Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Music To Strip By

You find me a broken man today. I’m also a man left feeling completely battered by modern music. I’ve also ripped my throat. All three things are related.

Last night, my little Romanian songbird headed to London ahead of a recording session this morning. It left me at something of a loose end so I decided to apply a scorched earth policy to my iPod.

Being Romanian and being unbelievably gifted musically, Gabby is always buying new CDs which she insists that I copy straight onto my mp3 player. Over the last few months, dozens upon dozens of new albums have built up into a quite representative collection of what’s new and happening in contemporary popular music.

And I’ve managed to hate every over-produced minute of it.

You see, Gabby’s not the only one in this flat who thinks they understand music. I perform to music every night. My genitals can keep a beat better than most drum machines. My hips can spot a good song before Radio 1. Which is why I cleared my iPod and decided to start again.

It was late night opening at my local independent music shop where I spent an hour going through the bargain bin. I came back with dozens of albums from the sixties which cost next to nothing but were sure to push the Chipster’s buttons in ways mysterious to the likes of Beyonce Knowles and Take That. That’s how I found myself at the gym this morning, sitting on a rowing machine and listening to these lyrics:

The last time I saw Richard was Detroit in '68,
And he told me all romantics meet the same fate someday
Cynical and drunk and boring someone in some dark cafe.

Now, call me a melancholic old stripper, but isn’t this just perfect? I’ve been there. I’ve been cynical and drunk. I might not know anybody called Richard and I might never had the chance to bore somebody in a dark cafe, but I’m doing my best on this blog every night and I’m sure one of you has to be called Richard.

And even if you’re not a Richard, Ricky, or a Dick, the song gets even better. It ends with these words, which make me cry every time I listen to them.

All good dreamers pass this way some day
Hiding behind bottles in dark cafes
Dark cafes
Only a dark cocoon before I get my gorgeous wings
And fly away
Only a phase, these dark cafe days.

Can I repeat my favourite bit again?

All good dreamers pass this way some day
Hiding behind bottles in dark cafes.

I have hid behind a bottle or two in dark cafes. It’s not a pleasant feeling. Joni Mitchell. What a woman!

I’m off to try to buy some more of her albums this afternoon and I’m even thinking of adding something of hers to my act. I’ll be the first stripper to take his clothes off to a bit of Canadian melancholy. It should cause something of a stir around Bangor. I understand she has a song about a Big Yellow Taxi which, let’s face it, sounds like it was written for me. I’m big. I’m a Lib Dem. I’m called Chip. I’m a Big Yellow Chipster.

The only thing is that in the future, I must remember to let my hips to the talking. Joni had such a profound effect on me this morning that I tried to sing along. Not only did I stretch my vocal chords in a direction where they didn’t like to be stretched but I caused a minor panic at the gym where they thought the fire alarm had gone off.

Joni Mitchell may hit notes that only a person wearing a tight thong should be able to hit, but not all people wearing tight thongs are advised to give it a try. Isn’t that an example of a tautology? I don’t know. As I said at the beginning: I’m a broken man this afternoon.

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