On Every Street

There’s gotta be a record of you some place
You gotta be on somebody’s books
The lowdown – a picture of your face
Your injured looks

The sacred and profane
The pleasure and the pain
Somewhere your fingerprints remain concrete
And it’s your face I’m looking for on every street

This Dire Straits song has been playing on my laptop and in my head for a couple of days and it has a pleasingly haunting quality about it as well as some excellent guitar chords. The first lines make me think of how no-one escapes what Foucault calls the “web of power”. We’re all on somebody’s books with our concrete fingerprints and injured looks while other aspects of us might be more fleeting and changeable.

But the idea that really grabs me is the one of the singer (Mark Knopfler in this case) looking for “your face” on every street. I was reminded of this song today when one of the army chaplains was saying goodbye to a departing sickbay staff-member with a quote from Psalm 139: “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”

Now I’m not one for quoting Bible verses but I liked the way this linked up with the Dire Straits song and with the psychological idea of Transference. Basically what this idea says is that we all carry around within us images (or imprints) of our early relationships (or object relations), which we then use in relating to the world. In a strict sense of the term, it refers to feelings (both positive and negative) towards significant others (a partner, parent, colleague etc.) which become transferred onto the therapist in the course of psychotherapy. I thought Dire Straits expressed this quite poetically with “it’s your face I’m looking for on every street”.


On a personal note, I’ve been thinking about relationships recently since a very new relationship ended and another one has already begun. P and I are going to Arniston for a few days next week and we will be taking some books, wine, DVDs, Scrabble, cameras and no dog. Joschka will have to do without chasing her tail on the beach but will instead have granny (and the cat) for company instead. I will also leave the laptop behind most probably so I will sadly have to do without my daily blog-fix. But hopefully I will come back with renewed energy to post some inspiring and thoughtful ideas about whatever it is I’m reading. I want to write something about slowing down and how it is not a narrowing of options but an opening up of experience, allowing us to engage with the world in a deeper way. If that sounds a bit flaky then you should hear me after a glass or two of wine 😉


6 Responses to On Every Street

  1. Like a lot of what Dire Straits did, that’s a tune I never get tired of hearing. Never thought of interpreting it in any other way than what’s on the face of it – haunted by and looking for a lost love.

    Enjoy the blogging break. 🙂

  2. doctordi says:

    Hi there, fellow WordPresser… Thanks for your comment on DoctorDi, and of course for checking in at all. I really enjoyed Taking Pictures, actually, so I’m mildly surprised that you’re finding it a struggle. I found the stories in general very sharply observed, often amusing, and… something else, just very human, I think. In fact her frankness, that sort of breathtaking honesty in the writing, really reminds me of the Australian writer Helen Garner. I wonder if you’d agree.

    Enjoy your break, and that glass of wine or two, and I thoroughly endorse your review of Tim Winton’s latest, Breath, I thought the novel was superb. Cheers.

  3. Courtney says:

    Have a lovely holiday. I think everyone is suffering from a bit of blogging burnout but I expect it will only last a bit longer. These things ebb and flow…

  4. Pete says:

    Ian – Nice to meet you and I enjoyed checking out your blog. Not suprisingly I’ve also not read the Queen Elizabeth scam post but I enjoyed the Monty Python skit.

    Doctordi – Thanks for stopping by here too. I’m enjoying Taking Pictures a lot more now – maybe I was just in a reading funk. As you say, very sharply-observed and I like her sense of humour too (quite dry and a bit dark at times maybe).

    Courtney – Yes I think the blogosphere is suffering from collective burnout. How’s that for a wild, sweeping generalisation?! But am expecting to pick up some flow soon. Maybe the gym will help (and the holiday too).

  5. Dorothy W. says:

    Have a wonderful trip! I’ve been part of the blogging burnout, but I suspect getting busier with school will help — it’s odd but true that being busy makes it easier to get things done and gives me more energy.

  6. sadie says:

    Hello. I found you through a comment at Tales from the Reading Room. I don’t think it sounds flaky at all to want to slow down. In fact I salute you! And I agree that the choice to do so doesn’t represent “a narrowing of options but an opening up of experience, allowing us to engage with the world in a deeper way”, and I would add, in a more intense way, or as Walt Whitman put it, a “freshier” way (what a great word!). Thanks for a thoughtful post! ~sadie

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