Sunday, April 8, 2018

Bee Gees – "Lonely Days" (1970)

Lonely days
Lonely nights

Loneliness is associated with a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, dementia, depression, and anxiety.  One British expert has said that loneliness is more harmful to one’s health than smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

According to a recent report, nine million British adults – some 14% of the population – are often or always lonely.  

*     *     *     *     *

The British government isn’t ignoring the U.K.’s loneliness epidemic, as this attention-getting headline from the New York Times demonstrates:

U.K. Appoints a
Minister for Loneliness

I don’t mean to split hairs, but that headline is a bit misleading.

What actually happened is that British Prime Minister Theresa May assigned the Right Honorable Tracey Crouch, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Sport and Civil Society in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, to lead a government working group that has been tasked with establishing the scale and consequences of loneliness in the U.K. and establish policies to deal with the problem.

It seems odd to me that the British government’s war on loneliness is being waged by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, whose main policy areas are arts and culture, broadcasting, gambling and horse racing, libraries, museums and galleries, sport, telecommunications, and tourism.   I would think loneliness would come under the purview of the Department of Health and Social Care, but what do I know?

*     *     *     *     *

I’m not sure why Ms. Crouch in particular was assigned to lead the British government’s efforts to beat loneliness.  Her official biography describes her as a “keen sports enthusiast” and a FA-qualified soccer coach.  That’s all well and good, but doesn’t indicate that she is qualified to deal with loneliness. 

The Right Honorable Tracey Crouch
In addition to heading up the anti-loneliness initiative, Crouch’s primary areas of responsibility include sport, gambling, horse racing, and the National Lottery.  Perhaps the Times headline should have read as follows:

U.K. Appoints a Minister for Sport, Gambling, Horse Racing, the National Lottery, and Loneliness

Ms. Crouch’s boss, the Right Honorable Matt Hancock, is also quite the sporting type.  From his biography:

He is the first [member of Parliament] in modern times to win a horse race, having raced to victory at the Newmarket July Course in August 2012.  He is an avid cricketer and plays for the Lords & Commons Cricket team.  Matthew once played the most northerly game of cricket on record, and succumbed to frostbite en route to the Pole.  He retains all his fingers.

The Right Honorable Matt Hancock
“He retains all his fingers.”  So do I – and hopefully you do as well – but does that really qualify one to oversee efforts to overcome loneliness?

*     *     *     *     *

Henry David Thoreau didn’t see loneliness as a big problem.  When it came to being alone, Thoreau couldn’t get enough: 

I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time.  To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating.  I love to be alone.  I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.

I agree with Thoreau.  I’ve got 99 problems, but loneliness ain’t one.

*     *     *     *     *

Barry Gibb claims that he wrote “Lonely Days” in ten minutes.  

Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees
The song (which was released in 1970) was the group’s biggest U.S. hit to date, climbing all the way to the #3 spot on the Billboard “Hot 100.”  

It’s a very Abbey Road-ish song.  (Side two, of course.)

Here’s “Lonely Days”:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

No comments:

Post a Comment