Soho Square - Kirsty MacColl
From her 1993 album, "Titanic Days", this is the track that best expresses Kirsty MacColl's complex and
ambivalent approach to relationships, simultaneously resigned and cynical, yet innocent and full of hope.
She's arranged to meet her lover at a certain bench in Soho Square on her birthday, but he's stood her up. She knows she will forgive him and they'll keep on meeting up. She doesn't expect much from him, no "sorry's", no pity, she just wants to be happy:
"Your name froze on the winter air an empty bench in Soho Square, forgotten now I turn away, just save me for a rainy day but don't be sorry I don't want to hear it baby...."
Kirsty's bittersweet meditative mood sits perfectly between the electric folk backing music and the more regal orchestral accompaniment by the marvellously named Fiachra Trench, particularly the jaunty yet still regent strings break which evokes the historical origins of the square - built to celebrate the Restoration and originally named King Square and still the home of of a 1661 statue of Charles II. Her airy vocal shines through like ancient sunlight on a blustery spring day.
On 12th August 2001 Kirsty's fans, friends and relations, installed a memorial bench dedicated to her in the actual Soho Square.
With the hindsight of her fatal accident in 2000, the final verse has an extra poignancy which makes me wonder why they didn't dedicate the bench on 18th December, which is Kirsty's birthday. I can guess that August probably is a far more sensible time to have an outdoor commemoration event, and also to actually install a park bench but I wish they had. If you do something based on poetry or music, you have to go the whole way.
If lockdown is over by next December, I'll definitely make the effort to get there for a contemplative moment and to ponder the way things turn out. 12 noon. Maybe I'll see you there.
"One day you'll be waving there no empty bench in Soho Square no I don't know the reason why I'll love you till the day I die but one day you'll be waiting there come summertime in Soho Square and I'll be painting stars up in the sky before I get too old to cry before my birthday I hope I see those pigeons fly before my birthday in Soho Square on my birthday."