Features | Awards

The Simon Cowell Flies to Haiti Award for Meteorological Cash-In of the Year

By George Bass | 10 December 2010

(Self-released; 2010)

It doesn’t snow very often in England, but when it does it’s one of nature’s finest spectacles: cars get abandoned, cities close down, and rock salt share prices sky-rocket. All these things happened times ten on the 2nd and 3rd of December, when a sudden attack of six inches of frost brought the whole of Great Britain to a standstill. Survivors were left with some brutal choices to make: do I try and buy milk, or switch to black tea? Shall I risk public transport or lose a day’s annual leave? Fortunately, the imaginatively named but frequently overlooked folk duo (Clark/Bridgestock) chose option two, quickly scarpering into the Kent countryside with thick socks, guitar, and a Sony Cybershot. Seen here without rhythm guitarist Simon Bridgestock (who hopefully hadn’t chosen option one, and was now doing a Ranulph Fiennes up the M20), vocalist Nina Clark was quick to capitalize on the white stuff, and graced the stillness with a quickly-penned but even-quicker heart-warming single. Unlike Mr. Cowell and his January flood venture, she didn’t ask fans to text in donations. She didn’t even ask them to go online and vote for free—ironic given the quality of her voice could win X Factor through a mouthful of peanuts.

Strumming along to a simple bongo line, “Snowbound” finds Clark listing her thoughts from the morning of 02/12/2010, from first seeing white through the fringe of the curtains to venturing out hours later (and possibly slipping over). Filming herself against the wide white backdrop, she reels off a series of soft broken couplets, telling how she plans to “Build me a man with eyes of coal / Play in the snow ‘cause it’s good for the soul / Get me a ball and watch it / Roll.” Some acoustic chords and electric bass provide all the accompaniment she needs—not as complex as the billions of surrounding ice crystals, perhaps, but as warm and comforting as a pair of good woolen gloves. It’s Clark’s voice that feels warmest, though, her deep lilt as rich and rosy as Sade singing you to sleep. You won’t want to stay under the covers as she croons of her two days spent with the snowmen. Maybe that’s what happened to Bridgestock after all: death by seasonal mummification. You’ll find out once the gritters have been out.

:: Watch “Snowbound” video