured on Casanova, released in 1996.

Since then they've sort of plodded on through all manner of permutations and combinations, but remain a firm favourite of mine. I don't want to sound prententious but, (meaning "I'm going to be really pretentious here but I want you to like me anyway, oh go on, please!") I love how their songs create images in your mind and suck you into a story through verse (Gosh). In fact I suppose they're really poems put to tune.

For example, Something for the Weekend seems to be about a man at a party trying to have his way (*giggles*) with a woman. You have to really listen to the lyrics and think it about what it's saying, what's more the story twists at the end, I won't spoil it for you by saying how but it's quite funny.

Not only are the lyrics unadulterated genius but I'm assured by a friend with a musical bent that they're very talented as musicians too. In Something for the Weekend they change from the song being in… something to being in… something else. I'm not exactly sure what but apparently it's very clever so we should all be impressed. Since my friend told me about this whenever I listen to the song I'm always very relieved that they make it through okay without screwing it up.

If you're unfamiliar with the Divine Comedy I suggest you listen to the following:

  • National Express (Very funny song featuring the lyric "But it's hard to get by, when your arse is the size, of a small countryyyyy.")
  • Something for the Weekend
  • The Pop Singer's fear of the Pollen Count
  • My Lovely Horse (Purely for comedy value)
  • In Pursuit of Happiness (see if you can recognise the the music towards the end)
  • Come Home Billy Bird (It's one of the recent ones and the story in it is sweet if a bit sappy)
  • Gin Soaked Boy ("Iím the catcher in the rye, Iím the twinkle in her eye, Iím the Jeff Goldblum in the fly. Well, who am I?")

- 10 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. yay, i love divine comedy!

    04 Jun 2005, 13:50

  2. Becoming More Like Alfie is the best. They were quality at Glasto last year.

    04 Jun 2005, 14:01

  3. :D They are very loveable. They fit in with the mid-90s Irish obsession (eg. Jack Charlton getting Ireland to USA '94, Father Ted)

    Oh yes how could I leave that out? I should've mentioned "I've been to a marvelous party" that song's mental. No offense, but you're a git for going to Glastonbury last year btw!

    04 Jun 2005, 14:26

  4. Love What You Do somehow always manages to rescue even the worst of my moods. They are indeed amazing.
    *inflicts terrible karaoke on the surrounding area...

    04 Jun 2005, 14:38

  5. Don't forget these gems:

    – Tonight We Fly
    – Sunrise
    – The Certainty of Chance
    – The Booklovers
    – Theme From Casanova
    – Songs of Love

    The best band. Ever.

    And as well as the obvious reference, which film does In Pursuit of Happiness appear?

    And which Robbie Williams song has a Divine Comedy connection?

    And which 2005 film almost has a Divine Comedy soundtrack?

    Answers on a postcard.

    04 Jun 2005, 14:39

  6. Oooo, good tips guys. I'm sure your singing's lovely Mia.

    In answer to your questions:
    I don't know

    Nope, haven't a clue here either

    Um… rats.

    04 Jun 2005, 15:57

  7. I have just spent half an hour sitting about 3 metres up in a big tree, listening to Transatlanticism by Death Cab For Cutie.
    I can't think of a better way to relax.

    04 Jun 2005, 18:06

  8. Up a tree? Did you fall out? Is that how you messed up your finger?

    04 Jun 2005, 19:47

  9. Ok. Answers.

    In Pursuit of Happiness is on the soundtrack to Shooting Fish. A brilliant track for a brilliant film.

    Neil Hannon sings the backing vocals on 'No Regrets'.

    The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has a soundtrack by Joby Talbot – former member of the Divine Comedy. Neil Hannon also sings the title track.

    04 Jun 2005, 20:58

  10. Mike: Not telling you where, it's MY tree! Also, you may have noticed my swollen-finger post was yesterday, so no, falling out of the tree (which I didn't do anyway) was not the reason. Climbing a tree with a bruised finger provided a slight extra challenge, as did the still-damp moss which nearly chucked me out into thin air at one point, but I survived :-P

    04 Jun 2005, 21:09


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