Skip to main content

Skyfall by Adele

James Bond theme songs are a genre unto themselves - often overblown, or silly, or somewhat contrived (Thunderball faintly comical though sublime) - the best of them such as the Shirley Basseys, especially the all-time great, 'Goldfinger' - are crowd-pleasing classics, timeless.  Adele has been selected for Skyfall, and, given she was the best-selling British female singer of all time, and the currently most popular, this was the right commercial and artistic choice, rendered faintly ironic by Adele's figure and down to earth humanity, which nicely cut across the sexist imperatives of the Bond opening trailers.  If you live in the UK you have already bought the song today or heard it, likely - it's the top song currently at iTunes.  So what do you think?  Well, it's a little Carly Simon, and a lot Bassey.  That suits this being the Bond 50th year.  It has the usual nonsense lyrics (what is Moonraker for instance?).  I like "you can have my number take my name/ but you can never have my heart" - a sort of quasi-judicial riposte.  There have been jokes about the skyfole/ tumbole pronunciation - but mostly it is a deliciously sweeping and romantic addition to the canon, and, nicely, one of the least aggressive.


Popular posts from this blog

Review of the new Simple Minds album - Walk Between Worlds

Taste is a matter of opinion - or so goes one opinion. Aesthetics, a branch of pistols at dawn, is unlikely to become unruffled and resolved any time soon, and meantime it is possible to argue, in this post-post-modern age, an age of voter rage, that political opinion trumps taste anyway. We like what we say is art. And what we say is art is what likes us.

Simple Minds - the Scottish band founded around 1977 with the pale faces and beautiful cheekbones, and perfect indie hair cuts - comes from a time before that - from a Glasgow of poverty and working-class socialism, and religiosity, in a pre-Internet time when the heights of modernity were signalled by Kraftwerk, large synthesisers, and dancing like Bowie at 3 am in a Berlin club.

To say that early Simple Minds was mannered is like accusing Joyce of being experimental. Doh. The band sought to merge the icy innovations of German music with British and American pioneers of glam and proto-punk, like Iggy Pop; their heroes were contrived,…


Wheeler Light for 'Life Jacket'.

The runner-up is: Daniel Duffy - 'President Returns To New York For Brief First Visit'

Wheeler Light currently lives in Boulder, Colorado.

Life Jacket

summer camp shirtsI couldn’t fit in then
are half my size nowI wanted to wear
smaller and smallerarticles of clothing
I shrunk to the sizethat disappeared

of an afterthoughtin a sinking ship body
too buoyant to sinktoo waterlogged for land
I becamea dot of sand


With the death of the poetic genius John Ashbery, whose poems, translations, and criticism made him, to my mind, the most influential American poet since TS Eliot, 21st century poetry is moving into less certain territory.

Over the past few years, we have lost most of the truly great of our era: Edwin Morgan, Gunn, Hill, Heaney and Walcott, to name just five.  There are many more, of course. This is news too sad and deep to fathom this week.  I will write more perhaps later. 

I had a letter from Ashbery on my wall, and it inspired me daily.  He gave me advice for my PhD. He said kind things about a poetry book of mine.

He was a force for good serious play in poetry, and his appeal great. So many people I know and admire are at a loss this week because of his death. It is no consolation at present to think of the many thousands of living poets, just right now. But impressively, and even oddly, poetry itself seems to keep flowing.