Normal History Vol. 491: The Art Of David Lester

Every Saturday, we’ll be posting a new illustration by David Lester. The Mecca Normal guitarist is visually documenting people, places and events from his band’s 34-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.

Listening to this, transcribing the lyrics (for a book of all my lyrics), I’m in awe of Peter Jefferies’ drums and David Lester’s guitar.

The song is about community borne out of necessity, working together unexpectedly on projects of great magnitude and staggering importance. Individuals organizing themselves, like ants in convoluted mazes, breathing in the dark. A unified force against tyranny.

I sometimes wish I hadn’t opted for ambiguity at the height of our powers, but …. one thing about a poetic sensibility is that it makes it easy to re-frame the meaning at a later date. Like today for instance.

The song even references “listening to another world’s future” in which we say as loud and clear as ever: Unity Defeats Tyrants

Breathing In The Dark
Have you ever tried to dig straight through
to the other side of the world
lost before I knew it
passing the ones who stopped at the oddest times
others stopped halfway

Listening to another world’s future
breathing in the dark

Who is behind you
on the way?

Who is behind you
on the way?

Translators aren’t sure they understand this language
listening to another world’s future
breathing in the dark

Who is behind you
on the way?

Breathing in the dark

“Breathing In The Dark” from The Eagle And The Poodle (Matador, 1996) (download):