Written and scheduled for publication before the USA election results are known.  Just seemed to be appropriate, no matter the outcome.

This man is at the door of Hell…somehow it seems to be his destination after a life of subtle stubbornness. He doesn’t expect to find himself waking up out of a dream…he doesn’t expect to pinch himself and wake up and that kind of thing…in fact, the thought of that happening makes him smile. He’s just mildly surprised to find himself there at the door of Hell.

To all accounts, the kindly old man who is the doorman (and who conceivably reminds him of his father) is sat reading a book…but he gets up smartly and without time for either of them to feel that they’re standing on ceremony says, “Hold my book for a minute, would you, while I get the door open!” (Presumably, you know, you need two hands to open the door.) For some reason, the old man doesn’t just put his book down on the chair.

It all happens quite quickly…he finds that he’s made a decision and is already holding the old man’s book…as just about anybody else would have, But it seems a bit curious because…in however small a way you like to consider it…it is as if he’s helping himself enter Hell…the path of least resistance. Of course, at the same time he suddenly thinks..Even as he finally grips the book…”This is my chance for a reprieve…the final test…the straw which will tip the good deeds over the bad.”

Next thing he knows, they have exchanged opinions on the book and he has handed it back to the old man and is being shown into Hell.

mp3: Magazine – The Book

A spoken number that was originally released in March 1980 as the b-side of Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin), which itself was Magazine’s excellent, new-wave take on a Sly & The Family Stone number, which itself has an opening line referencing the Devil.

Oh, why not???

mp3: Magazine – Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)



5 thoughts on “SOME SONGS ARE GREAT SHORT STORIES (Chapter 40)

  1. Wonderful! Always thought Books reminded me of early Human League, or a very good attempt at it. But the story/metaphor is timeless as much as it’s timely. Now back to throwing soft objects at my TV as I maintain vigil…

  2. I love The Book. I didn’t actually hear it until I got the Maybe It’s Right To Be Nervous Now box set, twenty years ago (!), and itself twenty years after it’s original B-side release. I like Echorich’s comparison with Human League.

    As for Thank You, I think I prefer it to the original, which is saying something. Again, the box set is a real treasure as it offered up the Peel session version as well as a brilliant live version. A testament to a good cover version as when I first heard The Correct Use Of Soap, I didn’t realise it was someone else’s song as it sounded so Magazine…

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