Well, 2008 has arrived. Jim and myself have parted company. The dream that was to be an endless road of partying, sunshine and fun fun fun, simply wasn’t. Being cooped up with Jim for hours on end in a Bedford Rascal, started to grate after a while. You know how it is; it’s the little things that start to get to you first. Jim’s unnerving flatulence became unbearable. I had seen his stand up routine in the internet cafes so many times; I knew it off by heart. Jim also refused to drive, saying that he was used to having a chauffeur, and that was that. So off he has gone, back to Dubai, and me, well I have gone back to Miss Marple, with my tail between my legs, and a lot of explaining to do.
It seems Miss Marple’s brief dalliance with the coroner who faked my death certificate came to nothing. She was found innocent of any wrong doing, and he copped the lot. The Funeral director, who assisted the plot by ‘finding’ a body, and arranging the ‘funeral’, hasn’t been seen since my discovery on Yarmouth beach. It’s rumored that he has set up shop in the Caribbean, but nobody knows for sure. So, all back to normal then. Nothing much has changed at home. Ronnie and Reggie are still chewing stuff, the cats are still sleeping, and Miss Marple is still raising her eyebrows!
So, to today’s topic, music. I can’t remember if I have mentioned in previous ‘lectures’, that I am something of a musician. Yes I can string a few chords together on the old geeeeetar, and croak my way through a tune, but my main instrument is the piano. Up until a couple of years ago, I had played in bands on and off for about twenty years, but just recently, my love affair with music seems to have hit the skids. I don’t know why really, but perhaps the ever growing cynicism within me, has started to see that most stuff in the music biz, is just as much a load of bollocks, as just about everything else in life. Whilst driving around Norfolk in the Rascal, I had plenty of time to listen to the radio. Jim did his best to dampen this experience with his snoring, but never the less, I listened to a lot of stuff. Music really is a double edged sword. It can be the most beautiful, uplifting, sad, inspiring thing that one has ever experienced, but on the other hand, there is one hell of a lot of shit out there, and it’s the shit that I want to talk about today.
Where to start. Lyrics. Yes musicians want to portray their inner most thoughts to a waiting world. They want to get their message across, tell everybody about it. So why is it then, that they seem to forget how to use the English language? "Girl", this is a word that is used time and time again in songs, normally slushy sentimental ones, sung over a soulful slowish backing. But has any man ever called the apple of his eye, "Girl"? I bloody doubt it if he knows what’s good for him. Shouting out across a packed pub, "Hey GIRL, what are you drinking?" yes, that’s going to go down well isn’t it? Probably find yourself back on the old one pound fifty a minute lines, phoning middle aged women, who are doing the ironing, whilst assuring you that they are eighteen and busty, quicker than they might have thought! As we were passing through Fakenham the other day in the Rascal, there was a song on the radio, that actually had the line in it……."When we kiss, it makes me weep"! Oh come on dear, get a grip. Yes, you’ve guessed it; it was a soulful slushy one, with a girl singing. One of those girls that find it very difficult to just stick to the actual tune. You know the ones. Their voice is wobbling about, up and down all over the bloody place. The worst exponent of this is that bloody Mariah Carey. What the hell is she doing? Just sing the bloody tune woman. I once heard it said, that Mariah Carey has a seven octave range. Yes she might have, but five of them resemble whale noises, rather than human vocalization. If I buy a cd, (Listen to me, how old am I? Buy a cd, you should be downloading them for nuffing off the internet geezer. Come on grandad)! If I acquire some music, that consists of a human being singing, I want it to be comprehendible, and bloody audible! Not Twelve tracks by Orca the fucking whale!. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, this song with the line "When we kiss, it makes me weep". Now don’t get me wrong, I like a bit of spit swapping as much as the next man, but I can honestly say, that I have never burst into spontaneous weeping before, during, or after a session of osculation. Do you think you might be exaggerating a bit love?
You see, that’s the trouble with songwriters and such the like, they fall into the same inevitable trap that all other ‘artistes’ stumble into. They end up being pretentious wankers! This brings me nicely onto probably the King of pretentious wankers…….Sting. Christ, (To avoid spiritual imbalance, please insert your relevant God/deity/prophet here. Thank you) even the man’s name is bloody pretentious. "Sting", his proper name is Gordon, what’s wrong with that? I suppose it doesn’t sound rock and roll enough. Should a man who must be approaching sixty, really be having such a tossy name? I wonder if he gets called that at the dentist? "Sting, we are ready for you now". "Excuse me", I can hear him saying, "don’t you know who I am? Mr Sting if you don’t mind". Unfortunately, there is a worse one. Yes, one that even out tosses that tosser Sting……."The edge", for fucks sake. The more benevolent people amongst us, might try to convince me that this was a moniker he awarded himself, when he was but a callow youth. At seventeen, we do these ‘crazy’ things, they would say. . . . . . .er, no. It was wanky then, and it is wanky now. I wonder if he is just ‘The edge’ when he is in Dixons, trying to secure himself some six months interest free credit, for the large LCD telly that is wedged under his arm? I can imagine the sales assistant; pen in hand, reams of forms to be filled in.
"Right then sir, if we could start with your full name please"
"Er…….Is that Mr?"
"Is that Mr Edge?"
