Friday, 14 March 2008

Irrational Likes

Here are some things that, looked at with an objective eye, add nothing to the sum total of human well-being, but which I love nonetheless:

The audible ‘clonk’ of the continuity announcer’s fader as he introduces ‘another… Round With Alliss’.

Female backing singers on Top of the Pops in the first half of the ‘80s who, despite being dolled up in the finest evening frocks and elbow-length gloves Richard Shops can provide, still look unmistakeably like bored sixth-formers killing time at the wedding of an unloved maiden aunt.

The avuncular bloke who does the announcements at the otherwise horrendous Bank tube station. I know many people object to the way he tells us what to do if we see ‘any suspicious be-HA-viour!’ as if he was addressing the front row audience for Dick Whittington at the New Theatre, Oxford, but I love it, especially when he rounds it all off with an indefatigably cheery ‘Or a police officer!’

In a similar vein, the news vendor at London Bridge station who shouts ‘Evening Standaaaard!’ to exactly the same tune as the Velvet Underground’s Sunday Morning. Sadly he’s yet to work the phrase ‘West End Final!’ into a version of Lady Godiva’s Operation, but give him time.

American ladies of a certain age who steadfastly refuse to use even the mildest swearwords in a heated argument. ‘That’s a load of bull-ploppy, mister!’

Un-rock-‘n’-roll guitars. First you’ve got the half-guitar, half-synthesiser. Anything with a keyboard and a little handle that does nothing goes under the fabulous moniker of ‘Keytar’. Better yet is the SynthAxe, a ridiculously expensive (and ridiculously heavy) bent-necked MIDI-enabled thing that could only ever be used on a Peter Gabriel filler track circa 1987. (Or by Rock School's guitar heroine Deirdre Cartwright, of course.)

Other un-rock-‘n’-roll guitars include the fretless bass (and better yet, the bass that had frets you could retract with a special key, as demonstrated on Tomorrow's World, where its Swedish inventor played it inside Bob Symes's potting shed - rock!), the one with the ‘sawn-off’ headstock look, and the one Brian May’s dad built out of a Victorian fireplace. (I’m not including guitars with two or more necks – they are rock ‘n’ roll, albeit in a goofy sort of way, and just don’t do it for me.)


Bright Ambassador said...

The SynthAxe can be heard to great effect on Iron Maiden's 1988 album Seventh Son of a Seventh Son.

Anyone caught using a fretless bass in anger should be shot. But then, I never did like Paul Young and his fretless bass-playing chum Pino Palladino.

Phil Norman said...

Ah, I might have guessed Lord Bruce would have a SynthAxe! Not sure how well it goes with the sleevelss denim jacket, mind...