A Long December – Counting Crows

From their second album Recovering The Satellites this song accompanied me through the terrible terrible Christmas of 1996.

I worked like a dog over the holiday season that year. The pub I had been working in had me for as many hours as they could but we were in trouble financially. So I took a second job in the kitchen at a big hotel and a third job unloading containers on the docks for some cash in hand. But it wasn’t enough to keep the electricity meter topped up at all times.

“A long December and there’s reason to believe maybe this year will be better than the last”

I regularly woke up alone in the winter of 1996 with a frozen over glass of water next to the bed and frost in my hair. The house was cold and dark so I stayed on the seats in the pub some nights to not waste the warmth of the heated bar. In the odd hours my friends and I weren’t working or hiding in the closed bar we’d make house calls on one another for mugs of tea and doses of optimism.

“The smell of hospitals in winter and the feeling that it’s all a lot of oysters, but no pearls, all at once you look across a crowded room to see the way that light attaches to a girl”

I recall my now departed Granny sending me a voucher in Christmas card for Marks & Spencer so I could get myself something. I got a bag of chili nachos and a huge bottle of vodka. I shared it with my housemate Loudun and we got smashed on boxing day and listened to Counting Crows. We talked about how we’d both just broken up with our girlfriends, about how much that sucked. We talked endlessly about that shit. And we talked about our plans once we graduated college and got our own careers off the ground.

“Drove up to Hillside Manor sometime after two a.m. and talked a little while about the year, I guess the winter makes you laugh a little slower, makes you talk a little lower about the things you could not show her”

And we made each other laugh (the vodka probably helped). Somehow we always made each other laugh. We were both on our arses that year but this has somehow become one of my favourite records because of that terrible dark depressing winter.

The year we lost friends to the darker side, didn’t see our families and froze our arses off in a lousy rented hose with no heating while slaving away in dead end jobs has become a fond bitter sweet kind of memory.

“It’s been so long since I’ve seen the ocean I guess I should”

3 thoughts on “A Long December – Counting Crows

  1. Great story, Steve. Back in my early life, I sewed myself a Sioux Indian tipi and set it up in a cow pasture — in Western Washington — NOT tipi weather! When it rained, water dripped through the smoke hole and down the poles. When it froze, my seven layers of covers were crusted in ice. And with my work milking cows on a nearby dairy farm, I was up every morning at 3:30 am . . . So I soon moved into a small cabin on the property with cold running water and e-l-e-c-t-r-i-c-i-t-y :)) I remember one balmy evening in the tipi listening to my transistor radio, the signal raspy and sparse, fidgeting with the angle, to the story of Lanigan and the Ants. It faded out before getting to the end, yet I still remember the mixed bag of feeling so entranced, so enraptured, then so bummed, so alone, and, in retrospect, so very, very young.

    This song certainly encapsulates all of our crusty pasts! :)) Best to you and Happy 2018! Dawn

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s