Never a Frown

The Stranglers released the song “Golden Brown” in 1981. It was written by Hugh Cornwell. He said the song “works on two levels, it’s about heroin and also about a girl. Both provided me with pleasurable times.”

It’s one of my favorites and provides immense pleasure for my ears. I just love the melody and will happily listen to it 5x in a row. Below you’ll find the original and below that, a gothier version by Marian’s Joy. Lyrics posted as well. About a month ago I was at a dinner party and ended up sharing a joint with a few people later in the evening. We’d already been enjoying some wine. I hadn’t smoked weed in about a year and thought, “Why not.” I never made a habit out of it or bought any, but if I was with some people who were offering then sometimes I’d accept. Anyhow, this particular experience was strange and mostly unpleasant, probably because of the alcohol mixed in. I was comfortable with the people around me. The only other girl there also had a couple hits. She hadn’t smoked in about a year, either.

She and I were hit hard – after a few minutes we both had to sit down because we felt like passing out. We sunk into the couch and one of the guys turned on an art show. We spoke deeply about art and her art in particular since she was a ceramics artist. Her latest projects were these part human, part dolphin pinup statues. Two cats came over and settled onto the couch with us. It was helpful having something to pet because I was feeling quite strange, like my head was a balloon that had drifted up to the clouds and I might black out at any moment. It was then that I left my body and floated around the room, surveying my surroundings. This was the girl’s home – her and her boyfriend’s, actually. It was filled with all kinds of art and wonderful knickknacks.

Eventually I swam back to my body, and that’s when the girl sitting next to me said, “I’m going to light a candle.” I nodded appreciatively. She struck a match, but instead of lighting the candle, she looked at me, smiled, and rested her hand holding the match on her lap. I smiled back. Her skirt caught fire. We gazed at the pretty light for a little bit. One of the guys wandered over. “Ummmm,” he said, and pointed at her lap. She squealed and jumped up, grabbing a magazine and smacking her skirt until the flame died.  After all that excitement she went straight to bed and I left as well – and yes, someone else drove me home. I felt awful the next morning. That’s all, folks. Just reminiscing about drugs since I’ve been listening to “Golden Brown” a lot this week. Here it is for your enjoyment:

Golden brown texture like sun
Lays me down with my might she runs
Throughout the night
No need to fight
Never a frown with golden brown

Every time just like the last
On her ship tied to the mast
To distant lands
Takes both my hands
Never a frown with golden brown

Golden brown finer temptress
Through the ages she’s heading West
From far away
Stays for a day
Never a frown with golden brown

Never a frown
With golden brown
Never a frown
With golden brown
Never a frown
With golden brown
Never a frown
With golden brown


18 thoughts on “Never a Frown

  1. I really couldn’t tell if this was a fictional story or the real deal but it came across as real and sucked me right in on the couch watching you pet the kitty while your friend’s crotch burst into flames. I enjoyed both versions of Golden Brown. The second one put me in the ectasphere. It had that old Pink Floyd energy with a hint of Celtic rhythm. Like they used to say, “one toke over the line.” 😜

    • 100% real! 😀 The second one was actually the first time I heard “Golden Brown” and then learned it was a cover later on. Sittin’ downtown in a railway station, one toke over the line…ahh yeah that’s another good one.

  2. I think I’d like to try heroin on my deathbed – cos if I’m going to die anyway, might as well enjoy it eh? I think it was Aldus Huxley wanted to take a trip on his deathbed, I’m not sure I’d want to do that, cos it might make it all much worse!

    Well anyhow, I think drug experiences can be great fun too, but I’m sort of against it – I was looking into a film called “More” (1969) which I haven’t seen, but is on utube, all about heroin I think – also on that subject, “Performance” featuring Mick Jagger is a really good one, more about LSD or mushrooms or whatever, but I think its all about death – Mick Jagger said something about how a lot of people don’t realise, or didn’t realise “what it was all about” I think our innate fear of death, and ultimate destiny is one of our biggest inner realisations, and as such, its all about looking to fool ourselves into and out of that certainty – something like that!

