The song This Is a Low, on Blur’s 1994 album Parklife, took listeners on a trip around Britain’s poetically named and evocative shipping forecast zones.
“Around the Bay of Biscay, And back for tea, Hit traffic on the Dogger bank, Up the Thames to find a taxi rank,” Damon Albarn sang, inspired by a handkerchief he was given when unwell, showing a map of the different areas. He later said it was probably his favourite Blur song.
Now it’s been revealed that the front cover of the band’s first album in eight years will show a dramatic image of Gourock Outdoor Pool, with a solitary swimmer in the water and an unoccupied lifeguard’s chair. In the background, what appear to be storm clouds gather over the brooding grey waters of the Malin sea area, contrasting sharply with the bright blue of the pool. We fear The Ballad of Darren, if he is indeed the swimmer, may be a stormy one.
However, the striking image will certainly do Gourock no harm. Scotland’s beauty can be wild, even threatening, but is often inspiring for the artistically minded.