Not that I’m trying to shock anyone, but some of you may be a bit surprised by this post anyway.
A song I know from my days in England played on my Pandora station today. I couldn’t remember if I had ever seen a video for it and wanted to check it out. The song is “Small Town Boy” by Bronski Beat. The three members of the group were openly gay and the song, as well as the video, conveys that sense. But until now, I had never really paid attention to the lyrics except for “run away, turn away, run away, turn away, run away…”, a chorus you can’t escape. The video drove me to consider something but I’ll come to that in a minute.
As I looked up the lyrics, I could see that this was a song that actually had a strong tie between the lyrics and the video. It wasn’t just one of those videos like they did for “Come on Eileen” which seems fun, peppy, and very public that masks the more private, seductive nature of the lyrics. No, this was right out there with a message of wanting love and understanding:
“Mother will never understand why you had to leave, but the answers you seek will never be found at home. The love that you need will never be found at home.”
“Pushed around and kicked around, always a lonely boy. You were the one that they’d talk about around town as they put you down.”
I can’t say that I fully understand what Jimmy Somerville, Larry Steinbachek, or Jonathan Hellyer had to endure as they were growing up, but the reexamination of this video and song have challenged me to think again about the universal need humans have for love, acceptance, and understanding. And even if we can’t understand, to at least love and accept. And if we can’t love, at least accept. That’s really not too much for anyone to ask for, whether gay, straight, Black, White, tall, short, old, young, fat, skinny—or any other flavor that we happen to be.
It’s too bad that some have to “run away” to find that love, acceptance, and understanding.
Shocked? Well, life happens. Who knows, maybe by the time I die I will be a better person and will have made a positive impact in someone’s life. That would be nice.