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30 Songs in 30 Days – Day Twenty-Eight – When Katy Hansen Died

October 19, 2014

When Katy Hansen Died got its’ start in life in my bedroom in a shared house in Burnage upon my return from a day studying at Manchester Poly, (you could put “a day” and “studying” in inverted commas). At the time, the song railed against Thatcher, Big Style, lambasting her for her tunnel-vision monetarist policies that undermined community while selling off British business to the highest bidder. And while I still stand by those sentiments, it made for a lousy song. Done well, political songs are moving and stirring. Done badly, they are embarrassing, and that’s what the lyric to When Katy Hansen Died was. (It wasn’t the only one I tried and screwed up. Sorry, Cause! I won’t be championing you tonight! I wish you well!)

About 12 years later, I was in the front room of a flat in Streatham, listening to my newly purchased copy of the White StripesDe Stijl. It’s a great album with great songs, and I was particularly struck by their version of Son House‘s Death Letter. (I didn’t know the original, Death Letter Blues, at the time. It’s magnificent!) I took the sentiment of the song, and applied it to what became When Katy Hansen Died, giving it a little twist so I wasn’t just hacking away at the same ground as The Death Letter.

As far as the video goes, I have been out all day on parental duties, and only got back after dark. I had to cobble together a lighting rig of a handheld torch, a candle and a bedside lamp, which I notice has left the film pixilated. Ah well, not much I can do about it now. It was more important to get it done on time, and the sound quality is no worse than for the other videos in this series. When it comes to music, sound trumps image, any day.

Finally, an apology to anyone called Katy Hansen. I know of no one of that name.

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