Song #5617: Departuregate

This is a recording taken from an event I spoke at late last year – the week after I had chased a Canadian girl to the airport in order to declare my affections.

I had written down the conversation she and I had had on the phone from opposite sides of passport control on my phone as I travelled back from Heathrow Terminals 1,2 & 3 to Leicester Square (if nothing else, to stop me from texting the girl in question whilst I waited for the train to go underground and kill my signal) and didn’t quite know what to do with it.

Obviously re-enacting it almost verbatim in public was the natural answer – and lo, that is what came to pass.

The part of Kate is played here by the thoroughly wonderful Muireann Carey-Campbell a.k.a. Bangs and a Bun, who blogs here and tweets here. I’m sure you’ll agree she gives a wonderful performance – all the more impressive when you learn I handed her the transcript about three minutes before she came on stage.

There’s a transcript below in case you have trouble hearing anything:

Chapter 36: Last Call

Message Sent – 12:36
Right, I’m only going to wish you a safe and happy journey as far as Heathrow. If you’re still determined to leave the country, you’re on your own…x

Message Received – 12:54
No! Wish me well after Heathrow too! I’m superstitious!xxx

Message Sent – 13:15
Hmm. Maybe. I’m not sure. I’ll decide when you’ve made it to Heathrow x

Message Received – 15:06
You jinxed me! I just had the most cursed time because a) I had too much baggage and b) it was overweight. YOUR FAULT!xxx

Message Sent – 15:06
Where are you?x

Outgoing Call – 15:07

“Where are you?”


“Where are you?”

“The departure lounge.”

“You’ve gone through security?”

“It’s been horrible. My bags were so heavy, I ended up getting a taxi. One was so heavy they said they wouldn’t let it on the plane. I had to beg them to…”

“Kate. Have you gone through security?”

“Yeah… Why?”



“I’m, erm… outside.”

“You’re where?”


“I can’t hear you.”



“I’m at Heathrow.”

“You’re joking?”

“Erm. No.”

“You’re joking with me? You’re at Heathrow?”

“Erm. Yes.”


“I… To say goodbye.”

“You’re joking?”

“No. Not joking.”

“You’re kidding me?”

“No. I’m not. I’m at Zone D.”


“I’m at Zone D.”

“Shut up. You’re joking.”

“I’m not! I’ll prove it.”

Call Ended – 15:09

Message Sent – 15:09
Attachment 1.jpg  A picture of Departures 3 Terminal

Incoming Call – 15:10

“Oh my God.”




“You’re there now?”

“Well, yeah. Here. Right now.”


“Don’t worry, I was just sort of… Well, I wasn’t passing but I was sort of on the Piccadilly Line and saw Heathrow and thought I might… I don’t know. I was waiting by the bit where people come out from the tube. I thought you’d come past.”

“Oh my God. I feel terrible.”

“Sorry. I shouldn’t have mentioned it.”

“That is so sweet. I can’t believe you did that.”

“Oh, it was no trouble. It’s fine.”

“Yeah, but still…”



“Look, I’d better go. There’s no real sense in me hanging around here.”


“This is a bit weird now, isn’t it? Sorry. I shouldn’t have said anything.”

“I can’t believe you came all the way down here just to see me. I feel awful.”

“No, honestly. Don’t feel bad. You mustn’t. That is the exact opposite reaction of what I was hoping to achieve. The point was for it to be a nice surprise.”


“I’m going to go now. Head back.”

“OK. Please, please, please stay in touch.”

“I will. Of course I will.”

“Promise me.”

“I promise.”

“It would mean a lot.”

“I will, but I really should go.”

“OK… Well, bye, I guess.”

“Yeah. I’ll speak to you soon.”


“Let me know that you get back OK.”

“I will.”

“Safe flight.”


“Bye, Kate.”


Call Ended – 15:12

Message Received – 15:28
I don’t know anyone else who would spend all day on the tube to come and say goodbye. You’re so sweet.

(She’s big on kisses this girl!)

This was an hour and a half ago. You are now on your way to meet your family…


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Songs #464, 3272 & 4098: The Prevalence Of Rita In Pop

NB: Pedants, before you point it out, I do know that the Jude of Hey Jude is Julian Lennon (therefore, Jude = boy) but Jude is as much a girl’s name as it as a boy’s. I agree I could have perhaps titled the top circle a little more accurately – as, strictly, the Beatles didn’t sing about a girl named Jude – but what is done is done. I have already wasted enough time on this.

The Beatles – Lovely Rita
from “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”

Lou Bega – Mambo No. 5
from “A Little Bit Of Mambo”

R. Kelly & Public Announcement – She’s Got That Vibe
from “Born Into The 90s”

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Song #455/360: Beawitched

Of all my terrible habits, I imagine that it’s probably my constant music-making which is the most annoying.

There are friends of mine who flat-out refuse to watch films with me because they know an hour and a half will rarely pass where I won’t start drumming out a pointless rhythm on my ribs. The bassline to Mary Jane Girls’ All Night Long regularly gets lodged in my head and I’ve only just recovered from a two year curse where every single day, without fail, I would catch myself mumbling a line or two from Free From Desire by Gala. I only need to hear the word “Vengabus” and both mine and my flatmate’s week is ruined.

