Tuesday 23 April 2013

Here Comes The Sun

Richie Havens at Woodstock

Take a look at the resources available from our friends in the Mental Health Foundation for their Mental Health Awareness week in May here. The theme this year is the link between physical and mental health and they have lots of advice about taking exercise.

Good timing as we have had such a horrid winter and rubbish early spring that it feels like we are emerging into the sunlight after a sort of climatic Armageddon - I've never seen so many happy faces as the warm sunshine broke through sporadically over the last few days. I even wore shorts to work in an optimistic attempt to move the summer forward. Definitely time to get out and I'm looking forward to going up to North Wales later this week.

I read of the death yesterday of Richie Havens, most famous for his song "Freedom" and for playing Woodstock for three hours (because the other bands were stuck in the traffic). He also did a famous cover of the Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun", George Harrison's slight but memorable and evocative paean to spring written in Eric Clapton's garden in 1969 (which was the last time we had a March as cold as the miserable one just gone). The lyrics are limited but particularly apposite right now...

Here comes the sun (doo doo doo doo)
Here comes the sun, and I say
It's all right

Little darling, it's been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it's been here
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It's all right

Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces
[he saw what we see this week]
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been here...

Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been clear...

Here comes the sun, and I say
It's all right
It's all right

See George doing it here and Richie Havens here (not as good if you ask me but different).

Perhaps George Harrison had Horace's famous Ode 4.7 in mind when he knocked out his song...

Diffugere nives, redeunt iam gramina campis
Arboribusque comae

("The snow dissolv'd no more is seen,
The fields, and woods, behold, are green" - Samuel Johnson's translation)

Highly likely that he would have read Horace as he passed his 11 Plus and went to grammar school in the 1950s - though he flunked his exams (and spring is a universal trope).

Incidentally my clearest memory of 1969 was seeing the live pictures of the first moon landing, quite impressive but even more significant because it got us out of double maths. As a sort of celebration of that I later built a massive Airfix model of the Apollo 11 Saturn Five rocket with detachable fuel sections and a tiny landing capsule. Yes, readers, I was too young to relish the more florid (floral?) aspects of the Sixties.