Category Archives: kerrang

Let’s Get Lyrical #25 – A Song That Tells A Story

Today, Let’s Get Lyrical have been asking, what are your favourite lyrics that tell a story?

As it happens, I sort of collect songs like this.  Unfortunately, very few of them seem to be from the 70s, but I’d like to mention a few.

Frinstance, who could fail to love The Drunken Driver by Ferlin Husky?  It tells the tale of a man who RUNS OVER HIS OWN CHILDREN in a drunken episode, and it’s all Ferlin can do not to cry as he recounts the story.  Unfortunately, this was recorded all the way back in 1954.

I also love Our Last Summer by ABBA – or I did until I saw Mamma Mia, at any rate.  I found it hard to reconcile my crush on Colin Firth with his antics in that particular montage – he seemed to be doing his best to destroy the affection I’d had for the track since I was nine.  Anyway, I like it because it encapsulates a story of summer romance without getting either mawkish or bitter.  But I can’t write about that one, cause it came out in 1980.

In 1996, Peggy Scott-Adams released Bill, an anguished tale about a woman finding out that her husband is gay – “I was ready for Mary, Susan, Helen and Jane… When all the time it was Bill who was sleeping with my man.” It gets worse too – Bill is god uncle to their son!  It’s like an episode of Jerry Springer in song format.

The following year, a superhero ska band called the Aquabats wrote an altogether more lighthearted ditty, Captain Hampton and the Midget Pirates.  This follows the adventures of young Jim, who goes to sea to fight the fierce Midget Pirates of Willygoat, who are heading towards the Sandwich Isles to pillage the giant Ham Farm.  “And unlike normal midgets, who are bright and clever and fun to be around, these Midget Pirates with their beady little eyes and sharp teeth bore down on us like fierce sharks in a feeding frenzy of blood!” Everything you could want from a pirate adventure and more.

Oh, and then there’s The Rake’s Song, by The Decemberists, which tells the story of a rake who marries too young and kills his children so he can get his life back.  A murder ballad for 2009 – I love it.  And don’t even get me started on Charlemagne: By The Sword and the Cross, a concept album released only last year in which Christopher Lee tells the entire history of Charlemagne in the form of a symphonic metal opera.  This includes immortal rhymes like “he has taken offense / and its too late to make amends!” and is entirely amazing.

But wait!  I know a seventies song that tells a story!  It’s not a particularly happy one, but even so…
“I remember every little thing as if it happened only yesterday…  Parking by the lake, and there was not another car in sight.  I never had a girl looking any better than you did, and all the kids at school were wishing they were me that night!

Our bodies were so close and tight – it never felt so good, it never felt so right.  We were glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife, and I felt like I had to hold on tight!”

“Though it’s cold and lonely in the deep dark night,” Patti said throatily.

“I can see paradise, by the dashboard light!” Marvin replied.

“Ain’t no doubt about it, we were doubly blessed. ‘Cause we were barely seventeen and we were barely dressed,” Patti would tell her friends, years later.  “Ain’t no doubt about it, baby got to go and shout it!  Ain’t no doubt about it, we were doubly blessed.  ‘Cause we were barely seventeen and we were barely dressed.”

Encouraged by this response, Marvin ventured, “baby doncha hear my heart?  You got it drowning out the radio!  I’ve been waiting so long for you to come along and have some fun.  And I gotta let you know, no you’re never gonna regret it – so open up your eyes, I got a big surprise, it’ll feel all right, I wanna make your motor run!”

“You got to do what you can,” Patti agreed, “let Mother Nature do the rest.  Ain’t no doubt about it we were doubly blessed.  ‘Cause we were barely seventeen and we were barely-“

“We’re gonna go all the way tonight,” he interrupted, “we’re gonna go all the way tonight, tonight!  We’re gonna go all the way tonight we’re gonna go all the way tonight’s the night…”

At this point they were interrupted by a radio broadcast, discussing an important baseball game.

“OK, here we go,” the announcer began.  “We got a real pressure cooker going here.  Two down, nobody on, no score, bottom of the ninth.  There’s the windup, and there it is, a line shot up the middle – look at him go!  This boy can really fly!

