Once More With Meaning

It’s all well and good to step up on that stage and sing your little earnest heart out. However, it’s another thing entirely to know deep down that there’s a good and solid reason for doing so. Now, please don’t think of me as being remotely patronising when I ask you this, but are you simply doing it all for attention? Do you want the girls and boys to stop what they’re doing, prick up their ears and focus every last scrap of their awareness squarely on you?

Perhaps your decision making process has been swayed by the lure of reality television. You’ve noticed the poignant back stories of hopefuls on various shows we’re not going to give the oxygen of publicity by naming. They pour out their allotted streams of woes and then step into the spotlight. The music wells up to the point that they absolutely cannot hold it in even so much as a moment longer. But there are plenty of other reasons for singing that a cheap grab at fame.

How about the fortune portion? If you’re employed as a professional singer, from popular, jazz to operatic you may not take too much pause contemplating the meaning behind your notes. Or perhaps, this is a more compelling reason that most to really think deep about the precise ins and outs of your occupation. Sure, you’re quite literally singing for your supper (and to pay that expensive rent I’ve been hearing so much bile about) but there has to be more to it than that, right?

Who are you when you’re singing? Are you inhabiting a character using song as an outlet to nurse a broken heart? Or someone else entirely who has experienced another form of betrayal – they may even have a natty prop sword protruding from their theatrically aimed armpit. What does it all mean? Oh, and take two.

Song choices courtesy of: Find Cape. Wear Cape. Fly and Monty Python

Classy Secrets

We know that the Russian government, or perhaps just Putin in particular, has something significant on Trump. Maybe they have a delicious titbit of carrot spurring Donald on like the good little donkey he is. I’m sure they can offer up all varieties of temptation for the type of person where number one always comes before any country he happens to be running. But that’s just not really enough to justify Big D’s behaviour. There’s something more nefarious going on here.

I’m sure the dossier of revealing evidence is comprehensive and bursting at the seams. And yet I simply hope that it’s not as sordid as we might have previously been led to expect. I mean, that whole thing about the scantily clad professional ladies of the night and the sequence of events that climaxed (unfortunate word usage there, I do apologise) with golden showers in a bed the Obamas previously patronised, that was just a hoax, right?

There’s no way that sort of thing could be true, surely? It’s precisely the kind of salacious rumour that gains traction because of how ridiculous it is. Like that whole David Cameron and the pig corpse situation that almost certainly didn’t really happen but we all hope it did. Because funny. However, I’m absolutely sure that, despite of all previous appearances, Donald wouldn’t indulge in anything like that.

He’s hiding all sorts of thoroughly noble stuff from the general public. Saving orphans, swathes of charitable giving, protecting the little guy from the crushing weight of the world and opposition. He couldn’t possibly let any of that ruin the image he’s worked so hard to cultivate. Which is why it’s so very galling that Putin chooses now to hold it all over him. Sad! But what can he do, he has to keep sucking up because otherwise the next leak might spill all those very classy beans.

Song choices courtesy of: The Lumineers and the Piano Guys

Seven Years Time Bomb

Some of you will be automatically reaching for something of an itch. Your conditioned mind sprang headfirst towards stale relationships and wayward eyes began to scope out the closest slice of tasty competition. I could go on and may well circle back to it if I manage to run out of other things to say. However, my longest relationship (the current one so with a wing and a prayer I’ll reach the mythical alarm point) hasn’t reached the three year mark so I can’t imagine I have much to say about roving eyes and the hackneyed attempts at justifications of them because monogamy is like, so tough.

But maybe I threw you off with the seven year timeline. Seven isn’t the number that everyone’s been chucking around today with positively casual abandon. It’s Brexit day, the pound’s driven itself off a cliff once again and we’ve saddled ourselves with a ticking clock to get all those pesky negotiations out the way with. In just twenty four short months’ time (or ever so slightly longer if we can get everyone else to agree on an extension. How about an indefinite one?), we’ll emerge from that constrictive union with some variety of scribbled out deal.

There are those who are very ready to tell you that this will spell our certain doom. Well, they’d be right but not quite straight away. It takes a little longer for everything to crumble into dust. We’ll struggle on for as long as humanly possible because Brits don’t quit. Apart from ejecting the whole damn country from the EU. Because we were told it would mean savings for the health service and that fewer immigrants would come over and steal your hard won opportunities for jobs you don’t actually want to do.

So peeps, it time to crack out the timers. Ignore the two year one everyone else is so fixated on and add another five. Because that’s when it’s going to get spicy.

Song choices courtesy of: Norah Jones and Old 97s

Your Own Starry Eyed Thought Bubbles

We established this a very long time ago, you’re a wistful little button of idealism and this post truth laden alternatively factual darkest timeline that we’re currently slogging through is somewhat getting you down. It would be utterly fatuous of me to simply tell you not to let it. Then, for me to stroll away, hands in pocket, whistling a jaunty tune, would do nothing but to rub salt into that fresh wound (especially as I am tone deaf – I’m definitely not going to make too much of the fact that I just realised I mistyped ‘death’ there instead – and largely incapable of whistling, nonchalant or otherwise).

You need to offer up more wisdom than simply the nugget of don’t do that thing you’re finding it impossible not to. It’s like blithely suggesting that I don’t worry. Not going to happen. Instead, try and focus on the positives that are definitely still going down in your life. Less than excellent personal circumstances are not going to dispel those starry eyed thought bubbles entirely.