(We’re thrilled that the bendy buses have been pulled off the roads in London if for no other reason than there will be fewer chances for me to mishear the word in everyday conversation)

Worst and weirdest of all though is my propensity to combine songs. Like a series of short and poorly thought through DJ sets, there are pairs of songs which I have cut and shut together into ten second megamixes that will remain permanently fixed in my mind no matter how hard I try to break them back apart again.

The first one I remember splicing was The Nolan Sisters’ I’m In The Mood For Dancing mixed with (and it is quite specifically his version) Phil Collins’ You Can’t Hurry Love.

Now whenever I hear “I’m in the mood for dancing / Romancing…” the track seamlessly crossfades in my mind to “…It’s a game of give and take / You can’t hurry love / No, you’ll just have to wait” etc

If you’re struggling to imagine what it sounds like, this is a rough approximation:

It happens with lots of others – more often than not with songs that feature in adverts for compilation CD sets – and it ruins a number of perfectly good songs for me (and anyone unlucky enough to catch me singing them over and over again). None, however, is more upsetting to me than The Beatles and B*Witched.

Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is an album which (in rotation with The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds and The Beatles’ Revolver) is often declared the Greatest Album Of All Time. Sadly, I will never be able to understand this, or love it in the way that critics, fans and others love it – and it’s all because of B*Witched.


This is why:

I wish I could help it. I really, really wish I could. Nothing would make me happier than to hear the words “It’s wonderful to be here / It’s certainly a thrill…” and then follow them up with “…You’re such a lovely audience”, but I can’t do it.

No matter how hard I try, no matter how many times I listen to the original, it’s always “…We’re not nice / We’re cool as ice /  We’ll give you such a chill.”

Keavy. Edele. Lindsay. Sinéad. Not only have you clearly plagiarised the melody of the bridge of Sgt. Pepper’s, but you have ruined what is widely considered to be the best music of all time for me.

Thanks a fucking bunch.

And to think, I once used to fancy you all…

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Song #392 – The Break-in

During my seven very celibate years of secondary school, I made myself a vow.

Too many times I’d seen girls – girls that I was wildly in love with – going out with awful men; braying, brutish arseholes who didn’t appear to appreciate them in the slightest. Every time I saw it happen (and I saw it happen a lot) I would sit and think to myself, “If that was my girlfriend, I wouldn’t be like that. If that was me, it would be roses, it would be chocolates, it would be champagne. I would spoil a girl like that.”

And so, sat alone in my sixth form common room, I made myself  vow: When I get a girl like that, I will spoil her rotten. That is what I will do.

Then I got to university. Continue reading

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Song #5719: Results Night

I have been in precisely one fight in my entire life. It took place on the night I got my A-Level results. With my best friend. Who was sleepwalking at the time.

He won.

What had happened was this. In the weeks and months between finishing our exams and getting the results, my friend had been suffering from some unfortunate spates of somnambulism. These incidents were mainly lavatorial in nature. Most often he would sleepily stumble his way to a wardrobe, or a potplant, or the foot of someone else’s bed and mistake it for a toilet. Unpleasant though that was, it caused us to take swift and sensible action. You don’t need to see a great deal of piss before you learn how to handle a sleepwalker.

This, from what I understand, is not an uncommon thing for people to do in their sleep. What marked his episodes out as being particularly peculiar was the fact that he had them in character. This friend, whilst staggering about in his sleep, would have a subconscious alterego that took him over. During these spells, he would refer to himself continually as Derek and would only ever respond to that name. If you tried to call him by his actual birthname, you would get a curt “Derek!” in reply. Continue reading

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Songs #276 – 352: On Learning To Love DJs

I’ve undergone something of an about turn on DJs in the last five or so years.

Probably as a result of hating everything I ever heard played in a club when I was growing up, I always felt that DJs had nothing to offer me. Almost everywhere in my hometown played an identical, indiscriminate combination of chart house, RnB and covers of 80s ballads reinterpreted for synthesiser and soprano, and such was the social stigma attached to our local rock club that you’d have had a better chance of successfully organising a soggy biscuit knockout tournament than a night out in there.

As a result, it wasn’t really until I was leaving university that I realised that there were DJs who would put on nights where they’d play disco, or soul, or indie, or metal, or big band swing. It turned out I’d been going to loads of these nights, but I hadn’t really thought of the people putting on the music as DJs. I just thought that the bar staff at these places had really good taste. Continue reading

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Song #267 – Mis-Steps

Like a great number of the people who populate this planet, I am, it’s fair to say, a massive hypocrite – something I became fully aware of at some point in the late 90s.

Around that time, I was a big fan of twee indie-pop band Ooberman. Now, whether or not the “street team” phenomenon had being going on for years beforehand and I simply hadn’t noticed I couldn’t tell you with any authority, but it seemed to me that the way you showed your appreciation for a band at that time was not to buy a T-shirt or join a fan club (though, feasibly, I suppose you could have done) but, instead, to join a street team.

Street teams were groups of fans who would go out – either individually or as a group –  to promote your singles, albums and gigs on your behalf in exchange for special freebies. If you were a band with no imagination, then you would usually get your fans to print out a few flyers, scatter them on the tables of their local live music venues and offer them a pin badge or two for their troubles. Ooberman, however, had much grander idea.

They wanted to bring down Steps. Continue reading

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