Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Did They Really Say That?

There is something highly mysterious about the human brain. I’ve alluded before to how ancient barely-remembered memories can suddenly become unlocked when a suitable stimulus is applied. An offshoot of this phenomenon is the memory snippet that isn’t really lost but sits under the surface of your consciousness and pops up every so often when you least expect it.

I generally find this applies to phrases that make me laugh and it is thus a constant source of embarrassment that they often surface when I am in a public place and they make me smile inanely or, even worse, laugh out loud for no obvious reason, in the face of complete strangers.

An example of such a memory is a review of the Pink Floyd’s ‘Animals’ album published in that reverent of all music weeklies, the NME in the late seventies. Did the reviewer really describe the introduction of the track ‘Sheep’ in the following manner?

‘...the song opens with Gilmour strumming over Wright’s swelling organ...’

Hahaha! Oh dear! It makes me laugh just to type it. I can’t believe this is true but when it suddenly pops into my brain, I can’t help but giggle.

Another example is some lyrics by Fred Wedlock. Fred was a comedy folk singer who trawled round the folk circuit and student unions of Britain in the 1970s doing one-man shows which comprised the sort of stories, gags and comic songs that went down well with student audiences. He actually had a rather cheesy national hit with ‘The Oldest Swinger in Town’ in 1981 but for the most part has been a more low key performer. Anyway, one of the songs in his repertoire was a long rambling talking blues which described the goings-on in a folk club and a few lines describing a fellow performer have always stuck with me.

‘His guitar was Japanese I’ll wager
With overdrive in E flat major
Fuel injected tuning pegs
And a hole for slicing hard boiled eggs’

OK, it’s not that hilarious but for some reason it still tickles my funny bone when I think of it. And there are many others but they are currently submerged in my sub-conscious and will not be making themselves known just yet. Some I may recall tomorrow, but others may not reveal themselves for years. That’s the worry of it.

So if you ever catch me grinning like a lunatic or guffawing about nothing in particular, you will know that I have been attacked by the pop-up memory syndrome.


Barbara(aka Layla) said...

:) these are funny, especially the gilmore one.

musicobsessive said...

Hey Barb, I'm glad I made you smile. Sounds like you needed it of late.