Rather than just desperately holding onto the few instances of happy that your brain is latching onto you’re going to have to do more. Think of fluffy little puppies, no, not the ones rolling around in oil spills, they’re not going to do anything to improve your mood. They’ll be inextricably linked with sad pelicans forevermore.

We have to cast about for something impossible to sully with environmental catastrophes. So pretty much anything natural is almost certainly out. Polar bears are far too depressing to contemplate. Kittens grow up into claw wielding maniacs, flowers wither and die even when the global temperatures aren’t soaring to unprecedented levels. Anticipated television is bound to disappoint. It’s probably a far better plan to dive into a realm of fantasy where you’re in charge of everything and the bad monsters can’t actually hurt you.

Song choices courtesy of: The Verve, Ellie Goulding and Vincent Rodriguez III

Music For Your Rat

It’s so very easy to get thoroughly self conscious once you start sharing your musical or otherwise tastes with someone you care about. You anxiously try not to sneak looks in their general direction in an effort to gauge their response to whatever it is you enjoy so much. Then you get uncomfortable sitting about on tenterhooks until they deign to give you some variety of opinion.

What can make it all that much harder is when that audience member whose approval you so very much desire lacks the general capacity to communicate with you. Even if someone were to say that the track you played was ‘fine’ you would be able to glean from their tone and body language that they’re a dirty filthy liar with no appreciation for art. If they’re rather more animal in disposition a twitch of the whiskers is so very enigmatic by comparison.

So you may have formed something of a general idea as to what music your pets prefer (howling, moaning, scratching at the door in an effort to escape are subtle hints that the beloved animal in question probably ins’t one hundred per cent into that Nickelback CD you insisted on putting on). However, it’s impossible to know for certain what sort of music you should be playing for your, just by way of random example, beloved rat.

By all means, take the time to do the requisite research. Subject it to all manner of personality tests to find out if it’s a funky rat or a pop rat or one who’s terribly excited to explore that indie scene we’ve all been hearing so much about. Keep it soft, set the mood or it’s probably better to avoid the region of date music so it might be that much better to opt for something a little more country. You know how well he rocks a tiny cowboy hat.

Song choices courtesy of: Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Polica and Christophe Beck

Tearing Down the Semi-charmed Prologue

Absolutely everyone wants you to be impressed by their origin story. Perhaps they felt the need to add one or two embellishments because who’s going to be remotely moved by the tale of a middle class kid with a largely uneventful home life? Where are the towering obstacles to be overcome? Why couldn’t you have included a few exciting inciting incidents to keep people awake all the way to the end of your tale?

So you embroidered an anecdote that admittedly didn’t quite pan out that way. And then you lifted something terribly interesting you heard from someone else secure in your self knowledge that no one else was going to have heard of it before. You weaved the fairy tale tapestry and repeated it so often that you even began to believe the white lies to be the truth. Even I’m not completely sure as to whether or not I actually saw the ghost of a Victorian chambermaid crying in the bath (in a house that was built in the 90s).

But then those pesky officious fact checkers started coming out in full force. They insisted on testing statements for veracity. They had the nerve to denounce things as lies just because they were unable to back them up with anything resembling evidence. The sheer nerve!

So what do you do when you’ve been outed as a liar, a charlatan, a two bit con man with delusions of grandeur? Oh so many options open to you. It’s perfectly possible that you’d feel justified in stamping your little feet, shaking your tiny fists at the detractors and condemning them as saboteurs of glory. You could stand by your mounting hill of bullshit and insist that everyone agree with you that you’re precisely who you say you are. Or, you could hold up your hands and admit that you were attempting to pull the wool over certain people’s eyes, that you got ever so slightly carried away and are sorry now. What to do?

Song choices courtesy of: Red Wanting Blue, Third Eye Blind and Mark Mothersbaugh

We Did the Team Building Like This

Trust falls just aren’t interesting any more. We’ve heard all the laboured metaphors before. You and your motley crew of immediate colleagues are a living breathing single organism, you’re a machine smoothly operating together in harmony, you are cohesive a solar system orbiting one another and marvelling at one another’s celestial wakes. Or words to that effect. At this point, the motivational speakers are resorting to random word generators in the desperate hope of coming up with a fresh view point.

Team building hospitality has been a booming industry. Turning expensive activities like paintball into corporate team building events was a master stroke. No longer did the lovely chaps from finance and sales have to muck together attempting to cross imaginary rivers with nothing but a few planks of wood or pretending that the blindfold games weren’t just a little bit weird. Instead, for a tidy fee, all the stuffy suits could gambol about the countryside shooting whatever they wanted or zipping through the air with the greatest of ease.

But where do you go from there? You can’t keep going bigger, better and flashier until trips into space are a wee bit less expensive. It’s the only way they have these days to draw in those incredibly easily distracted millennials – sure, they’ll take you abseiling down the Shard but look at us, we hold a yearly music festival as an attempt to make you bond with the men upstairs.

Why is team building even a thing? Why can’t we just get shut away in our cubicles? We can plug away at whatever our day jobs happen to be, rush out the door the very moment the clock tells you it’s alright to go and keep chugging away until we meet the retirement finish line in spite of the fact that the government keeps moving the goalposts away. It’s their attempt at gamification, extending the achievement or some such nonsense. That being said, I’d totally be up for it if my company wanted to pay for me to go on a jolly to a falconry range in the name of team building.

Song choices courtesy of: Mark Mothersbaugh, Michael Giacchino and Elbow