Tuesday, March 13, 2018


Going through a stack of recent arrivals, I found "To the Finland Station" by Edmund Wilson, and I thought the title seemed familiar... from a song lyric. A short search later, a Wikipedia page for "West End Girls" by Pet Shop Boys was open; "from Lake Geneva to the Finland Station," is the lyric I recalled. As it happens, that line, consciously or not, likely refers to the title of this book, "a study of the writing and acting of history", which refers to Lenin's WWI train route as he was returned to Russia near the start of their revolution, in 1917.

I'll leave you, dear reader, to research the above, if you wish; but, as a dealer in books, comics, magazines, and movies, I took note of the connection to pop-culture. It has been a fairly common thing for print stories to become radio shows, movies, and TV programs, moreso now than ever. The forthcoming film "Ready Player One" borrows from so much that one could barely trace all the references. My own first experience with a specifically musical referencing of the written word was Led Zeppelin's "Ramble On", sometime in the early 1970s, when I realized some lyrics were about "The Lord of the Rings".

So, I learned there was an earlier version of 1985's "West End Girls", in 1984. A bit longer, not as slick, also by Pet Shop Boys, and that the '85 re-recorded version had been named Song of the Decade ('85-'94) by the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters! Naturally, I had to hear the original, so I turned to YouTube. The version you've likely already heard is easily the better version, but the original has some charm of it's own, reminding me of other '80s synth & sampler work, like Art of Noise (a personal fave). And all of this is just so I can share the original... Ready? Click!


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