Northern Mummy

General thoughts and wittering about all sorts of things

Something a little bit different

on June 16, 2012

It’s the weekend, so we get a break from our daily writing challenges and I thought it was about time I posted something that wasn’t too writing-related.

A little while ago I mentioned that I’d talk more about our trip away, and then got swept along into my 15 habits and never came back to it.  For any of you still sitting with bated breath, we went to Dorset for my niece’s naming day.  Unfortunately the weather wasn’t as good as we’d hoped (we were especially surprised that the temperature fell steadily the further south we travelled, as we’re constantly hearing from our more southerly relatives that they have better and warmer weather than we do) and it was decided that the celebration would be held at the campsite, rather than on the beach.  Despite this, it was a fun occasion and possibly a little more relaxed than a beach event would have been, as the children could play unrestricted in the large field and the adults weren’t constantly on the watch for any small people wandering too close to dangerous water.

Cake and Bunting

Cake and bunting on a rather grey day!

We all unpacked our camping chairs and sat in a large circle, enjoying what sun there was and the company of family and friends we’d not seen for a while.  Little K’s life-advisors all said a few words (some better prepared than others!) and then we toasted with champagne and tucked into a variety of cakes and biscuits which had been brought along.  The afternoon stretched on with more laughing and chatting, a game of rounders and an impromptu barbecue when it turned out to be a day for the “meat man” (a local butcher who visits the campsite a couple of times a week to supply the holiday makers with the most delicious sausages, burgers and kebabs).  All-in-all, despite the weather, it was one of those days which creates itself when you just turn up not knowing what to expect.

Charlecote Park

The beautiful Charlecote Park

It was a fairly fleeting holiday and with the rain we weren’t able to do much, but we did get an interesting trip on the Sandbanks chain ferry (include a look at the impressive and unusual array of expensive houses in Sandbanks Bay), as well as a visit to Charlecote Park near Stratford-upon-Avon on the way home.  Most of the time, however, we were in the car (it’s a 7 hour drive each way), and it takes work to maintain a reasonable degree of harmony when we spend such long periods of time at such close quarters!   Living a minimum 3 hours’ drive from any of our extended family, however, we are used to dealing with long journeys.  As our girls have grown up, we’ve had to modify our approach to this a number of times – gone are the days when we could expect them both to fall asleep the instant the engine was started so we could settle into a good audio book (and sadly, because of this, we are now very behind on the Number 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series.  If you have the chance to listen to the audio books, read by Adjoa Andoh, they are well worth it).  This holiday, for the first time, we have trialled a number of “car games” from a new book we bought recently, with some success (we especially enjoyed Crambo), although the Butterfly often still finds it difficult to keep up with the rest of us when a wide and imaginative vocabulary is required.

Another popular approach we have long taken is that everyone gets a turn at choosing music.  Before we set off, each member of the family contributes choices to the CD changer, which holds 12, and can also bring a couple of cassettes if required (yes! our car stereo still plays cassettes!).  In addition, I have my mp3 player, so we have access to a variety of music and stories for our trips and we spent a lot of the time on our most recent journeys listening to music.  Now, although Southern Daddy still finds my fascination with song lyrics unusual and a little obsessive at times, a lot of my influence has rubbed off on him over the last seventeen years and, as we headed down the M1 on that rainy Sunday morning, he said to me “Some of these songs are quite creepy, when you think about it.”  These songs were a collection of 50’s and 60’s music which I have on mp3.  Sure enough, the track we were listening to at the time, Save the Last Dance for Me, is a message from a man to a woman whilst at a party, to the effect that however much she enjoys herself while she’s there, she will still have to return home with him.

“Baby, don’t you know I love you so?  Can’t you feel it when we touch?

I will never, never let you go; I love you, oh so much,”

could be construed as passionately romantic, but alternatively slightly sinister.  And why does she need reminding not to forget who’s taking her home – why is he so afraid she’s going to run off with someone else?  What is he doing while she’s “having her fun”, anyway?  Standing around being boring?  No wonder she’s in danger of leaving him.

A similar idea is presented by The Foundations in Baby, Now That I’ve Found You.  It’s all very well to say you won’t let someone go, but when you follow it up with “even though you don’t need me” it sounds lacking in self-respect at the very least.

It’s a common theme in songs of the 50s and 60s (when possessiveness seems generally to have been considered an attractive quality!) but in more recent songs, other lines crop up which can make you think twice.  A few weeks ago I was listening a lot to Billy Joel’s The Longest Time which, for some reason, I always like to play when the weather is hot.  I love the song, partly because it’s such a sweet sentiment and partly because the rhyme scheme is so clever.  But even loving it as much as I do, I’m perpetually puzzled by the line “I’m that voice you’re hearing in the hall.”  Why is he in her hall?  And why does she need telling that it’s him?

After we’d been discussing this topic, I remembered that musical comedy duo Frisky and Mannish had investigated the same idea (this particular video seems to have replaced the one in which I first saw the medley, and I have to warn you it’s either slightly more tasteless than I remembered, or they’ve changed it since the version I saw, but it’s still entertaining nonetheless.  If you haven’t come across Frisky and Mannish before I recommend you also look for their versions of Baby, It’s Cold Outside and Chris De Burgh’s A Spaceman Came Travelling).

So it would seem that if you’re going to write a song about someone it’s important to consider what the other person will understand when they hear it!  That goes for dedications too:  SD and I often laugh at Steve Wright’s Sunday Love Songs (on BBC Radio 2), because people tend to select a song for their loved one based on the first line, the chorus or the fact that it’s about someone with the same name, without (presumably) being aware that the rest of the lyrics express a completely different sentiment from the one intended, or are about someone who’s dead/in prison/really not interested.  Apparently one of the most popular songs to dedicate on radio shows in the late 80s and early 90s was REM’s The One I Love.  What could be a more appropriate message than “This one goes out to the one I love”?  Sounds made for request shows, doesn’t it?  And if you’re far from home: “This one goes out to the one I’ve left behind”?

Well, maybe, but unless you also wanted to inform the dedicatee that he/she is merely “a simple prop to occupy [your] time”, you might want to consider something else…

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2 responses to “Something a little bit different

  1. Alice says:

    Ha! We were at a marriage course last week and the background music included “please release me” and a song where the lyrics went something like “I’m sorry, please forgive me”. The theme for the session was conflict…

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