Number 20 – One of the greatest comeback records of all time and a story about a plastic tank.
Nothing Lasts Forever – Echo and the Bunnymen – Chosen by SWC – taken from ‘Evergreen’ LP (1997)
The Top 20 arrives, well done if you are still with us. We have where ever possible made this list and the stories surrounding them as happy as we possibly can. The problem is some songs no matter how we are feeling when we listen to they are synonymous with a sadder time. You all know what I mean. This is one of those occasions and I make no apologies for what follows, because this song plain and simple reminds me of my Granddads death (or rather his funeral). There is no easy way of discussing that I’m afraid and as much as I love this song and as much as I happen to think that this is one of the greatest comeback records ever recorded, I find it really hard to listen to it, without thinking of him.
My Granddad died in the summer of 1997, he had a heart attack whilst halfway through cleaning the bathroom the evening before and died in hospital the following morning. It was only the second night my granddad has ever spent in hospital in eighty years. He was a great man, I honestly never met a single person who had anything bad to say about him, but then I would say that and to be honest, no one is going to turn around and tell me otherwise.
At the time I was living in London, spending most of my time writing for a music magazine and studying for degree. My sister phoned me and told me the news at ten past six in the morning. I won’t go into how devastated I was, it doesn’t really matter in the scheme of things I guess.
I remember being a bit of blur for the next few days, not really wanting to do anything or speak to anyone. His funeral came around really quickly, too quickly, and funerals are difficult at the best of times because, well they’re funerals. My dad asked me if I wanted to say something at the funeral, I’ve never done anything like that before, heck I’d never been to a funeral before (I was 22). I agreed because it felt like the right thing to do, despite not knowing what to say or indeed how to say it. It is what my Grandad would have done if he was asked. The night before I stayed awake for what seemed all night- trying to get the mood right for my eulogy.
At the funeral I stood up, took a deep breath and launched into a story about the time I went to Herne Bay (a seaside resort on the Kent coast) with my granddad, aged eight, and I lost my toy Batman figure (in reality I think I buried it in the sand). I told the gathered masses that I loved that toy – and it was my most favourite thing in the world and that I wanted to keep it forever. My granddads response was to shove a few Murray Mints into my hand, wipe my eyes and say “nothing last forever – but lets get you a better toy that might”. Half an hour later, standing in a cheap toy shop on Herne Bay sea front, he bought me a small metal tank which fired plastic pellets. I then told the audience that I still had that tank – and produced it from my pocket. It was battered and no longer fired pellets, but there it was 14 years later. Obviously I would swap that tank right away for more days like those in Herne Bay, but I still have the tank, wrapped in bubble wrap inside in a box in the loft. Its falling to bits, and I daren’t take it out of the bubble wrap these days.
I get home the next day to find the satisfying sight of a bundle of parcels from promotional companies, which contain a bunch of CDs and records. These are a welcome distraction from the last 48 hours or so, and I work my way through them. The second one stops me in my tracks. It is Echo and Bunnymen – ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’.
And I think I’ll stop there for a minute or two.
I’m back…This song is wonderful, and if the situation that had been even slightly different I think I would have happier memories of it, but I remember sitting in my lounge in London, my hand shaking as I held that CD. Just looking at the title. Then I played it, and believe me that took a stiff drink, a cushion and hastily grabbed photo of my granddad.
My review consisted of a few words ‘This is best song Echo and the Bunnymen have ever recorded, and ever will record, buy it immediately’. Its still true to this day. Although the two below run it quite close in my opinion.
Oh and don’t forget the chance to win some socks or something else from the back of my cupboard