The Angry Corrie 9: Sep-Oct 1992


Mountaineering Melodies No. 7: Ben

Ben, you're always running here and there,
You feel you're not wanted anywhere.
If you ever look behind
And don't like what you find
There's something you should know
You've got a place to go...

Michael Jackson: Ben, 1972

Ostensibly about a rat, we're able to exclusively reveal the androgynous, ethnically-confused one's most sugary early number is in fact a lament for the Scottish Highlands. The title gives the game away of course - although, if reissued, the more explicit modern Jackson would surely opt for 'Sgurr' or 'Stob' - even 'Bod'. Sorley MacLean insists on 'Beinn', but never mind him. The lyric itself isn't so clear, but the ben in question appears to be a not-quite-a-Munro such as the one discussed elsewhere on this very page. In bagger's terms these are quite evidently 'not wanted anywhere': in fact they're a bloody nuisance. There are also references to fellrunning - presaging Hugh Symonds? - and an unnamed bothy: 'a place to go'. Jacksonville perhaps? Other songs from Whacko's prepubescence embroider the hillwalking theme: 'Ain't no sunshine', 'We're almost there' - whilst of his later fixation with the leadsinger of the Supremes, one ought merely to ask: Diana Easter or Wester Ross? All that's missing is mention of the Disneyfreak's other favourite outdoor pursuit, rockclimbing. Perhaps he was just too young: only later would he release albums with such hinthint titles as Off the wall and Dangerous.


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