Life’s a long song

06 Nov

One of the joys of being unemployed (and I’m sure there are many – I just haven’t found them yet!) is that one’s spouse eventually comes to realise that hunting for jobs online doesn’t actually take all day and a list of “little jobs” that have needed doing for some time is brought, with great subtlety, to one’s attention.

Two years ago we had new windows fitted which replaced the dark brown wood frames with UPVC ones that are brown on the outside but white on the inside. Very nice they are too but we overlooked the fact that the old wooden window sills remained on the inside and were still brown. Not just brown varnish but a number of coats of Sadolin – a thick, tough brown paint meant really for exterior use.

Over the last two years our rolling decorating schedule has resulted in all of the downstairs sills and the one on the landing upstairs being stripped down and repainted in the ever-popular Brilliant White non-drip gloss.

So, it wasn’t TOO surprising that doing the four bedroom window sills soon appeared on that jobs list and I decided that, since it could best be done with everyone out of the house, I would tackle it and knock it off the list as soon as possible!

Now the thing about this thick brown paint is that even the “one coat” type of white gloss won’t cover it satisfactorily so I have to strip it down to the bare wood every time and to do that I use a thick gel paint stripper. This blisters the stuff off the wood in fairly short order enabling it to be removed with an ordinary scraper.

It’s very effective but it DOES have one side effect – it gives off fumes! And even with the windows open and quite a strong breeze blowing those fumes had quite an effect on me. While I could still do the work – stripping paint isn’t the most intellectually challenging job in the world – I found that I wanted to listen to loud music!

In this regard the effect was similar to that of over-indulgence in alcohol (not that I’ve experienced THAT lately) – right down to the hangover afterwards! I very quickly hooked up my mp3 player to a set of external speakers and was soon singing tunelessly along to a random selection of pop tunes from the last 45 years.

I’m sure I read somewhere long ago that indulgence in “chemical substances” is such that the type of music chosen while “under the influence” can, broadly speaking, be used to identify the substance.

Now I don’t know what the active element of paint stripper is but I found myself dissatisfied with the standard 2-3 minute tracks I was listening to and soon felt obliged to change the settings of the player away from the random selection it was running. I switched it to a playlist that I had set up many months ago for use on long car journeys – presumably by myself as I can’t see the rest of the family particularly liking it – comprising very long songs.

I classify “long” for this purpose as being anything over eight minutes – not, therefore, the sort of stuff you’ll often hear played on mainstream radio!

The first track to come on was by Golden Earring.

“Who?” I hear you ask!

“The Dutch prog-rock group most famous for ‘Radar Love’ “ I reply.

The track I was listening to and getting transported by was NOT ‘Radar Love’ nor any track from the excellent ‘Moontan’ album on which it appeared but was a cover version which I only discovered after I became aware that not all cover versions were BAD! (See my posting “Cover Versions” from 16th June 2009)

It lasts a few seconds short of NINETEEN MINUTES and is a strange, partly improvised, reworking of ‘Eight miles high’ by The Byrds and it seems to be rather great to listen to when stoned on paint stripper!

To reduce my productivity still further it was followed by Hawkwind’s ‘Shouldn’t do that’ (16 minutes) and ‘Shine on you Crazy Diamond’ by Pink Floyd (17 minutes)!

By the time those little epics had finished so had the paint stripping and when I put the lid back on the can the effects began to dissipate and I began to sober up. It still took a brisk walk down to the local country park to clear my head completely and I was pleased to find that I hadn’t gone too far down the avant garde music route.

I did not, for example, degenerate to the point where I wanted to listen to stuff like Captain Beefheart & his Magic Band – they shouldn’t sell ANY chemical products that might make you want to do THAT!

Apologies to my old school friend Hank for that last comment – he was kind enough to send me a copy of one of the Captain’s albums a while ago.

As for the title of this post, it was a track from a 1971 EP by Jethro Tull and, oddly enough, I don’t have a copy of it on my mp3 player.

It just seemed like a good idea!


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Posted by on November 6, 2009 in Uncategorized


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