Today (9.12.2016) was my final full day here at Seawall, nestled between the town of Southwest Harbor, Maine (where I spent the first several years of my childhood) and the Bass Harbor Head Light (one of the most photographed lighthouses in Maine), on the southwestern part of popular Mount Desert Island.
I’m still on vacation for another couple of days, but I’ll miss the view of the sea from my motel room and the natural quiet and solace and peace that Seawall gives me every time I’m here. Today, I spent the entire afternoon at the Seawall picnic area reading (nearly half) of HANG THE DJ, a great new book by one of my first radio heroes (and from Central Maine too!), Duane Bruce.
I started the afternoon by sitting in the late (and still quite warm) summer sun, then the shade, and found my way back to the sun again, sitting in my lawn chair facing the sea, camera at the ready, and a large boulder (a natural part of the seawall) in front of me to stretch my legs out on.
In my last hour there, before trekking to the rest room one more time, I put my camera in the car, and started reading again when I got back to my spot. With my nose in my new book, I saw in the corner of my eye the shadow of a seagull (my favorite bird) flying over my head. It joined another seagull (perhaps a Herring Gull) who was already situated directly in front of me. Both of them took turns drinking water from a small pool in the boulder, then the darker-colored (maybe younger?) seagull started kissing the other by taking the upper and lower parts of her bill and wrapping it around the closed bill of the the other gull. And yes, all of this was happening while I was without my camera for the first time today, dammit! But, then I thought, “well, maybe I just wasn’t supposed to capture this with a camera…”
The younger gull kissing the Herring gull happened a few times, before the Herring flew off to a neighboring rock. I don’t know if she heard me or not, but I said to her, “Go on, get over there! Go get him!” And, after about a minute, she did follow him there. She tried to kiss him again, but he resisted and flew off, and she stayed on that rock even as I was driving away several minutes later. Sure, I could have taken that shot, but if the powers that be didn’t want me to take a picture of one seagull kissing another, then I’m sure the same powers that be didn’t want me to take a picture of her waiting for him to come back.
I know what you’re thinking. This would have been a great opportunity for me to have XTC’s wonderful “Seagulls Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her” (from 1984’s THE BIG EXPRESS) as my “song of the day,” and you’re right, but it’s not the song I immediately thought of as I was leaving the picnic area tonight. That song was A Flock Of Seagulls’ “Space Age Love Song.”
“Space Age Love Song” – forever my favorite song by the Liverpool, England quartet who brilliantly merged synthesizers with guitars – was the second single released from A Flock Of Seagulls’ self-titled 1982 debut album, and the follow-up to the worldwide Top 10 hit, “I Ran (So Far Away).”
It debuted on the BILLBOARD Hot 100 in mid-November 1982, and took two months to reach the Top 40. “Space Age Love Song” spent seven weeks in the Top 40 itself, including two weeks at its peak position of No. 30 surrounding Valentine’s Day 1983. Despite its chart peak, it would go on to spend 18 total weeks on the chart, one week shy of the amount of time “I Ran (So Far Away)” spent on the entire Hot 100.
Around the globe, “Space Age Love Song” was a moderate hit, also reaching the Top 40 in at least the U.K. and New Zealand. It’s been covered by The Flaming Lips, Alt-Rock band Lazlo Bane (most famous for the SCRUBS theme song), and an awesome cover in 2009 by the Chicago Punk Rock band, The Bomb (formed by Jeff Pezzati of Naked Raygun).
The lead guitarist for A Flock Of Seagulls, Paul Reynolds, thought up the name of the song, once saying he suggested “Space Age Love Song” as the title because he thought it sounded like one. So, the song title stuck. And I’m glad it did. Just as I’m glad to have witnessed (even if I didn’t get to photograph) one seagull kissing another out of love, with the moon in view.
You know, that last sentence just made me think of a future “song of the day” by A Flock Of Seagulls – “Wishing (If I Had A Photograph Of You).” Maybe the next time I’m here…