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Torch Song

Introduction: From an unnamed article in No1 Magazine written by Debbie Voller on 30 May 1987, sent to me by Kristie English:

Fish: "This is the heavy, romantic-drinker-type-song, y'know, 'I am the romantic writer searching for world experience and I don't care if I die young!' Torch is smoking and drinking and coughing and you can hear this 'Dr. Finlay' character going 'If you maintain this lifestyle' you won't reach 30.' Actually, the coughing noises are for real - I'd had a heavy night the night before!"


'Read some Kerouac'
Compton's Interactive Encyclopaedia says: "KEROUAC, Jack (1922-69). The writer who coined the term beat generation and became its leading spokesman was Jack Kerouac. The beat movement, a social and literary experiment, originated in the bohemian artists' colonies around San Francisco, Calif., and Greenwich Village in New York City in the late 1950s. Its adherents felt alienated from conventional society and often adopted unconventional styles of life.

"Kerouac was born Jean-Louis Kerouac in Lowell, Mass., on March 12, 1922, to French-Canadian parents. He went to school in New York City and afterward served in World War II. After the war he became a wanderer, travelling through the United States and Mexico, unwilling to hold a steady job. His first novel, 'The Town and the City', published in 1950, was fairly well received.

"Uncomfortable with conventional writing forms, Kerouac developed an unstructured, flowing, and spontaneous style that first made its appearance in 'On the Road' (1957). This book, the bible of the beat movement, deals with the frenetic travels around the country of young people who, though poor, were in love with life, love, sex, drugs, jazz, and mysticism and completely rejected the standard values of the time.

"The book drew public attention to the existence of a widespread subculture of artists, musicians, poets, and eccentrics that Kerouac had met on his travels. 'On the Road' made him the culture hero of the movement. Kerouac died in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Oct. 21, 1969."

It is 'On the Road' to which Fish is referring. The specific quote is:
"[...]the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes 'Awww!'"
'Dr Finlay'
Doctor Finlay was a fictional Scottish doctor in a TV programme of the same name in the 1960s. The doc was resurrected with a son in tow during the early 1990's but I believe that he's been retired again.

Songs with a link have explanations.

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