February 3, 2013 by benmblackman
I overheard a conversation at the Tesco Self Service tills the other day. Two college girls.
One said to the other, ‘It’s, so, argh, like, The Lumineers.’
‘Eh?’ replied her friend. (I was glad, I was thinking the same.)
‘You know? The song?’
‘What song?’ (I was glad, I was thinking the same, again.) ‘Sing it.’
The two words everybody dreads in life (especially in a public place).
The girl propositioned went through that whole rigmarole of pretending not to remember how it went: ‘um, what’s the words again?’ and all that, ‘I’ll remember it in a minute’ shnizzle before her friend cut to the chase.
‘Stop dicking about Lauren, just sing the song you dick.’
Yeah (you dick) Lauren, (I was thinking the same, once more), just sing the (dicking) song will you?
I was eeking out my self-service, taking as long as physically possible to scan my 5 items because I had come this far. I needed closure. Just as The Bitch (you know the one) was piping up about unidentified objects in my bagging area Lauren began.
If Charlotte Church had the voice of an angel, I’m not quite sure how I’d describe Lauren’s. She didn’t own the stage or make the song her own but, I could just about work out the following:
‘I belong to you, you belong with me, you’re my sweetheeeeeeeart – cushhhhhhh.’
You probably won’t get it from this description, I didn’t.
I’d scanned my items by now and they theirs. I really wanted to follow them back to the college so I could eavesdrop some more and find out what it was in Lauren’s life that was ‘so, argh, like,’ this song but I thought it best not to. Last time I did that I got in loads of trouble. I’m only joking! (They didn’t catch me.) Only joking again. (I don’t follow college girls around…any more.)
A few days later I realised what it was when I heard it Click for Mystery Song.
I loved the fact that, to Lauren (the dick), this song was, like, so argh!
Do you remember those days when songs meant so much to you?
When I was about 12 Shakespeare’s Sister were like catnip to girls. They went crazy for that shit, I’m telling you! They all thought their songs were about them and that they summed up their lives.
Like drugs, they progressed onto harder stuff – Alanis Morisette came along by the time we were 16.
It wasn’t just the girls though, I remember masses of boys at my school identifying heavily (or at least pretending to) with the West Coast Hip Hop massive, instigators of the gangsta rap genre, your friends and mine, NWA.
Now, I went to a good Catholic School and grew up in a small commuter town so, looking back, I’m not quite sure what we identified with there?
Amongst a plethora or unrepeatable lyrics I have stashed away in my head from ‘back in da day’ I remember the start to one of their famous ditties:
Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth
and nothin but the truth so help your black ass?
The closest I got to a brush with the law followed an intense spate of point of sale bubble gum thievery in the early 90’s (which my Mum put a firm stop to when she caught me bubble gum handed one fateful afternoon). Also, you may have guessed, my ass ain’t black.
How about Cypress Hill then?
Do my shit undercover
Now it’s time for the blubba
Blubba to watch dat belly get fatter
Fat boy on a diet don’t try it
I’ll jack your ass like a looter in a riot
I only really drop this in because I can remember it all word for word. What did it mean? Who knows? I certainly didn’t.
Maybe this is why my belly did get fatter. I knew I should have tried the diet. Why did I listen to Cypress Hill for goodness sake? If I ever meet them I’m well going to, um, jack their asses.
I only ever pretended to like that stuff really. I was more into guitar bands. I think this was encouraged through 6th Form when our ‘cool’ (his words, not mine) Head of Year from Manchester used music to clarify the teachings of each Friday morning assembly he had the displeasure to undertake. I can’t really remember what the lessons we were meant to learn from them were exactly (mainly, let’s all listen to some top tunes instead of reading the Bible for a while I think).
A few of his favourites and the lessons sought:
James – Sit Down: Be inclusive, support each other, it’s ok to be different.
The Smith’s: This Charming Man: Hmm. Wasn’t this about, um…
REM – Losing my Religion: Wasn’t he meant to be pushing the opposite? We woz cafflics remember?
Every song The Stone Roses ever recorded: I might be a teacher but I’m cool, ok?
Some years later I was sure that Travis – Why Does It Always Rain On Me? spoke to me directly. Coming to think about it I did lie a LOT when I was seventeen.
Like Lauren, I was a right dick!