“This Is Hell,” Elvis Costello

As I said, I have not been well.  Moreover, I have let it put me in my own small, hot, terrible place.  When depression has the upper hand, I stop listening to music.  I do not mean to, but I do.  When in the grip, music seems unsafe.  You hardly dare to enter the song’s world, to relax, to accept, to sing along.  For the first time in days, possibly weeks, I am deliberately listening to a song.

Why is this song not all over Youtube?  Why aren’t there countless covers and animated videos?  It is a little masterpiece.  When I was sixteen, I heard this song in my father’s truck, when it was fresh, and I knew then it would never let go of me.  Even then, I could tell that the lyrics described the curse pronounced upon us all.  I was the kind of girl who believed she had never really been young, and therefore would never really be old.  In its tiny way, I think it helped me learn that this was not so.

It’s not the torment of the flames that finally sees your flesh corrupted;
It’s the small humiliations that your memory piles up –

—–
* Or, to be precise, the second time, because I listened to “Can You Picture That” a whole bunch of times.

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