    Anyhoo – I used to smoke the ganja weed like it was going out of fashion, really great for quickly building a vast and varied (and weird) social life! Ha,ha, what times! Most of them are now 6′ under, so I’m pretty sad about that, it was heroin which took them, something I’d never do, (except if I was actually already pretty much past the point of no return! God knows what made them think it was worth the experiment?? Jesus, WTF?? Why? But on the other hand, if you’re going to do it, I’m in! (I’m easily led) For the LOL’s! 😀 XX

    • Indeed, that would be the perfect time to try it. 🙂 I haven’t experienced any drugs beyond what I’ve described here, though people have told me I should try mushrooms and see what happens with my writing. My gentleman’s brother died at the end of last year from a heroine overdose. So sad, and sorry to hear about your beloved friends, too.

      I tend to become paranoid on weed so I feel it would be a terrible idea to try anything else. I’d happily smoke again if you were sitting next to me, though! You’d be a hoot.

      • Ha,ha, oh thanks! Yeah, I’d not let you down!

        I tried the mushrooms a few times, first time it was laugh ur ass off time, really really fun, I just completely lost it – hysterical! Next time, I thought I’d got an insight, that it was escape from reality or something, and that it had always been there, that it was great, and I would have to do it every year for the rest of my life now I found it! Next time, I think it was a year or so later, it all went down the wrong way! I just seemed to get stuck i some kind of dreadful hell like “shoot me now” scenario! Weird! Next day I was still feeling messed up, like there was a hole in my brain, and I couldn’t remember what I might have been thinking just before it happened, it really worried me – even smoking hash would cause flashbacks, so about that time i decided to remove myself for the world of mad drug use and just be a happier bunny!

        Thing is, I love it out in nature, going up mountains and stuff like that – walking outdoors, I live for it, I don’t need to be sitting indoors thinking, or even around other people too much, cos they are all aliens now who want to eat my brains! Well, just joking, but I seem to be reasonably ok – what I do miss, is I used to go up the mountains for my hols, and smoke a bit of weed, it was just the icing on the cake, which is odd, cos why when everything is so lovely, would one want more? I didn’t for many years, cos the hash was causing paranoia, and making it worse, so going to the mountains without the gear was the best way to recover, but nowadays, I’m almost as healthy mentally as I was before I took the shrooms, so it may now be ok, and I’d just feel pleasantly stimulated – you can imagine how powerful that last trip was, cos it was over 20yrs ago, my daft friend put in about 10 times the dose, I think he had some idea we could be like the infamous uber-shaman, who went and visited kundalini or whatever, without the slightest f*cking idea what was what! LOL Big mistake really, but what the hell, in for a penny, in for a pound!

        I wonder what would make your writing better? I duno, just more writing most likely! I see where that idea comes from tho, its part of life to take challenges, live life, and all that, even if its mad stuff, I do feel that everything I did was worth it, and lived and used in a useful way, I could have lived a while lot more if I’d been smarter, but I’m not! Its official, I’m a bloody idiot!! 🙂

        So sorry to hear about your partners brother, that drug is so grim. Funny how he says its “never a frown” – someone told me its like being back in the womb.

        The Stranglers have a song called Down the the Sewer, which is a lot like my last shrooms experience – also, their earlier stuff, was pretty far out, their album Black and White explored the occult side of life, it got very dark, I read their biog, in which he says they nearly lost their minds! They used to write a lot about taboo subjects. “Bring me a piece of my mummy, she was quite close to me” 😀

      • I u were to check out the Black and White album, it probably wouldn’t seem all that “occult” really the occulty songs are spread over several albums, but “Death and Night & Blood” on the B&W album deff used to freak me out, and still does a little! 😉 Xx

      • I was thinking about this thread at work today and came up with the following example: How do I know the internet is real, and that I’m not actually in a mental hospital telling a man in a white coat my story? Ha,ha, if only! 🙂 But I’m cheerful now, cos work is over, but I still thort I’d share that one, cos it was pretty smart!