He’s rounding first and really turning it on now, he’s not letting up at all, he’s gonna try for second; the ball is bobbled out in center, and here comes the throw – and what a throw! He’s gonna slide in head first, here he comes, he’s out! No, wait, safe – safe at second base, this kid really makes things happen out there.

Batter steps up to the plate, here’s the pitch-he’s going, and what a jump he’s got, he’s trying for third, here’s the throw, it’s in the dirt-safe at third! Holy cow, stolen base! He’s taking a pretty big lead out there, almost daring him to try and pick him off. The pitcher glances over, winds up, and it’s bunted, bunted down the third base line, the suicide squeeze is on! Here he comes. squeeze play, it’s gonna be close! Here’s the throw… Here’s the play at the plate… Holy cow, I think he’s gonna make it!”

“Stop right there!” Patti squeaked all of a sudden, “I gotta know right now!  Before we go any further!  Do you love me?  Will you love me forever?  Do you need me?  Will you never leave me?  Will you make me so happy for the rest of my life?  Will you take me away, will you make me your wife?”

When Marvin failed to respond, she said again, more urgently this time, “do you love me!?  Will you love me forever!?  Do you need me?  Will you never leave me?  Will you make me so happy for the rest of my life?  Will you take me away , will you make me your wife?!  I gotta know RIGHT NOW, before we go any further, do you love me?  Will you love me forever!?”

Marvin thought about it for a while, but was reluctant to answer.

“Let me sleep on it,” he suggested at last, “baby, baby let me sleep on it?  Let me sleep on it and, I’ll give you an answer in the morning.”

This was not enough, though.

“I gotta know right now,” Patti insisted, “do you love me?  Will you love me forever?”

Marvin remained reticent.

“What’s it gonna be boy?” she asked again.  “Come on!  I can wait all night.  What’s it gonna be boy?  Yes, or no?”

This hectoring was overwhelming, but she could see it working, so she continued, “what’s it gonna be boy? YES, OR, NO??”

“Let me sleep on it?” he tried again.

“Will you love me forever?”

“Let me sleep on it?”

“Will you love me forever?!”

And at that point, Marvin snapped.

“I couldn’t take it any longer,” he was to explain to his mates down the pub in years to come, “Lord I was crazed, and then the feeling came upon me like a tidal wave – I started swearing to my god and on my mother’s grave that I would love her to the end of time.  I swore that I would love her to the end of time!”

So now they’re praying for the end of time to hurry up and arrive.

“‘Cause if I gotta spend another minute with you, I don’t think that I can really survive,” Patti has been heard to scream, as Marvin shouts,

“I’ll never break my promise or forget my vow, but God only knows what I can do right now!  I’m praying for the end of time, it’s all that I can do!  Praying for the end of time, so I can end my time with you!”

This of course was long ago, and it was far away, and it was so much better than it is today.  Still, at least they aren’t another divorce statistic…

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Filed under adolescence, antics, kerrang, letsgetlyrical, noise

Further Adventures In NaNoWriMo

First published on The Edinburgh Reporter November 15 2010

The NaNo Beans writing group reserves tables in coffee shops across Edinburgh so that people can write in style...

“So, how’s nana-rama going?” my sister now asks me on a daily basis.

She is not referring to my latest musical project where I encourage a group of grandmothers to backcomb their hair and sing the hits of the 80s, but to my misguided attempts to write 50, 000 words of a novel by the end of November.

Truthfully, I’ve lost momentum.  I was doing fine until Wednesday – NaNoWriMo‘s statistics page cheerfully told me that if I carried on at this rate, I’d be finished five days ahead of schedule.  This was the point at which I attended a rock karaoke, and it all went downhill.  Why write 17,000 words when you can hone your Morrissey impersonation in front of a roomful of strangers?

There are other factors that have stopped me writing.  Over the past week I have been worried about my heroine (I want her to defy the romance genre by having backbone, and challenge the broken Britain stereotype by being a smart, likeable ned; but it might be better for the story to defer to type and write her as more of a sexy doormat).  I have added several new characters, who I now have to do something with.  I have veered wildly from the genre I was supposed to be emulating, none of it makes much sense, and I am concerned that it’s dull to read.

