Who Won the Week (1 March 2020)

I have Fandango to thank for this title – he has been posting regularly on this subject from his west-coast-USA vantage point. I am interested in current affairs too, and normally have some nonsense or other to spout about one of the UK’s topical news stories. So, I like to join in. Maybe there’s something in your world that you’d like to post about?

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Developing new airport capacity has long been a thorny issue in the UK. After lengthy debate last time around, the Cameron governent announced that there would indeed be new capacity, somewhere, then launched an inquiry to determine where.

In 2015, the newly-elected MP for Uxbridge, the constituency in which Heathrow Airport lay, promised he would not let the project go ahead. It was a popular move among locals – with two runways already, many people felt that there was more than enough noise there already.

I will join you. I will lie down in front of those bulldozers and stop the construction of that third runway, said the fired-up MP, a chap by the name of Boris Johnson. When push came to shove, though, the government did select Heathrow for the extra capacity. Calmed down some by now, though, Mr Johnson was absent in 2018, when the crucial vote on the extra runway took place. I guess he thought that being away was his best career option – he opposed the projeect itself, but at the same time, did not wish to directly oppose his own government.

Other people were not so wishy-washy in their opposition, however, and after the decision, took the government to court. You see, half-hearted as the Paris Climate Agreement was, it was, at least, ratified in UK law, and the campaigners claimed that the government was obliged to take account of the agreement in any decision, and it had failed to do this. The court, this week, agreed with them.

The thing I found remarkable about this was the follow-on story, which broke just a few hours later. The government will not appeal the decision. Do you maybe get the sense that there might be a certain amount of relief that they lost their own case? Johnson is newly in control, after all*.

* allegedly.

Heathrow Airport, undoubtedly, will appeal the decision. After all, they just saw all that money evaporate. Their argument is simply that the business that would have been generated by an extra runway will now just go to Paris or Amsterdam instead, so the environment won’t actually win, whatever the UK’s decision.

For my money, though, something is either right or it is wrong, and we should behave accordingly. Wrong doesn’t become right, simply because our neighbour is doing it. Let’s hope the French and the Dutch agree, and also do the right thing. The environmental debate was always about the yes/no?, and not the where? So now we need other people to follow the UK’s decision.

But the biggest win here, I haven’t even mentioned yet. The biggest win is the precedent that now exists in the UK, that new infrastructure projects must be tested against our environmental obligations. If they don’t come up to scratch, then we can expect legal challenges. New roads, for example, and only a couple of weeks ago here, the government confirmed a new high-speed railway line (imaginitively called HS2) which again, will have to pass these tests.

So, I do actually have a winner this week, but unfortunately I don’t know their name. It is the poor sod who would have been tasked with clearing Johnson’s muddy, bloody, but very flat corpse from underneath that bulldozer, because … what a bastard of a job that would have been!

Song Lyric Sunday (1 March 2020) – Noise

Last week, Jim (NewEpicAuthor, A Unique Title For Me) set a theme of things to do with rheumatoid arthritis (my choice). This week, theme of noise.

When I read Jim’s prompt this week I remembered a Motown cassette (in those days) that I was given for my nineteenth christmas, must have been 1987.

In the UK,we didn’t hear Motown regularly, some UK artists performed cover versions of the Motown hits, but like a lot of the music I like, it wasn’t really mainstream. But this cassette was the real deal, and introduced me to a host of classics, including Marvin Gaye songs. I guess several of Marvin’s tunes would have charted earlier in the UK, but they would have been too early for me to remember, so several of these classic tunes were new material to me – many of his duets, for example.

But not the song I shall present today. This song dates from 1966 – the year my parents were married – and was written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, just as a song for the Motown stable. It was first recorded by The Miracles, but first released by Gladys Knight and the Pips in 1967, the year I was born. So the song was already a success before Marvin even sniffed it.

In fact, Marvin recorded his version in 1968, and it went onto his album In The Groove. Marvin’s release gained the attention of various disc jockeys, the song went mainstream, and reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Thus both the song, plus Marvin’s version, became hits, and a soul classic.

I don’t know if I ever heard the song during my own childhood – I guess I must have, but I certainly heard it when it was featured in a famous Levis 501 commercial in 1985, and its subsequently re-issued in 1986 – it again reached #8 in the UK, so it would have had lots of airplay here.

Soon as you hear the song, you’ll recognise it. Though it is the wrong side of fifty, it lives on as a classic. So much so, that in 2004 it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, and featured at #81 in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. (#1 was Bob Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone, if you’re interested.) And when Billboard compiled a chart-of-charts to commemorate their fortieth anniversary, this song came in at #65. They don’t come much bigger.

Anyway, enough waffle. I hope you enjoy y choice today. See if you can guess which song I’m talking about before you read any further.

I bet you’re wonderin’ how I knew
‘Bout your plans to make me blue
With some other guy you knew before
Between the two of us guys
You know I loved you more
It took me by surprise I must say
When I found out yesterday
Don’t you know that I heard it through the grapevine
Not much longer would you be mine
Oh I heard it through the grapevine
Oh I’m just about to lose my mind

Honey, honey yeah.
I heard it through the grapevine
Not much longer would you be mine baby

I know a man ain’t supposed to cry
But these tears I can’t hold inside
Losin’ you would end my life you see
‘Cause you mean that much to me
You could have told me yourself
That you loved someone else
Instead I heard it through the grapevine
Not much longer would you be mine
Oh, I heard it through the grapevine
And I’m just about to lose my mind

Honey, honey yeah
I heard it through the grapevine
Not much longer would you be mine, baby

People say believe half of what you see
Some and none of what you hear
But I can’t help but be confused
If it’s true please tell me dear
Do you plan to let me go
For the other guy you loved before?

Don’t you know I heard it through the grapevine
Not much longer would you be mine, baby yeah
I heard it through the grapevine
I’m just about to lose my mind
Honey, honey, yeah
I heard it through the grapevine,
Not much longer would you be mine, baby yeah

Honey, honey, yeah
I heard it through the grapevine,
Not much longer would you be mine, baby yeah yeah
I heard it through the grapevine,
Not much longer would you be mine, baby yeah yeah

Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong
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