      • I also remembered my mother’s 3 experiences with mushrooms. All 3 were terrifying and I thought I’d better play it safe, maybe that kind of paranoia runs in the family.
        Also your experience with the “hole in your brain” feeling sounds particularly awful.
        I’m glad you’re a happy bunny now. 🙂

        One day you’re going to go up in the mountains and pull a Rip Van Winkle, aren’t you?! Well you had your fun it sounds like but I’m curious what happened to your friend who took 10x as much.

        It wouldn’t necessarily make my writing better, it would just be a weird, interesting experiment. Expand my mind and all that jazz.

        Thank you, he will be missed. He has a young daughter and the mother still uses so I believe the child is going into foster care now.

        Haha, oh man.
        “I tell you what I’m gonna do
        Gonna make love to a water rat or two
        and breed a family
        they’ll be called the survivors
        You know why ?
        They’re gonna survive
        I’ll see you in the sewer darling
        And don’t be late”

        Thank you for sharing that one. I still need to explore them more. I listened to “Death and Night and Blood,” too. They have a real punk rock sound, quite different than Golden Brown. No wonder you seem to know a good deal about them. 🙂

        You and your wild thoughts! I’m still listening. Just sit back and go to sleep, now. That’s it. The lobotomy will be done in no time.

      • Oh yeas, we had a party all right, it went on for several years! I was so easily led back then, I moved into this shared accommodation place, and everyone there was like a total utter waster – at first I was like, “No way am I going to . . . . ” and then 6 months later . . . WTF planet is this I’m on now? I lost the plot completely!! Ha,ha, such fun tho, partying round the clock, playing pool at midday when you know full well everyone sensible was at work – that really helped to release me from the daily grind, I’d been so immersed in work and pay, it had become a senseless cycle for me. Drug dealers live the life of rock stars, my flatmates were all dealing, they thought I was just some artist freak guy who was deemed “alright” so I was along for the ride – it was a case of keep that guy happy, and we’re all ok! It really worked out great for a yr, or 2, till I got itchy about it, one moved out, and another got busted by the cops and ran off – I was friendly with the land lady, so I asked her to stop sending me head cases for flat shares – eventually I just moved out, cos I myself was going slightly mad!

        Hugh Cornwell is an amazing talent! He left the Stranglers, but they still do the rounds, as does Hugh, I’ll bet he’s a real interesting character to chat with!

        My first trip on shrooms, my mate told me none of it matters and none of it means anything, it was good advise, he was really tough, inhumanly so, it probably would catch up on him one day, but for sh!ts and giggles, he was ur man! Next time I got a bit more weird about it, and as I mentioned, the last time was like some Nightmare on Elm st experience – it went a bit “tits up” that time. My friend who brewed up that dose, we all 3 had it, we got so many that yr, I gave out loads to friends, maybe we’d mixed in some bad ones, cos everyone said they had a bad time? Anyhow, my mate brewed them on that occasion, handed me a mug and said he’d put in a few hundred, instead of the normal 20 or so each – about 20mins in, this one guy just ran off into the night, I didn’t see him again for weeks, he told me he just rang his dad and said “Come and get me, its my head!!!” The other guy, (the one who basically spiked us) just disappeared at some point, or must have said he’d gone for a walk or whatever, then later someone knocked at the door, it was some neighbours with my friend, high as a kite, he asked me if he was dead, and if I had killed him?? Foookin hell!! At least at that point I felt someone got hit harder than me!

        We went to a bar the next morning, there was a kids party on in the next room, I was sat at the bar, and the barmaid said “Someone got bad karma last night” Comments like that were freaking me out enough, but then I looked to my right and there was this little girl in a party dress, she said “You can’t come in here” and went back to the party! I was like Argghh!! I’m turning into Syd Barret! Of course she meant I couldn’t come to the kids party – but you don’t expect to be excluded by a 5yr old, in a godamn pub, not when your still trying to figure out what the barmaid meant about karma Ffs!!! I recall walking down the street after that thinking “I’m but a shadow” and going into a goth pub, and noticing some people seemed to be glowing, while others seemed very black, it was fun one minute, and meaningful, and the next confusing and scary! Weird!

