The Swell Season – The Moon
Lions and Hyenas
When I first started the Theme Songs… series, I did so because I wanted a way to talk about some of the other things in the world that mean something to me and at the same time challenge the way I relate to music a little by trying to find something that somehow matched this other thing that was totally unrelated…and wasn’t me; and of course the musical aspect kept it relevant to what S4E has become – that being a music-focussed blog.
There are two things over in my little bio that reflect what S4E once was – “I write fairy tales“, which I have found myself referencing less and less vaguely, and the stuff that comes after “S4E began as…” I also mention that one of my obsessions is lions, which is in no way an understatement.
Before I get to that, I thought I’d just explain briefly that while it seems a little odd to me to post one of my own pieces of fiction here – at least now and under the heading ‘favourite things’ – it isn’t an ego thing. I do have brief moments when I’m proud of some of the things I’ve written, but most of the time I think it’s terrible (which is intended as a simple fact, and not a thinly veiled request for compliments – those I don’t need ). I mentioned here recently that I believe there is an inherent reciprocal quality to all art; that is, in order to receive, one must give; in order to create, you have to take. Music has always been a strong influence on me when I was writing, often enabling me to access certain things I would have otherwise struggled with. I guess what I mean is that while I predominantly write about music now, there is music in everything I have written, and to show the result of that is, for me, part of that reciprocality.
This piece of writing used to be here, which means a very select few out there who read this will have already seen it, although I have edited it a little since then. I chose this not necessarily because it’s a favourite in terms of how good I think it is – my thoughts on that waver constantly – but because writing it was the catalyst for quite a few other things, and without it, S4E wouldn’t be what it is today. Maybe it’ll help give a clearer sense of where I’m coming from with what’s here now, maybe it won’t. It’s not strictly a fairy tale either – most of those either don’t make sense out of context of the series or have inappropriate content.
I called this Lions and Hyenas for reasons other than the more obvious ones. I don’t think I should get too specific with what it’s about, but it was very much inspired by the primal relationship between those two creatures, which exists on what can only be called a battlefield. To quote a documentary I favour, ‘if animals can hate, then this is a blood-feud of hatred‘. Outside of the competition for food, lions and hyenas are savage enemies, tormenting and killing one another purely out of instictive dislike. And yet their survival is actually, in part, dependent on one another, and – in some cases – the hatred they share. At the time I wrote this, I saw that struggle, that ‘blood-feud’ relationship that is ultimately co-dependent, as a metaphor to a different, human experience – part of the internal self-savagery and destruction that can go on in a person’s thought process, and sometimes acts as a survival or coping mechanism.
The thing about lions, they’re scavengers just as much as they are predators.
The theme song was an easy choice this time, because it was the song I was listening to the most when I wrote this. It speaks about some of the same things I was trying to; which is ultimately being disassociated from something that was once a primary connection.