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Welcome to the official Distractions website. We will be aiming to record the history of one of the greatest, but least heralded, of all Manchester beat groups.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Still Looking For A Ghost

Looking For A Ghost is my favourite song on Nobody's Perfect. As with so many of my favourite songs, it incorporates elements of both the sublime and the ridiculous. You can pretty much work out the lyric from the title: "People wonder why I smile the way I do/They think I should be sad now you're not around/People wonder why it is I don't miss you/Perhaps they don't know what I've found" it begins. Mike Finney delivers his finest, subtlest vocal performance and, to his enormous credit he does so to the most over-the-top, preposterous backing vocals ever laid to tape (more on our sister blog here!). But underneath the wondrous bombast there's also pathos... Well, OK, there's also bathos. It is truly wonderful.
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Fast-forward 15 years and The Distractions brief reformation led to the recording of another stone-cold, 24-carat classic ballad, Black Velvet. An astonishing vocal performance again from Finney, in what he himself describes as the logical extension to Looking For A Ghost. You can hear Black Velvet here. The lyric to the newer song is no-less heartbreaking than Ghost's, and delivered over delicately picked strings, in my opinion, is more so. Fast-forward another 15 years...


Looking For A Ghost

People wonder why I smile the way I do,
They think I should be sad now you're not around,
People wonder why it is I don't miss you,
Perhaps they don't know what I've found.

I can live without reality's rewards,
My dreams were always much more real.
I tell myself you never left; I'm an easy man to fool,
And I'm too numb to know just how to feel.

So if you see me hanging 'round in places,
That we always used to go,
Maybe it's just because I'm looking,
For a ghost I used to know.

I never understood what's inside the real you,
All I ever did was make you sad,
So your replacement is now floating by my side,
Unable to feel good or bad.

(chorus)

My only lover lives encased inside my head,
No one can ever take her away,
Her ghost now belongs to me, and if she ever knew,
I wonder what the real thing would say.

(chorus)
- Steve Perrin, 1980

Black Velvet

Once on this street I took her arm,
To stop her stumbling in the rain,
Now someone else will take her arm,
I'll never see her here again.

But the houses round here bring back memories,
As the lonely child sang up above,
The wind whispers that it will take me,
Take me back to her black velvet love,
Take me back to her black velvet love.

Here by the fence I held her close,
So close I felt we were the same,
Now someone else will hold her close,
But I can feel her here again.

When I walk down the streets that we haunted,
Her lonely ghost cuts from above,
Take my hand like before as it takes me,
Takes me back to her black velvet love,
Take me back to her black velvet love.

There in the dirt I wrote her name,
An arrow through her heart and mine,
Now someone else whispers her name,
But I think of her all the time.

With this body I loved and adored her,
With this breath I swear by the stars above,
That I'll take any road that will take me,
Take me back to her black velvet love,
Take me back to her black velvet love,
Take me back to her black velvet love,
Take me back to her black velvet love.
- Steve Perrin, 1995
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"Everybody else but me hated Looking For A Ghost" - Steve Perrin [1].
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