Music By Chris Difford, For the Return Home
I(re)discovered Chris Difford, one of the founding members of Squeeze, and a prolific songwriter while watching the A&E program “Private Sessions” while sitting, well, where else? On a cross-country flight home from a trip where I ignored my exercise program, as usual, and my sneakers, unlike me, rested peacefully in my hotel room without jet lag for four days.
On that program, he sang a song called “Fat As a Fiddle” which struck me lyrically as ingenious. How could I have not listened to these guys since the 90's? Not to mention it helped me ignore contemplating my guilt over getting no exercise on the trip, which is my normal routine on the flight home. His voice hasn’t changed much from the “Tempted (by the fruit of another)” days. Still deep, still soothing. The album is mixed with emotions, most of which are really very compatible with the denouement of a trip when you are gathering your thoughts, or wanting to be in someone else’s head for a change. His music is a journey in itself.
This rediscovery sent me back to an earlier album called South East Side Story that features Difford singing a bunch of older Squeeze tunes which he wrote, but did not serve as the lead singer. The other founding member of Squeeze, Glen Tilbrook, usually took the lead. Yet the effect of Difford recording these songs in his voice is that of a more mature sound with more emotion, more depth, and more meaning than might have been delivered via F.M. radio in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Dial up “Take Me I’m Yours” on your iPod after a long trip. It will deliver you home before the plane does. The song and the way he sings it, erases time.
Unfortunately, his music can’t erase the pounds (lbs. that is) likely put on during a trip. What is it about business travel and weight gain? If there is one common personal complaint many business travelers share, it seems to be that one. “Fat as a Fiddle” describes getting Zen about this concern. The song encapsulates the essence of fighting age, genetics and Mother Nature. Mr. Difford reminds us that it’s not a fair fight. So go down swinging, or eating, or resting…either way, just go.
Between the lack of personal time for exercise, lack of available brain space, the availability of bad food and drink, and that common thought on the road that says “oh forget it, I’ll just have some cashews from the mini-bar and go to bed”, it’s a lovely relief to hear such a refreshing perspective on the importance we place on being thin, and the drive many of us have to defy time. These things can become intensified while traveling for business most likely because the trip is usually about making others happy and taking care of others, not ourselves.
“Fat As a Fiddle” is a momentary oasis away from that internal free-flowing fire hose of emotions on a stressful trip that by the end usually includes the thought ‘once again, I packed my sneakers, and never worked-out.’ The guilt will likely come, but until it does, enjoy rising above and reaching out to the “greater part" of you in this song, and the rest of Chris Difford’s music. Your sneakers needed a nap anyway.
Relax. Have another bag of peanuts.
Both of Mr. Difford's albums may be previewed and/or downloaded to your iTunes by clicking on these links. Be sure to have your iTunes open when you click.
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