Cogito, ergo sum is a Latin philosophical proposition by René Descartes usually translated into English as “I think, therefore I am”.
“I think, I think I am, therefore I am, I think/Of course you are my bright little star/I’ve miles and miles of files/Pretty files of your forefather’s fruit/And now to suit our great computer/You’re magnetic ink./I’m more than that, I know I am, at least, I think I must be./There you go man, keep as cool as you can/Face piles and piles of trials with smiles/It riles them to believe that you perceive the web they weave and keep on thinking free.”
Now look. This is not a pretentious record. I know Graeme Edge’s magnificent rumination of the implications for civilisation as we know it as spoken in “In The Beginning” might lead you to think otherwise but, seriously, this is not a pretentious record.
Long hot Summer days in 1969. The six week Summer holidays with no cares, no homework, no chores, just Kent matches to watch, tennis and French cricket in the park and table tennis indoors. There was one afternoon when Andrew and I played table tennis for about three hours in his house and he had a record player with an autochanger on it. We all did in 1969. The great thing was that if you left the auto-change arm of the record player up, the record kept repeating. I had bought the single “Never Comes The Day” as well as the album “On The Threshold Of A Dream”. The B side was “So Deep Within You” which was good but the A side was fantastic. It still is fantastic.
Seriously, this is not a pretentious record. There are 13 songs and, admittedly, 5 of them are a little, how shall we say, searching for the truth though personal salvation but the other 8 songs are just good melodic songs with great vocals and, maybe, a little too much mellotron. “Never Comes The Day” still bears repeated listening. It’s 4 minutes and 43 seconds long but, truth be told, it could be 2 minutes and 21.5 seconds long if you put it on repeat because there’s one verse followed by a chorus and then the same verse followed by the same chorus. It starts very quietly with an acoustic guitar and Justin Haywood’s vastly underestimated soulful voice. The rest of the group start to hum in the background as the volume increases. A mellotron starts and the singing becomes more intense. Finally an electric guitar noodles away and leads into the verse. Graeme Edge’s drumming and John Lodge’s bass kick in. The passion in the song is now to the forefront before it quickly stops and reverts back to the beginning when it all repeats (apart from changing the word “work” to “think”). If Andrew and I played table tennis for 3 hours that means, taking account of the time taken for the auto change to work, we listened to the song 36 times in a row which means we heard that verse 72 times and we also heard that chorus 72 times. Brilliant. What a fantastic way to spend a hot summer afternoon when you were 15 years old. I don’t remember the score in the table tennis. Probably, he won but you can’t have everything.
The rest of the album is good. A special mention for “Are You Sitting Comfortably”: “Take another sip my love and see what you will see/A fleet of golden galleons, on a crystal sea/Are you sitting comfortably?/Let Merlin cast his spell”. Or try “Have You Heard”: “Now you know how nice it feels/Scatter good seed in the fields/Life’s ours for the making/Eternity’s waiting, waiting”. I know, I know but these are lovely songs. Lovely flute, cello, mellotron. If you don’t like those instruments, there’s always some profound poetry: “When the white eagle of the North is flying overhead/The browns, reds and golds of autumn lie in the gutter, dead/Remember then, that summer birds with wings of fire flaying/Come to witness spring’s new hope, born of leaves decaying/As new life will come from death, love will come at leisure/Love of love, love of life and giving without measure/Gives in return a wondrous yearn of a promise almost seen/Live hand-in-hand and together we’ll stand on the threshold of a dream”
Today, I’m in need of some escapism, some flights of fancy, some transportation into an alternative universe. Thank God for The Moody Blues.