King’s Cross

By 1999, fans of The Wedding Present knew that this Cinerama project was here to stay. Following on from debut album Va Va Voom came a slew of singles and one of them was a double-a side release of Pacific and King’s Cross. The latter was a clear signpost to how the band’s sound would change over the next few years. A cross between the easy listening, relaxed style of the first album and the passion and energy of later releases, King’s Cross was a yearning, anguished track that sounded like a big hug was required.

The chorus is sumptuous and, as Mr Gedge mentions below, eminently hummable.  The lyrics involve an affair and a train station – very Gedgian!

I understand that some people who visit this blog may not be as unfamiliar with the Cinerama tracks but I recommend this as a perfect gateway drug just as it was all those years ago.

Questions and Answers with David Gedge:

This was a double A-side single with ‘Pacific’. Any thoughts on that? You were firing songs out on a very regular basis around this time.

DLG: Both those songs were written in 1998, the year that Cinerama’s debut album Va Va Voom was released. I think, by then, that I was feeling much more confident about arranging music in the ‘Cinerama style’… I’d learnt a great deal during the recording of Va Va Voom… so I guess I just wanted to crack on and write more songs. In particular, I wanted to create a song that had the beautiful sound of a mellotron choir running all the way through it. And ‘Pacific’ heavily features mellotron strings, too…

How was this song written? Were you still writing solo at this point or did others collaborate?

DLG: No, I was still writing on my own, in the same way as I’d done on Va Va Voom and would do for much of Disco Volante, the second Cinerama album. All at my desk with a guitar, keyboard, computer, sampler and digital 8-track recorder.

It came out on a pink vinyl 7” on Elefant Records – why was that?

DLG: I was familiar with Elefant Records… it’s a very cool label from Spain… so when Luis Calvo, the founder, approached me to see if I’d be interested in having them release a Cinerama single, of course I said ‘Yes, please!’. The sleeve design and pink vinyl was the idea of their artist but it was totally in keeping with the mood of Cinerama sleeves.

Lyrically it sounds like the narrator is meeting up with a friend from a previous time who liked them more and they were back in town again and asking to stay. Is the narrator now doubting their previous decision or are they using that person?

DLG: Not really, ha, ha! It partly deals with the narrator feeling guilty that they have been ‘leading someone on’ and partly wondering if they have made the right decision in not developing what appears to be an illicit affair into a more serious relationship.

Can you explain the title? King’s Cross is the London station portal for up north (Leeds, etc.). Always find myself humming it when I’m there.

DLG: Well, it’s a hummable tune! The narrator has obviously fled from the relationship and railway stations are a powerful and romantic setting for tearful goodbyes! I lived in Leeds from the late seventies until 2003… and, as a musician, you do find yourself needing to visit London frequently… so I knew that particular station better than any!

Official Lyrics:

And when you asked me to stay, I made some excuse
When deep down I knew that all hell was breaking loose
So why was I there in the first place?
I’m not sure
I think I wanted to spend the night with you and, though you wanted more
I thought that you and me were never meant to be
Now why would I think that?

When I called home to tell her that I’d be late, you stood outside the ‘phone box
When some wouldn’t have bothered to wait
And how can I ever say sorry for leading you on?
I came into your life without asking and then suddenly I was gone

Because I thought that you and me were never meant to be
Now why would I think that?
You and me, yeah, now of course I see

And I could ponder this forever but I can’t explain
What it was that made me ever get on that train

Well I thought that you and me were never meant to be
Now why would I think that?
You and me, well, now of course I see

Written by Gedge and published by Cooking Vinyl Publishing.

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Studio Versions:

1 – Double-A side single version with Pacific [ELEFANT ER-210] recorded 1998, released 05/08/1999, and collected on compilation This Is Cinerama  [COOKING VINYL COOK CD 180] released 2000 TIME: 3:14

Recorded by David Gedge (singing. electric and acoustic guitars, keyboards, tambourine), Sally Murrell (backing vocals), Terry de Castro (bass), Richard Marcangelo (drums), Abigail Trundle (cello) and Susan Bowran (violin)

2 – Seven Wonders of the World acoustic version [SCOPITONES TONE CD 051] recorded 2009 for a KRTU – San Antonia USA radio session released 08/09/2014 TIME: 2:58

Recorded by David Gedge (guitar and singing), Terry de Castro (guitar, bass and backing vocals)

Live:

The Wedding Present played this song during their Autumn tour of 2007.

Oddity:

I couldn’t find a decent video of the song so for now here’s this:

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