Short Story in A Song — “Photosynthesis”

I discovered Frank Turner in the best possible way a few years ago—live at a show where I’d come to see another band. Turner took the stage and my buddy explained that he was “the new Billy Bragg”. That was enough to get my attention since Bragg’s “Talking With The Taxman About Poetry” is an all-time favorite. Comparisons aside, I became a fan of Turner’s that night too.

One of my favorite Turner songs is the snotty and sincere “Photosynthesis.” It’s a premature middle-aged call to arms from a twenty-something that already sees the writing on the wall. Our narrator launches the bouncy shot across the bow by confessing that he’s “starting to get old” and that his “angry adolescent days are done.” It feels as if he’s waving the white flag when a plot twist unfolds in the chorus and he declares that he won’t grow up after all. By the time we hit the second chorus, our protagonist has evolved from complacent to defiant and everything is right with the world. Just imagine Holden Caulfield singing “Guns of Brixton.”

Don’t sit down. Don’t shut up. And whatever else you do, don’t grow up. Solid advice from a great musician—and it would definitely make a great short story.

Read the lyrics for Frank Turner’s “Photosynthesis” HERE.

More “Short Story in a Song” posts:

S.W. Lauden is the author of the Greg Salem punk rock P.I. series includes BAD CITIZEN CORPORATIONGRIZZLY SEASON and HANG TIME (Rare Bird Books). He is also the co-host of the Writer Types podcast. Steve lives in LA.

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