Third from the Left on the Shelf…


   Ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space   BP

1 tablet 70 min

All I want in life’s a little bit of love

to take the pain away,

getting strong today – a giant step each day.

Much like the brain’s response to any psychotropic drug, the psychological effects of listening to any Spiritualized album are mood and sobriety dependent. Everyone – including anyone whose natural state of being is perpetual stone-cold-soberness – should try this album, Ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space, at least once in their lifetime.


With or without hallucinogens, and I’m really not advocating illicit drug use, a point is reached during sonic exposure at which there really is no other choice but to lay supine, turn up the volume and just let the music happen to you.

But only if you’re in your happy, senses-fully-open-and-expectant place.

Do not mix this album with depression.

The trouble with advice of this nature – and trigger warnings generally – is that it functions, somewhat perversely, as a strange attractant to certain types of personality, particularly the lost, vulnerable and those seeking validation for “love in the middle of the afternoon” with oneself a spike and an arm and a spoon. Is the poet (and these songs are certainly poetry melodicized) burdened then, by default, with the moral responsibility of a listener’s mental contentment and emotional ease? Dr Johnson seemed to think so. He is quoted as saying:

…the only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life or better to endure it.

Is it? Don’t the best writers write for themselves? Camus wrote:

There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide.

In The Myth of Sisyphus he attempted to establish the futility of suicide. It is my own opinion that he failed, quite spectacularly, in this endeavour, however noble his intentions, and anyone genuinely seeking life affirmation would be well advised to look elsewhere. It is a book best reserved for critical analysis – and only from the relative safety of your happy place. Sartre illustrated beautifully the point that in seeking advice, we already know the kind that is likely to be given by several sources and therefore ask for that which we anticipate aligns most closely with, and legitimizes our own beliefs.

From whichever partial slant you slide in and out of J Spaceman’s introspective excursion, you might want to hold onto something bolted down in readiness for track #8, The Individual, assuming of course that you didn’t just wind up in a lovely loop, listening to track #3, I think I’m in Love, on repeat for hours on end. It’s not actually about love.

The title track, paraphrased from the philosophical story-telling of Jostein Gaarder, exists in an alternative form – Ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space (I can’t help falling in love) – in what is, allegedly, its original inception but which was initially vetoed by the Presley estate. The beautifully dissonant quiddity of the whole remains the same. A loose mooring in the self-delusional sea of anxiety. Third from the left on my shelf.

3rd from left C