Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I hung my head

I’ve been re-listening to Johnny Cash’s American recordings this week and there’s a cover of a Sting track (from his 2002 album ‘Mercury Falling’) that strikes me as particularly relevant. On first listen it’s a murder ballad telling the story of a young man who upon taking his brother’s rifle accidently shoots a man.

The perpetrator claims he was practising his aim when the rifle went off without intent to shoot the lone rider on the prairie, similar to that of a gang of youths intent on scaring another when one accidently knifes the other and leaves one of them dead. ‘I hung my head’ is a story about shame, it’s a warning to think before you act. The protagonist didn’t want to kill anyone, his thrill was the role play of the situation. Although when playing with dangerous instruments so carelessly the situation will inevitably end in tragedy.

To me this song should be taught in schools. Don’t be foolish, don’t carry knives or guns, don’t pretend to hurt people or practise your aim, because inevitably it will end in tears, shame and a public stoning from the tabloids (modern day Gallows if you will?). Think before you act! There, rant done for the morning.

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