Nothing Arrived

disappointed girl

“What would you like for your birthday, Poppy?”, they asked. I knew immediately what I wanted. “A puppy like Jane’s”, I said, excitedly. Mummy smiled sadly at me and said that she didn’t think that would be possible. But she turned to Daddy and he said we’d have to see. He had said that when Charlie wanted a bike for Christmas and he got what he wanted, so I just thought they were keeping it as a surprise.

When my birthday came I got lots of cards and presents but the one I wanted most of all wasn’t there. “I expect it’s coming by Special Delivery”, said Daddy, “you’ll just have to be patient”. So I waited. And waited. But nothing arrived.

Villagers have another angle on the theme of disappointment. Their song, Nothing Arrived, is more about the constant stream of life’s little (and not so little) let-downs. Do you ever have the feeling that there’s a lovely crunchy carrot just in front of your nose but, every time you step forward to chew it, it recedes one pace at a time? If you know that feeling,  you’ll understand.

There doesn’t seem to be much information about Villagers on the ‘Net. Wikipedia describes them as an indie folk band from Dublin, Ireland, although there’s nothing particularly Irish in their sound and the ‘folk’ tag sits uneasily with Crotchety Man; I prefer to think of them as an indie rock band, albeit on the verges of pop.

There’s no doubt, though, that Villagers is built around the songwriting talents of Conor O’Brien, who formed the band in 2008. They have released five albums to date, the first three all winning awards: Ivor Novellos for the first (Becoming a Jackal, 2010) and third (Darling Arithmetic, 2016), and the Choice Music Prize for the second ({Awayland}, 2013).

Conor O'Brien

Nothing Arrived is from {Awayland} and it’s an exceptionally fine example of a simple song with an irresistible hook and intelligent, evocative lyrics. There’s something deeply insightful in the key lines, if only you can put your finger on it:

I waited for Something and Something died
So I waited for Nothing and Nothing arrived

Those words caused the Crotchety Brain to flounder. Did something called Nothing arrive? Or have there been no arrivals? And why is that important? It’s a simple refrain that really sets the mental cogs a-whirring. And oiling the wheels of that internal calculating machine is Connor O’Brien’s delicate voice layered over soft indie sounds that ebb and flow soothingly across the airwaves.

Crotchety Man’s internal Analytical Engine listened three times searching for a meaning. When the track finished and the cogs stopped whirring for the last time the readout contained just one word: ‘disappointment’. It’s the disappointment of a little girl who didn’t get the birthday present she wanted. Or the carrot that remained out of reach. Or, perhaps, as one wag had it:

Here I sit, broken hearted.
Trousers down … and only farted.

Graffito on a toilet door.

Now there’s a definition of disappointment if ever I saw one.

2 thoughts on “Nothing Arrived

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