Richard Herring: Honestly, no thank you for the music
I have never been a massive fan of music. As a kid, when all my idiotic friends were buying Haircut One Hundred LPs, I was listening to Pete and Dud’s filthy Dagenham Dialogues and learning Monty Python sketches off by heart.
Yes, maybe the lads with a Nick Heyward got all the girls at the time, but my perfect rendition of the Spanish Inquisition sketch would lead to me eventually getting off with Gwyneth Paltrow… Oh no, hold on, that was John Hannah in Sliding Doors.
Even if there are infinite alternate universes, nobody in any of them has ever got a woman into bed by doing a spot-on impression of Cardinal Biggles. ‘No one expects the Spanish Inquisition… in fact those who do expect it…’ Getting you hot ladies? No? But it’s such an obscure quote. That I didn’t even have to look up. Never have so many women been simultaneously turned off. Yeah, get off with the blokes who can quote: ‘Where do I go from here? Is it down to the lake I fear?’ They’re much cooler.
And I never really understood the big deal with dancing. I don’t like doing it myself, unless I am very drunk. I certainly don’t get any pleasure from watching someone else dancing. That’s weird. Why would anyone pay money to watch an adult dance? Just moving around in a rhythmical fashion. It’s the worst medium for artistic expression. We’ve got language now. If you’ve got something to say, just tell me what it is with words. I don’t want to offend any professional dancers reading this, but you’re wasting your own time and everyone else’s.
I can’t be the only one who watches Footloose and hopes that John Lithgow will stop Kevin Bacon ever dancing again. And also prevent him from doing those excruciating phone adverts.
But sometimes even my hard Skeletor-like heart can be melted. I was walking by Hammersmith roundabout on a dull non-fantastic day. The traffic was held up at the lights and loud music was coming from the open windows of one car.
Usually you’d expect to look up and see some arrogant young man subjecting the world to his awful taste while clearly compensating for some sexual deficiency. But this music had little bass and was upbeat and life-affirming. And the car it came from contained four young women who were all dancing, hands aloft and wiggling on their bums. To see such an unbridled expression of joy in the grey city made even me smile. I am old and hate free expression of all kinds, but for once even I didn’t feel envious and bitter. I might have even danced a little myself. Kevin Bacon had won again.
Later, in a Tube station, I passed a busker singing Fly Me To The Moon, loudly and out of tune. He was hoping to get money from passers-by for this slaughtering of a song that had arguably died a natural death already. My misanthropy returned.
The girls in the car had at least been giving it all away for free but this guy was committing grievous aural harm and expecting me to pay him. My heart hardened and dropped out of my Skeletor-rib cage and I wondered if it was acceptable to take money out of the guitar cases of abysmal buskers.
If I strapped a rocket to him and shot him into space, I could at least argue I was only doing what he’d requested.