the Kinks – 1969

Can you believe that August is already here? That the end of summer is nigh around the corner? Man, time is flying by this year. Its times like these when my brain starts a ramblin’ and gets ideas of heading out and traveling somewhere in the great US of A before the good times end. I don’t know, something about this mindset I get leads me to start thinking about songs that just feel like they belong heard on the road. One song, that I always play no matter what trip I take is the Kinks’ “Victoria” off their Arthur (or The Decline and Fall of the British Empire). 

The songs off that album were written as part of a TV play based on the quasi-fictional life of an Arthur an Englishman who immigrates to Australia and pines for his older way of life back in ye ole country. Its such a biting track because for a group known for its very liberal, working man views, it takes an empathetic view on the life of this stodgy, a bit conservative, everyman. We can’t throw every old thing out of picture just because a new idea exists. Traveling somewhere sorta reinforces this importance of valuing age/maturity, a lot of what is new to us has existed for ages, just waiting to be rediscovered. We all have a bit of the old coot in us, reinforcing this feeling, thankfully. Anyway, back to the track, over a truly driving rhythm which recalls the swamp rock of Creedence Clearwater Revival, and has bits of their own Victorian dance hall style eclecticism thrown in for good measure (the soaring vocal bits and horns coming through the chorus) you’ll find yourself jamming to some of the best pro-monarchy lyrics ever written:

Long ago life was clean
Sex was bad and obscene
And the rich were so mean
Stately homes for the Lords
Croquet lawns, village greens
Victoria, Victoria

I was born, lucky me
In a land that I love
Though I am poor, I am free
When I grow I shall fight
For this land I shall die
Let her sun never set
Victoria, Victoria, Victoria, ‘toria
Victoria, Victoria, Victoria, ‘toria

a fitting tribute to the longest-ever serving ruler who help manage to conclusively turn this truly crumbling kingdom into a powerful, if just for a bit, constitutional empire. Say what you want about Victorian punk, as heard here, that can be a bit off-putting at times but at least its an ethos man, unlike most anarchic punk out there…

Listen to the Victoria through Grooveshark here.