This Hear: “Our dreams have all gone up on sale”


So, it was Buried Treasure Time at casa bstewart this Labo(u)r Day, and I squealed coquettishly upon unearthing from a box o’ crap a pair of CDs which had mysteriously disappeared from my collection (and thus consciousness) for more years than I care to reveal (or remember). And, fuckety-fuck, how good it was to slide them into the CD drawer and crank the volume up, to hear Richard Butler’s familiar, sardonic rasp and the Psychedelic Furs’ postpunk-psychedelia punching all the right neurons up and down and down and up my spine.

A fan since their first, eponymous album, the Furs were my absolute favourite band of the early 80s, before their style slickened (and long before they regained their grittier, early sound at the close of that decade), due in no small part to the popularity of “Pretty in Pink”, so misused in the John Hughes movie of that same name. Forever Now had Todd Rundgren behind the boards and, despite the generational differences which might’ve made the pairing odd (is TR, like, a million years old now, and still cranking it out?), it was a disc that rarely left my player for longer than a day or two. There’s not a crappy cut on that album.

And then there’s 1984’s Mirror Moves. Every song a perfect, gorgeous, crystalline creation. “The Ghost in You” set the stage for an album filled with carefully-crafted masterpieces. “Heaven” had a terrific video, Butler spinning, arms outstretched in the monochrome rain. But, most of all, the closer, “Highwire Days”, is the one song I remember most from 1984 (click on the album cover, above, for a snippet from Amazon). I played that fucker, with its proto-hiphop beats and soaring harmonies, to death on my radio show every Monday evening (“you’re listening to 2D on RadioRadio 104.5 cable FM, broadcasting live from the throbbing core of Calgary”) and in hearing it again, years later, I remember why.

It was an utterly brilliant take on the darkening political paranoia of the time and the perfect, haunting reaction to the growing split between mass media’s phony constructs and the real world. So, like, more relevant with each passing day, right?

They tore up our kisses and ran
on tomorrow’s pages
and the lions have eaten the lamb
on tomorrow’s pages
There’s a day of your life in your hands
full of people you don’t understand
In my highwire days
I can see all the way
I see through the games you play
in my highwire days
They pushed all the buttons and things
on tomorrow’s pages
and the sirens do nothing but sing
on tomorrow’s pages
and you put on your prettiest face
and you wait for the news that we made
Our dreams have all gone up on sale
on tomorrow’s pages
and we paid for the cross and the nails
on tomorrow’s pages
and we put on out prettiest face
and we wait for the news that we made
That’s it.

“Get smart, get scared, get lost…”

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