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Dr Niamh On The Plum Tree

Which shall we choose? Young/old, simple/complex, popular/or great bards?

By Ampat Koshy


In the humorous film ‘Music and Lyrics’ (2007), a discussion comes up between Hugh Grant (Alex, former pop music idol, now middle aged) and Drew Barrymore (young Sophie Fisher, once upon a time aspiring writer forced to turn lyricist by Alex) about the importance of a (song) lyric in comparison with a supposedly literary novel. Alex points out that lines like Smokey Robinson’s “I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day/When it’s cold outside I’ve got the month of May” in ‘My Girl’ leave more of a long lasting impact on the minds of people all over the world, and that too for generations to come, than many difficult literary works like ‘Finnegan’s Wake’ by James Joyce. The deduction is worth thinking of: While popular need not be great, popular when simple, deep and profound has reach and greatness…

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