Sustainable Song: (Nothing but) Flowers

This week's Sustainable Song is (Nothing but) Flowers chosen by our Environmental Sustainability Director, Paula Owen. Here's why:

When first asked to thinking of a sustainable song that means something to me my first thought was 'Big Yellow Taxi' by Joni Mitchell. So imagine my dismay when I looked at the existing playlist and seen that Alison had already nabbed that one for her own!

So, I had to think again, but it didn't take long to come up with my next choice, '(Nothing But) Flowers' by the Talking Heads.

The song is taken from the bands final album 'Naked' but what I hadn't realised, until I started researching it for this blog post, is that the wonderful, greatly lamented Kirsty McColl was on backing vocals and Jonny Marr made an appearance on the track too!

When thinking about what to write, it slowly occurred to me that it is very much connected to Joni Mitchell's earlier masterpiece, in fact it brings 'Big Yellow Taxi' full circle, talking of a reversion back to a simpler time, where the parking lots and shopping malls have become overgrown once more:

“There was a shopping mall

Now it's all covered with flowers

Once there were parking lots

Now it's a peaceful oasis"

I also love the image of a Pizzaland being covered with daisies.

The reasons for this move back to a simpler, technology free existence are unclear however, the protagonist seems rather conflicted as to whether or not this brave new world is something he can actually cope with. Whilst embracing this new simpler, hunter gatherer lifestyle, he also misses some of the conveniences that modern life offered. Paradise is all very well but you still need to keep the grass under control.

And within these lyrics lies the conflict in most of us who try to live and work in an environmentally friendly and sustainable manner. Whatever age we are, we all tend to hanker after the 'good ol' days' where life seems more carefree. Less consumption, pollution and where children could play on the streets without fear. We rail against the excesses of conspicuous consumption and our throwaway society, but I wonder how many of us could actually 'hack it' in a world described by the song lyrics? I wonder if our smart phones, tablets and other tech age gadgets are the equivalent of his need for a lawnmower?

“Don't leave me stranded here

I can't get used to this lifestyle"

Here are the lyrics:

Here we stand

Like an Adam and an Eve


The Garden of Eden

Two fools in love

Sustaining Creativity