        I was at college a yr or 2 later, a girl I knew from college used to drink in that pub, she was killed crossing the road there, she was right giddy, everyone seemed to be out their heads back then – I went back to that pub yrs later and the barman could hardly believe his eyes – someone from that scene who somehow was still alive! Looking back its like some horror film – some of those characters, all too large for life I guess.

        Ah yes, back to the lobotomy, just lay back Mr Fahey, your doing juuuust fine! 🙂

    • Shared accommodation place,” I can just imagine a bunch of punks living there. Or like how the guys do in that house in Fight Club. So what were you doing to make money at the time?

      Yes, I read that Hugh Cornwell left because he was bored!

      “Tits up,” now that’s a phrase I’m adding to my funny phrase bank. You’ve got some good ones. But those trips, do you think any of that resurfaces in your art nowadays? Hilarious about the little girl, too. Children can be so blunt. Ooo if you had walked in there she would have tattled on you for sure. And all that, BEFORE college! Wild thing. It sounds like you’ve been really lucky, then, and with the craziest tales to tell. ❤

      • That place was a lot like the Fight Club house! Ha,ha, bloody crazy! You never knew who you’d find sleeping on the floor when you went into the kitchen! What a laugh, it drove me mad cos no one ever emptied the bin, (trash) or paid the bills, I’d be woken at 3am by some idiot plugging in an electric guitar (of all things) – the woman downstairs, (my landlady & friend) came up and banged o the door, she just said to him “Are you taking the fucking piss??” Ha,ha, I knew I had to let her do it, cos they took no damn notice of me – they acted like I was just annoying, or bung me some free dope to keep me quite, it worked every time!

        I forget which Stranglers biog I read, I think they were pretty exhausted by the time Hugh left, also the bassist Jean-Jacques Burnel was meant to be near impossible to work with, it was said to be a main reason, he does have a reputation for craziness!

        Oh yeah, that flat tho, it was gorgeous in many ways, it was on a bend in the building, 3rd floor with 6 or 7 windows commanding great views over the river and beyond – couldn’t ask for a better place – trouble was the people who lived there! The building was dedicated to “social housing” there were about 100 flats, many occupied by people just out of jail – or just going there!! Also a lot of mentally ill peeps, and other hopeless cases, the locals round there hated us and called it “Sin City” (before the film made it popular) When I moved in I was working, but then I lost my job, actually had to give it in cos my bike died, so I couldn’t get there. My boss said why don’t I move closer, but I wasn’t willing to do that, I had personal shit to work thru, (such as why am I such a goddamn loser???)

        So anyhow, I signed on the dole, fixed my bike and sold it, did a bit of local work paid in cash (no book keeping) and basically struggled along. Its much harder to survive these days without a job, but back then it was do-able, frowned upon, but not so tough. A lot of people I was meeting hadn’t worked for yrs, and I kinda wondered why I was bothering? I got the bus to work, but they suddenly cancelled the service, I bought a bicycle, and rode that the 7 miles or so to work, but it fell apart, I’d had it with the whole thing, I just wanted to get stoned!!

        That kid freaked me out! She was like something out a horror film – I think she was probably being friendly, I never expected to be scolded by a little kid in a pub! They let anyone in there these days! I’m glad I did all that before college, it was weird going back, I was nearly 30 when I did, I should have gone when I was 16, or 18 like normal, my life would have been totally different I expect I’d have taken a more sensible path, I’m glad I didn’t, being warped has been such fun!! Ha,ha, at least I can have a good chuckle about all that stuff! 🙂

