(Blackpool Half-Marathon training 2019)
Saturday 13 October 2018
I’m being pushed around the park. The wind at my heels, in my face, on my back. The dog is enjoying it though; she’s pretending to nip at it when it ruffles her ears. As we turn down a path that we taken countless times before, I see that the wind has felled a tree and the pathway has become a riot of snapped branches and colour. I use the opportunity to take a quick picture and check my step count, 8564, before mooching on.
I’m walking because other than gym based work it’s the only weight bearing activity that I can do without aggravating my hamstring. Really I want to be running on an afternoon like this. I take a moment to think about what I’ve not been able to do today: parkrun and then the first cross country race of the season. For the briefest of moments I allow myself a second or two to feel sorry for myself. I’ve learned that it’s healthy, at least for me, not to fight away such moments of despondency. These days I acknowledge them for what they are, just thoughts. And then I let them drift off into the mental ether and normal service can be resumed. So I luxuriate in a self pitying ten seconds before looking across to see my Jack Russell bounding up a hill with a look of sheer delight spread over her face. It makes me smile. And on I go. Just me, the dog, and the wind.
The first half of the Pet Shop Boys’ sublimely beautiful 1990 album Behaviour closes with the track ‘Only The Wind’. The lyric discusses the aftermath of the wind rampaging through a neighbourhood replete with the sort of characters who ‘don’t lie anymore’; the whole song, at least to my ears, is a metaphor for the emotional devastation that is visited upon relationships when alcoholics stop drinking. I’ve always been deeply moved by the short central refrain:
When life is calmer/I have no doubt/No angry drama/A storm blows itself out
The ambiguity of exactly to whom the angry drama belongs is what impresses me the most about the lyric. The second time round the chorus offers a note of reconciliation as the orchestral arrangement grows in strength and offers a solid aural backdrop before the persona’s final words of ‘I’m sorry’.
Here’s a 2018 remaster: