GEORGE CLEMENT - Mum Pick Me Up, I'm Scared
(single Jan 2021)

Quick bit of context, before we dive in...
Spongebob Squarepants is the star of a kiddies TV show and an all-round good egg. He’s a square-shaped slice of sponge, the sort that lives under the sea. Imagine a cartoon Weetabix wearing lederhosen pants if you can and you'll hit the nail on the noggin. Spongebob has a buddy called Patrick. Patrick's a starfish. Ok so far?
Well, about a year ago there was this meme doing the rounds involving Patrick - he's the starfish remember. In said meme, Patrick uttered the plea "mum come pick me up, I’m scared". You don't need to know the whole story but, suffice to say, he was scared and he wanted his mum to come and pick him up. Somewhat annoyingly though, this scenario never actually happened in the TV show but was a corruption of a similar situation involving our young starfish.

I'm just about to get to my point... but first, it might amaze you to know that Spongebob is one of the most memed about subjects in the entire meme-esphere. Amazingly, there are around six thousand Spongebob memes out there somewhere. Well, it amazed me anyway!
And now, here it comes... my point!
George Nikolai Clement, a young and entirely capable singer-songwriter from Bristol, that some wag once likened to Elton John, just happened to stumble across this particular Patrick meme, and a chord within him did it strike. Before Squidward, Sandy, and Plankton were able to rattle off another sea-shanty, George had squeezed out this perfect little shiner of a song all about the trials and tribulations of impending adulthood.
And it really is a gem. Thoughtful chord changes; reverb soaked guitar, tinkling piano and waves of cymbals - but above all it's the 'out-of-the-blue brilliance' demonstration of the songwriter's art that's floating my old boat. George, an enthusiastic storyteller who sits somewhere between bedroom balladeer and local circuit cavalier, recognising the meme's great potential as a 'coming of age' song has transformed a simple sentence into this beautifully psychotic plot about a paranoid tot.
It's a song about someone sorting through their latent childhood debris, their spiralling vortex of emotional demons, their dishevelled garments of memory. But, of course, all the digging's done in a charmingly frail, introverted, lo-fi, indie-pop, awkward in its own flesh, sort of way, so that it all crackles with a slow and subtle artistry.
Skittering around between vulnerability and openness the song’s got scars and cuts, marks on its skin, and a naïve grace so intimate you can touch it. A fragile profundity adds to the desperation because privately we're all outraged at being ripped from the comfortable in utero and thrown into an alien world of bizarre quirks and bathos, a world of nasty, brutish realities. Think about it, one day you're minding your own business, sitting peacefully at your school desk - then suddenly, without preface or preamble, it’s just you against the world. Oh, the whips and scorns of time. No wonder we occasionally need our Mums to come and pick us up.

'When did this city get oh so pretty and small?
It makes me miss sick days, sofa beds, Lucozade, the little comforts of my home.'
George's lyrics are delightful, full of elbow room and unexpected little images of childhood, all Beeswax and Benolin. When he sings that chorus, his natural boyish anxiety modulates into something more akin to febrile femininity, sounding something like the ground-up bones of delicate songbirds, something unique and unexpected.
I suddenly feel an irrational spasm of affection for Spongebob and all his underwater friends...

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