S y d n e y T r a d s

Weblog of the Sydney Traditionalist Forum

Thinking Right About Pop Culture: Mark Topham and Karl Twigg – Pray

What follows are programme notes for the “Conservative Song” segment of Radio Carpe Diem compiled by Dominik Giemza. The notes were produced for a broadcast of Monday, 9 August 2010, and form the basis of a live on-air discussion about conservative and traditionalist themes that can be inferred from items of popular music. Radio Carpe Diem is Australia’s only paleoconservative and traditionalist radio programme and can be accessed online or free to air at 88.9FM at 8:00pm to 10:00pm Mondays (Sydney, Australia). Readers’ comments are welcome here at SydneyTrads. Listeners are encouraged to tune in and engage in the discussion.

Finding God on the Dance Floor

tina-cousins-prayIntroduction

That muscle bound moppet Pink, may have once sung that “God is a DJ and life is a dance floor” but for a true conservative God is more than a metaphor, he is part of our existential consciousness being the vehicle for conveying hopes, ideas and a cultural inheritance between the generations. Thankfully even in the world of tinny dance music there is some room for reverence of this essential idea and I think it is well expressed in tonight’s conservative song “Pray” by Tina Cousins.

Background

Tina Cousins was born 20 April 1974, Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, England and started her career as a model, gravitating to a top 40 pop star (as many pulchritudinally gifted females have tended to do in the post-MTV generation). It thus comes as no surprise that her producer was that svengali of pop (and uber railway fanatic) Mr Pete Waterman.

The song was first recorded in 1998 (although it also come out on her 2000 album Killing Time) and was written in the UK by Mark Topham and Karl Twigg. Although the song was first released in the UK and was eventually in the top 20 in 1998-99 around the world it was at its most successful in Australia, reaching a highest chart position of number 8 in 2000.

Ms Cousins did not write most of her songs however it is interesting that over the years she has produces a number of releases with biblical allusions including such as “Mysterious Times”, “Angel” and “Hymn” (a cover of the Ultravox classic).

Notes for the Discussion

Dance songs are supposed to be uplifting when it comes to tempo but this one starts with very uplifting lyrics:

What a miracle is life,
The fields are high and fruit is ripe.

There is something quite refreshing about starting off with a positive tone. But this is not a hedonistic tone like most dance music as the chorus signifies not doing something just for oneself but through prayer doing things for others including (dare I say, saving the souls of others):

Pray for good and pray for love,
Pray for peace and pray it’s enough,
Pray for salvation, pray that we’re right.

And the best bit:

Pray for them and pray for us,
Pray for one day we can all live as one,
Pray for the children whose time is to come,
Just pray they forgive us for the stupid things we’ve done
.

This I think not only signifies Christian love for all, including “them” that are not Christians but also love across the generations, keeping our thoughts for future generations. Cynics may try to argue there is some pinko greenie message in here, but so what? Leaving a legacy for future generations is not incompatible with conservative thought particularly when the fetid stench of revolution is absent from the means of achieving this. Here our Christian culture is being used to protect that legacy.

And forgiveness for “the stupid things” is an eminently sensible and conservative thing to ask in prayer. The audience of this song are young people, they are emotional, silly impulsive and unwise. Isn’t it really asking such youth to consider that they are the seed of the generation that follows them and that one day (these days sooner rather than later) they will have children and they as parents will be the vessels that will pass on the miracle of life and its meaning. Could this also be a subliminal anti-drugs message?

Just in case you think we are drifting into the PC here note the second verse:

Each day a golden praise is sung,
To the wonder of man,
Yeah, to the wonder of man,
And when we look why can’t we see,
All the riches that are free,
Oh, we don’t understand.

Is this not a reference to the wonder of God’s creation? Can we get over the reference to “man”? Aren’t the free riches that we see not only human love but the love of God for us? Well the last lines go on: “And if you don’t ask questions, you won’t know why / So say a prayer for the dying while there’s still time.”

This is about finding God before it is too late. Perhaps before you do something stupid or before you realise what life is all about, a realisation that may only come when youth is lost or perhaps when you meet your maker. We are all dying; our time on this earth is limited so we should not squander it.

Lyrics

What a miracle is life,
The fields are high and fruit is ripe,
So hold out your hands,
Yeah,hold out your hands,
And youre the same as me,
You breathe the air I breathe,
And we don’t understand,
Yeah,we don’t understand.

And if you don’t ask questions,you won’t know why,
So say a prayer for the dying while there’s still time.

(CHORUS)

Pray for good and pray for love,
Pray for peace and pray it’s enough,
Pray for salvation,pray that we’re right,
Pray for one day we open our eyes, and
Pray for them and pray for us,
Pray for one day we can all live as one,
Pray for the children whose time is to come,
Just pray they forgive us for the stupid things we’ve done.

We all see the same sun,
Each day a golden praise is sung,
To the wonder of man,
Yeah,to the wonder of man,
And when we look why can’t we see,
All the riches that are free,
Oh,we don’t understand,
Yeah,we don’t understand.

And if you don’t ask questions,you won’t know why,
So say a prayer for the dying while there’s still time.

(CHORUS)

– Dominik Giemza

The writer is a legal practitioner and the co-host of Carpe Diem Radio’s regular segment: the “Conservative Song” . The above notes were drafted for a live and on air debate about conservative and traditionalist themes which can be found in popular music. Listeners can access Radio Carpe Diem either on air at 2RSR 88.9FM in the greater Sydney region, each Monday between 8:00pm and 10:00pm, or streaming live via TuneIn.com. Feedback is welcome.

SydneyTrads is the internet portal and communication page of the Sydney Traditionalist Forum: an association of young professionals who form part of the Australian paleoconservative, traditionalist conservative, and independent right.
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