Monday, 13 July 2015

Libraries gave us power

Anthem.  "A
rousing or uplifting song identified with a particular group, body, or cause." Or "a musical setting of a religious text to be sung by a choir during a church service".


I suppose both those descriptions suit "A Design for Life", particularly when you see it played live in front of the faithful. It's a bit of a cliché again to go with this one when there are so many great Manic Street Preachers songs. But as with all these ten songs there are personal reasons why I didn't go with "Die in the Summertime" or "It's not War" or even "Misguided Missile".


It's a personal and collective redemption - for the band, and also for me. Whatever confusion I had about my history, identity and class in my twenties and early thirties, this song made me understand that they are but thoughts. Whilst the old football chant about "knowing your history" is true, for me, seizing your future will always be more important. This song says that to me.




I quoted the opening line recently. For a song of few words it packs an amazing lyrical punch, the anthemic melody carries them so well. I even saw a version with violins on Jools Holland way back. But that opening line is actually the show finale and the prelude, the essence and the detail.


So whether it's gentle or the original hard-hitting video version, make your choice, get some knowledge and seize your future. It's not the libraries that matter, it's what you do with them that counts.

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