      • I’m sure you asked me someplace if I thought the drugs effected my art and I forgot to answer, so I was just thinking sometimes creative thoughts come at unusual times, such as when on the bog, or in the bath! I think I had hoped the drugs would introduce me to a whole other inner world which I had always been looking for, despite being brought up in a very Christian way, it gave me admirable stuff like interest in history and all that, but didn’t really grab me as much as the idea of something more illusive and naturally just “There” – I never really found it, just terror! Sheer Terror! (ha,ha, getting inventive again there) Nah, really, all those priests and Bishops should do LSD – perhaps those clever chaps would come up with something more than I did? I do like to go to the edge of a cavernous deep and peer over, curios! 🙂 ❤

      • Ah ha, sounds like you were the most sensible one. “Sin City,” well you have got to write a book about that place or something. Just write a memoir! Your life seems far more interesting than mine has been thus far. I’m definitely a “sensible path” kind of girl, at least for now. I hope living in that house helped you get through your personal troubles. I don’t know how old you are, but you’ve got a lot of knowledge tucked into that brain of yours and a lot of wild stories. How do friends and family describe you?

      • Yes I do remember asking that. Creative thoughts mostly come to me when I go on a walk by myself, or they come from dreams. I have a Christian upbringing as well. If they did I’d like a front row seat. “You’re entirely bonkers! But I’ll tell you a secret – all the best people are.”

  3. I’m greatly enjoying the gothic version of the song. The darker beat really fits well with the lyrics, and I do quite love songs that have double meanings. I’m glad your experience at least ended well. It’s been years since I’ve smoked weed, and I remember one time (and only one) I hit a water bong. I’d never been so high. Things felt like they were moving in slow motion. We were watching the movie Spawn, and it sounded like the effects were moving from one end of the room to the other soooo slooooowly. I was a little bit freaked out, and I believe it was the last time I smoked. I have nothing against it (I think it should be legal), but it’s not my thing (anymore).

    • I first heard the gothic version while viewing a YouTube fashion show video. They had the song playing in the background and I thought it was wonderful, but they didn’t list who it was. I scoured electronic music forums for a long time before discovering Marian’s Joy. I had first tried googling all the covers of “Golden Brown” but Marian’s Joy isn’t exactly a big thing.Glad you like it.

      I’ve “enjoyed” weed in just about every way possible, though I’ve only ever smoked about once a year or less. I used to date a hippie boy back in high school. 😀 The worst was from a vaporizer. I felt so messed up I went outside and laid in a hammock in the pouring rain for a long time. Just dazed and confused. I’d be freaked out, too if I was watching a movie and experienced those effects. I recall another time at a Halloween party when I had a couple puffs from a joint. I’m such a lightweight to begin with, and rarely smoking anything it just hits hard. So at that particular party my boyfriend said I just disappeared and he finally found me riding a tricycle on the driveway (in my dinosaur costume), all alone. I do agree with you, though. It should be legalized! It could save America’s economy.

      • I did a post a long time ago based on this article about switching songs from major to minor and vice versa. The major to minor switching makes originally upbeat songs sound more gothic, and I usually like if not prefer that version, but the opposite just sounds not right. It could be because I prefer the darker side of things, but taking a song that should be in the minor key and making it major almost feels like you’re forcing a puzzle piece into the wrong place.

        I understand being a lightweight. Even though I’m not that in terms of weight, one glass of wine and I’m done. I’m quite a cheap date lol. I have quite a few harsh opinions about how drug use/abuse is treated in this country. Other developed nations have done such a better job taking the compassionate route and it’s essentially resolved their issues. I’m hoping more people get on board with legalization soon.

      • Oo I always loved when we played songs in minor keys (in high school band). I also have a minor harmonica which I love. It’s fun to do that with normally upbeat songs, like children’s songs. Poor, sad Old McDonald! Oo and now I have an idea to rewrite the Sesame Street theme song. Could change “sunny days” to “cloudy days,” etc. and really go all out in a minor key. But yes, I didn’t think of the other way around from songs normally in minor moving to major. That would disturb me, too.

        One and done! Usually at parties I slip verrrrry slowly so people don’t keep offering me drinks through the night. I know, if we could only study and put into practice what some nations have done. The proof is right in front of us.

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