This is a song/poem by Andy McCluskey of the group OMD. The title is somewhat long and appears confusing to British listeners who do not have to jump the language barrier that may exist for other English speakers. A Chemist is what the British call a pharmacy or drug store. Outside chemists in Britain there is often a small statue of a young handicapped boy clutching a box , collecting for the charity, Barnardo's . This statue is such a part of the high-street scenery that few people even see it any more. Andy McCluskey was struck by the image of this child as he viewed passers by striding past it, too wrapped up in the everyday matters of life to appreciate it’s mute plea. He expressed his feelings in a poem which grew to encompass the general theme of the subconscious guilt that we all feel for the acts of charity that we should have done, yet have somehow managed to ignore, encapsulated in the image of this child actually turning up at someone’s house to demand why he had been ignored in his moment of need.
The poem was set to music and featured in the 1996 OMD album Universal. The haunting words are set to a disturbingly upbeat composition featuring both traditional electric guitar and drums as well as eighties style analogue synth. The upbeat instrumental intro prepares the listener for a simple fun piece, it is only halfway through the track that McCluskey’s lyrics begin to hit home, forcing the listener to question exactly what the piece is about. In this the track has similarties with OMD’s earlier single Enola Gay, a hit pop single about the dropping of the Hiroshima bomb, presenting a sort of Fifth Column to popular culture.
The song was considered for single release but was passed over in favour of the angsty love song Walking on the Milky Way.