Caught by the River

Jeb's Jukebox

Jeb Loy Nichols | 3rd August 2015

18. the devil gives me eeverything

The Devil Gives Me Everything
Willie West and The High Society Brothers
Timmion, 2009

There is, around these parts, these hills and highlands, a great lessening and depletion of field birds. Pheasants and such like. A sixty per cent drop over the past ten years.

Wave bye-bye to the Red Legged Partridge. Also the Curlew. Also the Meadow Pipit. Also the Green Plover. (Called a Lapwing or Peewit by my neighbours.) Also the Hedge Sparrow.

There is also, around these parts, an ever decreasing human population. Human presence, however, has never been more evident. Everywhere you look you see the signs: domesticated farm animals, pesticides, the introduction of non-native trees and plants, the draining of marsh lands, intensive farming, the destruction of natural habitats, the prettifying of open spaces.

Roads too and miles of barb wire fencing. The roar of quad bikes. Also quarries and vast, ugly, metal barns. If you’ve never heard the song of the Linnet, chances are you never will.

Instead of the Linnet I’m listening to Willie West. It has the same haunted beauty. The same end of day quality. The same warning and elegance.

As Kurt Vonnegut said: After all that men have done to every defenceless thing on this planet, it is time that not just every painting, but every piece of music, every statue, every play, every poem and book a man creates should say only this: We are much too horrible for this nice place. We give up. We quit. The end!

Jeb Loy Nichols.
Jeb’s Jukebox archive.

Jeb’s bringing the Jukebox to the Good Life Experience on Saturday 19 September. Come along and have a dance.