Friday 9 May 2008

it doesn't make a difference if we make it or not...

Earworms time again. It's late, so let's just jump straight in, eh? This week's Guest Editor last featured in this slot in October 2006, just days before he left the country for a jaunt around the world. Apart from popping over for fleeting visits a couple of times, he's only really just come back. In that time, he's managed to see a good portion of the world AND manage to avoid having a proper paying job. That's a pretty damn good effort, I say. Still, he's back on the job market now, so if anyone has any hoovering doing or wants their lawn mowing, they can contact this willing worker via this blog.

With a bumper edition for your earworming pleasure....Ladies and gentleworms, without any further ado, it is my great pleasure to present....

Earworms of the Week - Guest Editor #86 - The Pollstar

First up is a genuine list of earworms from my last 3 weeks or so in Egypt, this is followed by a more spurious list of Earworms from my full 18 months of doing bugger all. Use or not as you will.

[ST's note: I will then....]


Well, it’s taken me rather a while to write these up, but these are genuine earworms from my last few weeks travelling. There were lots and lots more, but I kept forgetting to write them down. Funny thing the subconscious. Anyway.

> Walk like an Egyptian. The Bangles.

Well I was in Egypt.

> Down to the Wire. Neil Young.

An earworm that got more and more persistent the closer I got to flying back to England and the idea of having to get a job loomed larger.

> Life for Rent. Dido.

One of the discoveries of having a Last FM account has been that Dido is my favourite female artist: she does only make it to no 28 on my ‘Top Artists Overall’, although her collaborations with Faithless sit at 24. Surprised I may have been, but I do like Dido who I feel has been unfairly castigated for selling records and, more specifically, selling them to the wrong people (the throwers of dinner parties, people who buy CDs in the supermarket, people who don’t really like music). Had the same albums sold 50,000 copies, she’d have a lot more respect. In some ways that’s quite British. Also, judging by the lyrics, she likes travelling. Anyway, I couldn’t rid myself of this song when I was cycling around the Oasis at Siwa and my subconscious reworked it into ‘Bike for Rent’.

> Nothing Ever Happens. Del Amitri.

A favourite of mine, continually in my head when walking round Middle Eastern cities for the ‘every third car is a cab’ lyric. Though the proportion seemed far higher.

> Into the West. Annie Lennox.

I found it a little odd that way the three Lord of the Rings films ran some quite contemporary songs over the start of the credits. This was feels most in context and is a hidden gem of a song. Well as hidden as you can be when you win an Oscar.

> 2 out of 3 ain’t bad. Meatloaf.

I wrote this down but can’t remember what brought it about, which seems no reason for excluding the Loaf. Frankly always springs into my head when I manage to do 2 of the 3 things I mean to.

> There’s Power in the Union. Billy Bragg.

Regular readers of this blog will be well aware that England would be a much better place if it was run by Billy. I fear that the Union has been well and truly shafted since the Braggster recorded this, but I’ll still be in the Leftfield come the last weekend in June.

> Never Forget. Take That.

I was in a bar in Dahab playing pool with a Canadian girl, who had been previously blessed to such an extent that she had no idea who Take That were. We were playing against some local guys and waiting for other friends so we couldn’t escape what was either a Take That album or Greatest Hits. It went on forever and was consistently dreadful. This abomination was the one that stuck. This reminds me that I need to take Swiss to task for some comments he has posted here indicating that Take That may be something less than the cursed offspring of the Devil and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Of course they’re not as bad as Simply Red. [ST's note, Amen to that]

> A Good Heart. Feargal Sharkey.

Well he’s got a point. A good heart these days IS hard to find.

And finally, and most randomly of all

> Another Rock and Roll Christmas. Gary Glitter I believe.

In the 40 degree heat of Aswan, conclusive proof that I was losing my mind.

Rest of the World

I spent basically 18 months travelling and apart from when the altitude freaked it out, my iPod was a constant companion. In the Middle East and South America in particular, music is inescapable. This combination led to record levels of earworming. This list covers earworms that were either consistent through my trip, or were completely inescapable while I was in a particular continent or country.

> Indiana Jones theme. John Williams.

Called Raiders of the Lost Ark according to iTunes. In some ways the theme tune of my whole travelling Odyssey. So much of history makes me think of Indy. Earwormed most strongly walking down the hill in Wadi Musa: Petra, the resting place of the Holy Grail, is at the bottom of that hill.

> In the Jungle. Tight Fit.

I believe there are other versions, but not for a 70s baby, early 80s child (which I also earwormed extensively). This song inevitably soundtracked my African sojourn, most memorably when a local posse came to a campfire one night and I joined them for singing and dancing to this. I’d only had a few ales…..

> Down Under. Men at Work.

Great song, which you hear a pleasing amount in Australia-I had worried it might be one of things (like Fosters lager), which Brits associate with Oz, but isn’t actually there.

> My heart will go on forever. Celine Dion.

