Yes, I have been away for a while, real life catching up with me, a touch of flu and a bout of writer’s block – and when a man (woman) is bored of writing, he (she) is bored with life. So, here I am, trying out some new writing ideas – just start writing and see where it goes. This post started with a visceral reaction to the annoying voice of a velvetine DJ…Enjoy (I hope)
Rod Stewart, Burnt Toast and a Voice
- Atlantic Crossings
- An annoying voice
- Two slices of burnt toast
- Burt Reynolds
- David Hasselhoff
Time and place
- St Valentine’s Sunday morning in my kitchen.
The treacle-voiced, Sunday morning DJ oozing out my radio. A meliflous, soothing, safe and almost soporiphic, sweet Sabbath, FM breakfast lilt, with a transaltlantic twist. Easy listening and Atlantic Crossings as Rod Stewart’s classic track, « sailing » wofts its way out the radio and across my kitchen, lapping up like gentle waves on burned toast and yesterday’s coffee, reheated in the microwave.
The song soars like seagulls, surfing, gliding and riding the océan breeze. Rod’s grainy voice gives the effortless tune a hard but soulful edge. I feel like I’m alone, walking barefoot on a shingle beach, the small fragments of stones and shells gently rubbing and piercing the soles of my feet in a near gratifying sensation of gentle unpleasentness. All the while, I’m staring out to sea, yearning to be with the one I love.
Rod fades away like an écho on the breeze and the DJ is back with his dulcet dominical tones, reminding us in his deep throat velvetine voice, that it is Valentine’s day, and we, the listeners can ring the radio station and request a romantic song for the « one you love. »
AAAGH ! This putrid purring sliming across my kitchen like someone has poured a bucket of vomit on the worktops. I just want to plunge my hands into radio and wring this guy’s neck. His voice gnaws away at me like mild mild toothache and est me on edge like the high pitch whine of a dentist’s drill.
Chucking the burned toast in the dustbin, I’m trying to imagine what this guy looks like – some kind of seventies Burt Reynolds/David Hasslehoff crossover with a perm and a hairy chest – all polyester trouser suits, and suede jackets.
Why I have never been much of a Simon and Garfunkel Fan
- French peasants
- Guitar-toting Hippies
- Too many cigarettes
- An Omelette
Time and Place
- Summers Drifting through France/Evening in a French café
As I flex my fingers and crack my knuckles ready to rip open the radio, the stream of spew fades into the opening chords of Homeward Bound – how I have always loathed Simon and Garfunkel, but that is down to my late teens and early twenties, drifting across France in the company of too many errant, guitar toting Dutch and German hippies. Evenings in village cafés, I’m at the bar, setting the world to with the locals in my fractured French with lashings of Pastis and thick clouds of Gitane in smoke. My hippy travelling companions are in the corner, looking fairly misérable because, apart from an omelette, their is no vegetarian option on the cafés very limited food menu. As the evening drags on, my bedraggled companions get out their guitars and massacre a few Simon and Garfunkel songs in the limited, linear tuetonic English.
German Maidens and Riviera Dreams
- A Spanish Travelling companion
- Four German maidens ; Gudrun, Beata, Freide, Elise.
- The Almighty
- Cheap red wine
- An Orange VW Combi
- A Laughing Cow
- Still too many cigarettes
- No Sex
- Simon and Garfunkel (again)
- Looking for a public toilet in Scarborough
Time and Place
- Somewhere near the Pont du Gard in the summer of 1984
- Scarborough (fair or not)
A Simon and Garfunkel story from the summer of 1984. In France, hitching from Lyons to the sea with a Spanish gent – a travelling companion of circumstance.
All shorts and flip-flpos, we had spent ou day padding along quiet country roads, our heads awash with Riviera dreams, but no car in sight. As day drew to a close our dreams ebbed away in a flow of despair ; low on supplies (one warm bottle of beer aand only one cigarette between us) and the slow réalisation that we actually had nowhere to spend the night because we were in the middle of nowhere. Not prone to prayers, we thought about saying a few, when in an answer to our unprayed implorings to the Almighty, an orange VW Combi van homed into view. (Advice : never take to the road with an emotional lapsed Spanish Catholic.)
We raise our arms in a gesture of distress and the combi miraculously stops right in front of us. The side door slides open with a massive and reassuring Germanic clunk to reveal four very reassuringly blonde, athletic Germanic maidens.
« You want to come with us ? Ja ??? » ventures a maiden in stereotypic Germanic English.
« Oh yes, come all the way and go all the way » I reply, having briefly studied the contents of the heaven-sent van.
In we climbed and off we sped.
We spun then girls our tales of hitch hiking woe.
« Oh yes, it is not easy to get picked up on this road, » says Beata.
« Oh you poor boys » laments Friede offering us a bottle of cheap red wine and a packet of Marlboro.
And as my Spanish companion and I drink and smoke, Beata and Elise stroke our hair and massage our tired muscles, (but not the muscle that you are dreaming of.)
With strong red wine and tuetonic titillation, all Riviera dreams have been banished as my mate and I size up the Combi for the very real prospect of an Anglo Hispanic Germanic gang bang.
We camped for the night, somewhere near the Pont du Gard on the banks of the river Gardon. We lit a small fire, then all sat round eating Vache Qui Rit cheese on a rock hard baguette and drinking vast quantities of more cheap red wine. As the flames of the fire started to flicker weakly down to embers , my travelling companion and I tried our hands at some serious European bonding – this had been, after all the year of the European Parliamentary Elections. However, rather than forging seme serious physical links, our four maidens opted for the policy, of European harmony, when Gudrun appeared from the van clutching a guitar.
« Let us all sing together around the fire … is good ? Ja ? » ventured Gudrun with quizical enthusiasm.
Oh, dashed hopes and dark thoughts. «Jawohl mein leibling. Eine kleine nachtmusik » I whispered to myself. (in mispelt German.)
Gudrun sat herslf down, cross legged in front of the fire, she brushed back ger cascading blonde locks and launched into a monotone renditon of …
Bloody Simon and bloody Garfunkel and bloody Scarborough bloody fair. Had Simon and Garfunkel ever been to Scarborough ?
Scarborough, that austere Yorksire seaside resort , lashed by driving rain and battered by chill North Sea winds – and that is in the heart of summer. As a kid I once went a daytrip to Scarborough during a brief summer family holiday in Yokshire. We spent most of the day sitting in the car staring at the sea and only dared to venture out and brave the éléments, when my incontinent grandmother need a toilet. Off we went round Scarborough in the driving rain, looking for a public loo for Gran.
- My love who lies waiting silently for me
- Burnt toast
- Breakfast in bed
Time and place
Back in my kitchen on St Valentine’s Day
After Scarborough Fair (which it isn’t), Gudrun started strumming Homeward Bound – one of the few S&G songs which I actually like. Back in my kitchen 30 or more years later, the real Homeward Bound is still playing and I’m even singing along, feeling less now like ripping open my radio to throttle the DJ. I shall now try and do, what I wanted to do before digressing : make a Valentine’s Day breakfast and take it to my love who lies silently waiting/sleeping, in the bedroom. Of course, I will firdst have to makje some decent unburnt toast, a task that seems beyond our présent toaster. I would try and fix the toaster, but I know from expérience that this would be a very bad idea. All I would say, is, never buy a cheap toaster on the grounds that it is cheap and, anyway we only use it a few minutes a day for making toast.
- The Death of a toaster
- Toasters and marital relations
- Toasters as part of anger management therapy