Theoretically, none of this should actually be a problem.  After all, nobody ever has to see the thing.  It’s all between me and my laptop.  As soon as I’ve hit 50k and validated my word count, I can hit delete and never think about it again.

There’s just one small problem with this.  I have been posting every chapter on my blog, in full view of the general public.  Oh, and this is the week Guardian Edinburgh has chosen to launch their literary blogosphere.  Which has a link to my blog.  Sorry, Edinburgh.

Fortunately help is at hand, in the form of the regular pep talks sent out to participants by NaNo HQ.  This week, we all got an email from American author John Green, who said,

“At this point, you’ve probably realized that it’s nearly impossible to write a good book in a month. I’ve been at this a while and have yet to write a book in less than three years.”

This may sound defeatist to the outside ear, but it embodies the NaNo spirit quite well.  This project is not about producing something perfect.  The point is to force people to jump the seemingly insurmountable first hurdle of book writing – the blank page.  NaNo takes the saying that everyone has a novel in them, and challenges people to stop making excuses and do it.  It says go on; it’s only thirty days of your life.  What’s the worst that can happen?  OK, maybe you end up with 90% unusable nonsense.  But nobody else ever has to know that.

Unless you’ve posted it on the internet.

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Filed under Edinburgh, edinburghreporter, kerrang, limitlesspotential, music, NaNoWriMo, noise

Adulthood

I wrote a thing about the dangers of going clubbing as someone over 17.  It appears  heavily edited here in Brikolage, alongside some other lovely words and pictures on the subject of adulthood.  Alternatively you can read my original version below.  Or do both.  I won’t judge.

Twenty-somethings!  Want to check how adult you are?  Why not try a trip to Antics?

For those of you not in the know, Antics is a club night held at The Hive in Edinburgh every Tuesday.  They play only ‘alternative anthems’, which translates as the Kerrang! TV playlist circa ten years back, with the odd rock classic or arbitrary Pendulum track chucked in.

Antics is frequented by a heady cocktail of kids who look like extras from a Harry Potter movie, and dodgy looking guys who are nearing middle age faster than they’d care to admit (I look after Mother and work in the local supermarket; it’s a big responsibility for a thirty-four year old!). Then there’s the middle tier of 22-25 year olds, and this is where the confusion starts to creep in.

At 25, you remember these ‘anthems’ from the first time round.  You were only doing standard grades, that was barely any time ago!  However, at 22, you probably just missed the nu-metal phase, and it’s possible that along with Cho Chang and the rest of these kids you genuinely think that ‘I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor’ is retro.

It isn’t.

Anyway, you’ve got to the Cowgate, you’ve shown ID and pointedly ignored the withering glances of the bouncers on entry.  Once there, make a beeline for the front of the dance floor, preferably wearing glo-sticks your much more inebriated mate produced on leaving the flat.  Then, wait to see if they instantly increase the volume of dry ice to mask your embarrassingly elderly face, before retreating to the bar to take advantage of the liver destroying drinks deals.

Stand around awkwardly for a while, watching the 17-year-old in the ‘Pop Punk Is Not Dead’ shirt strawpedo a pitcher of tennents whilst thinking ‘Oh, but it is mate. It is.’

Read Gropey McFeelyouup the riot act because you’re sober enough to work out which of the creepy old men it was who grabbed you from behind.  If you are not yet an adult, you’re more like to elbow the nearest person instead, who will probably be one of your friends, or failing that a total hottie.  Like, how embarrassing.

If you think that the best song of the night is ‘Everybody Needs Somebody To Love’ from The Blues Brothers, you might just be a proper grown up.  But now Blink 182 are on, and as the only adult present it’s up to you to teach these naive kids how to pogo.  Good luck.

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Filed under adulthood, antics, brikolage, clubbing, cowgate, Edinburgh, graduate, harrypotter, kerrang, pogo, standardgrades, thehive