Quite simply a piece of pure evil. I have met so many Canadians travelling. They embrace Neil Young, Bryan Adams and Avril. They smile when I mention the Crash Test Dummies. They all regard Sea Lion as a national embarrassment. The evil is loose again after finishing her Las Vegas residency and I am afraid it will take more than hobbits to stop this darkness covering the earth. Be warned, this especially shocking effort is rampant throughout South America and the Middle East. They love it and not just the original, buskers and pan pipes will also make the warbling flute seep into your brain. I think I particularly despise this as it is potent reminder of just what a wasted opportunity Titanic was. I still wonder if there’s great film lurking in there, if you edit out all the scenes with Leo and Kate.

> Say it Right. Nelly Furtado.
> Straight Lines. Silverchair.

Simply everywhere when I was in New Zealand, including the bathroom of the hostel in Christchurch where they piped in some local radio station.

> Mr Jones. Counting Crows.
> Living on a Prayer. Bon Jovi.

If you go out in South America and you don’t hear both of these songs (probably more than once in the case of Mr Jones) every night in every place, then you’re in some very different bars to the ones I went to. Middle East also loved the Crows, but not the Jovi. Perhaps they were put off by the hair.

> The Saturday Boy. Billy Bragg.

I put my iPod on just after meeting a fellow lover of the Braggster, and it immediately spat this out. I do think shuffle has some ESP. This song is where it should be-never far from my internal jukebox, whether for ‘the way she rubbed herself against the edge of my desk’, ‘she could never come to the phone, she was always in the bath’, ‘in the end it took me a dictionary to find out the meaning of unrequited’, ‘it’s surprising how quick a little rain can clear the streets’, ‘in the darkness of the dances in the school canteen - did she close her eyes as I did when we held each other tight?’, ‘we dreamed of her and compared our dreams’, ‘thinking back, she made us want her, a girl not old enough to shave her legs’ or most of the rest of the lyrics to be fair. Billy at his best. Which is pretty damn good.

> Mr E’s Beautiful blues. The Eels.

I’ll leave Swiss to tell his story on this song, which is beautiful and popped into my head so many mornings when I got up and looked out on where I was. Also featured on Road Trip, which remains so much funnier than it has any right to be. My other theme song and an ideal bookend to Indy.

[ST's note: I'm not going to go into the full story here. Suffice it to say that E was pleasantly surprised to have written such a positive song in the midst of all the death, doom and gloom of one of his masterpieces, "Daisies of the Galaxy". He loved it, and as it was included on the soundtrack to "Roadtrip", the record company made its inclusion a condition of releasing the album. Reluctantly, E agreed, but he simply couldn't find a way of sequencing the track onto the album in a way that worked. In the end he agreed to put it at the very end, with a ten second gap between it and the previous song. On the actual day the album was mixed, he then crept into the studio and doubled the length of the gap. Good song. Full story available in Mark Oliver Everett's excellent book, "Things the Grandchildren Should Know".]


Thanks mate. There's a lot to go on here - lots of eighties for starters - so why is it that no matter what song I try and think about, the sadistic majesty of those godawful oirish pipes on that Sealion song begin echoing around my head like the foreshadowing of our certain Doom? You utter bastard. Not even the Braggster can rescue me from that, I fear. A good list indeed, and it's certainly good to have you back in the country mate. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to try to exorcise that evil witch from my head by listening to the Indiana Jones theme over and over and over again.

Sweet dreams, y'all.

Right. Well, unless anyone has any better ideas, I think it's likely to be me next week..... Sorry about that. This week's earworm of choice? "heartbeat" by Scouting for Girls.

[Previous Guest Editors: Flash, The Urban Fox, Lord Bargain, Retro-Boy, Statue John, Ben, OLS, Ka, Jenni, Aravis, Yoko, Bee, Charlie, Tom, Di, Spin, The Ultimate Olympian, Damo, Mike, RedOne, The NumNum, Leah, Le Moine Perdu, clm, Michael, Hyde, Adem, Alecya, bytheseashore, adamant, Earworms of the Year 2005, Delrico Bandito, Graham, Lithaborn, Phil, Mark II, Stef, Kaptain Kobold, bedshaped, I have ordinary addictions, TheCatGirlSpeaks, Lord B rides again, Tina, Charlie II, Cody Bones, Poll Star, Jenni II, Martin, Del II, The Eye in the Sky, RussL, Lizzy's Hoax, Ben II, Earworms of the Year 2006, Sarah, Flash II, Erika, Hen, Pynchon, Troubled Diva, Graham II, Cat II, Statue John II, Sweeping the Nation, Aravis II, Olympian II, C, Planet-Me, Mike, Michael II, Eye in the Sky II, Charlie III, The Great Grape Ape, asta, Ben III, Earworms of the Year 2007, Cat III, JamieS & Wombat, Pynchon II, Briskate, Craig Cliff, Fiery Little Sod, Cody II, J, Yoko II, Rol, Lisa]

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