I’ve been going back to The Good the Bad and the Queen a lot over the last few days. A good friend of mine died over Xmas and one of my strongest memories of many great times together was going to see The Good the Bad and the Queen in 2007 at the Aylesbury Civic Centre. It was an unlikely venue for a Damon Albarn curated super-group, but it was a fantastic gig. Clare was mesmerised by Paul Simenon’s low-slung guitar-as-gun posturing. Depsite protesting to know nothing about music beyond the orchestral variety, she characteristically got straight to the core of the former Clash bassist’s being when she identified him as a “real” rock star. I only drove with Clare a few times, but on each occasion The Good the Bad and the Queen was in her car’s cd player.
The album itself is intriguing. There is some sort of London low-life theme that is apparent in the artwork and the seedy mysteriousnes of the music. Herculean, the stand-out track, cries “The medicine man is here 24/7 / You can get it fast in Armageddon / Everyone on the way to heaven / Slowly.” But everything is shadowy, including the precise meaning of most of the other lyrics. All very appropriate for dark days when meaning is hard to fathom, but solace comes from music and memories.
With love and thanks to Clare Hammacott, 24 January 1973 – 28 December 2016.