"No, Just the edge"
"Ah, you see, I have to put a name in the Christian name box, and another in the surname box, sorry it’s just company policy"
"Well put ‘The’ in one box, and ‘Edge’ in the other.
Even better, a day in court. "Council for the prosecution calls ‘The edge’ to the stand", it’s ludicrous.
I can just imagine an octogenarian judge peering at him over his glasses, bemused.
"The Edge, what do you mean, the edge? On the edge of what? What is your name laddie, your name?
The clerk of the court leans over the bench and politely whispers to the judge, "No your honour, ‘The edge’, that is his name. He is a musician.
"A Musician you say, what’s he here for then, been caught bumming on Hampstead heath I suppose".
While on the subject of ‘The Edge’ it brings me nicely to U2, which then subsequently segways me beautifully to Bono. This then brings me to my pet hate when it comes to music. Music and politics. Just don’t please. When I listen to some music, I most definitely do not want to be lectured or bullied. I don’t want anyone to try and prick my conscience, and most of all, I don’t want some pretentious git of a pop star, trying to tell me how I should be running my affairs. There is not a lot worse in this world as far as I am concerned, than fucking sting, or bloody bono, preaching to me about rain forests, or starving Africans. We all know it’s going on, and we all think it’s terrible, some of us may even try to do our bit to help, but I certainly don’t want you lecturing me about it. But they just can’t help themselves can they. There’s little Phil Collins, telling us all that we "better think twice, cause it’s another day for you and me in paradise". Is it really Phil, thing is, some peoples paradise is a lot better than other peoples isn’t it, Phil? Yes Phil’s contribution to the cessation of the plight of the homeless. Thanks.
Not only do they lecture us as individuals, once in a while, they will all band together, and lecture us on mass. ‘Live Aid’, ‘Earth Aid’, Get rid of AIDS Aid’ the list goes on. How grateful we should all be, that once in a blue moon, pop stars, celebrities, and their general hangers on, will be flown to a private air field, chauffeur driven to a large venue, snort copious amounts of free cocaine, and then take to the stage to remind us what a load of selfish bastards we are for not giving the vast majority of our paltry salaries to stop people starving, and that the death of the planet is all my fault, because my TV is on standby. Well thank you ‘The pussy cat dolls’ for putting me straight on that. I should imagine your average member of ‘The pussy cat dolls’, thinks that global warming, is a shade of lipstick!
Not content with informing me how I can help everyone else, I am then told how I can help myself. Yes, various pop entities over the years have put themselves forward as a sort of life coach. I have been advised to "Respect myself"; I have been told on numerous occasions, that "I can be who I want to be". "Dreams can come true". If I wanted any form of counseling, I certainly wouldn’t want it from Lee Ryan (ex of blue fame), or any other feckless pop pillock thank you. It’s not just the recent crop of public spirited pop prince and princes’s that offer general life advice. No, way back when, Bob Dylan was telling us that "The times they are a changing". Yeah, thanks for that Bob.
Closing in on sting on the final bend of the pretentious pop stars 1500 metres, is George Michael. I have heard him being interviewed on the radio, and he was telling everyone, that the album he had just made, was the hardest thing he had ever done. A truly traumatic experience, that left him completely emotionally drained. Oh come on George, do you think you may have let your pretentiousness run away with you? What, standing in a studio, singing a bit. It really isn’t that hard George.
Anyway, before I go, a list of some styles of music, and my opinion (Which is obviously correct!) on them.
Rock – Generally good, unless your trousers are too tight for your age.
Pop – Just there to make rich people (Simon Cowell) even richer.
Folk – Middle class people standing around in fields, with their fingers in their ears, wearing shorts, and drinking flat beer. Peace loving until Monday, when it’s back to work to screw everyone that they can.
Jazz – Can range from the sublime, to the ridiculous. Oscar Peterson, sublime. Bohemian Scandinavians throwing fish at a piano keyboard, fucking ridiculous!
Opera – Despite what toffs tell you, a form of entertainment that is aimed at the upper classes. Specifically those that have nothing better to do, than swan around pretending they know what the hell is going on in your average opera. Same sort of twats that go to the Tate, and make out that they "Can see where the artist is coming from", as they stare intently at half a shark, with a human cock in its mouth. . . . . . . sigh.
Musicals – Fairly similar to opera, but for the middle to upper working classes. Will insist on singing everything. Just tell me what you have got to say, I’ll understand without the grinning, leaping about, and singing…honest.
Hip hop – Middle class white boys pretending to be black. They rap about the harshness of life in the ghetto of Chipping Norton! Speak/rap/sing in a peculiar waya strange dialect that seems to be a mish mash of downtown Los Angeles, and Reading!
Country – These poor chaps seem to have a hell of a time. Their dogs are always dying, their wives seem to be constantly running off with their best friends, and their horses are lame. People in East Anglia seem to have a strange affinity with this style of music. When John Denver sung "Rocky mountain high" they seemed to think he was referring to somewhere just outside Pidley!
As I write this, ironically ‘That’s entertainment’ by ‘The Jam’ has just come on the radio. Did a good job of reminding me that not all songs are about some bloke wittering on about how much he loves his ‘girl’, or that she has left him, or she’s coming back, or blah blah blah. No, some songs are about real everyday things, that we all suffer or endure, or love. Maybe one day my love affair with music will be rekindled, until then, I think I will retune the wireless to ‘Radio 4’!
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