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.

Sometimes The Best Short Story Is A Song (#19)

I discovered Frank Turner in the best possible way—live at a show where I’d come to see another band. Turner took the stage and my buddy leaned over to explain 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 fav. I became a big fan of Turner’s that night too.

There isn’t anything particularly revolutionary about a punk troubadour, but Turner’s songwriting is really great. And I love his voice. In my mind, this is perfectly encapsulated in his folky ode to growing up, “Photosynthesis”. It’s snotty and sincere in all the right ways, with just enough angst to make it timeless and compelling. Sort of like Holden Caulfield singing The Clash’s “The Guns Of Brixton”.

It’s a premature middle-aged call to arms from a twenty-something that already sees the writing on the wall. So when he croons that he “won’t sit down and I won’t shut up” and that he refuses to meekly shuffle “down the path of mediocrity”—well, it’s the kind of thing that just might make you finally write that novel you’ve been going on and on about.

Read the lyrics for “Photosynthesis” HERE.

Previous installments in this series:

S.W. Lauden’s short fiction has been accepted for publication by Out of the Gutter, Criminal Element, Dark Corners, Dead Guns Magazine, Akashic Books, WeirdBook, Spelk Fiction, Shotgun Honey and Crimespree Magazine. His debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, will be published by Rare Bird Books in October 2015. His novella, CROSSWISE, will be published by Down & Out Books in 2016.