Living with…Roy Orbison…for a week
It was always going to be awkward spending a week with Roy Orbison. He is like the old friend that I grew up with, spent loads of time with in my teens and then neglected since for cooler, younger folk. Sorry ‘O’ – I did remember you all those years, I just didn’t write.
But that awkwardness passed as he soon became the familiar and comforting friend as if we’ve never been apart. This week at work could fairly be classified as one of those ones you want to forget – one where you turn to coffee, bacon and egg sandwiches and pepperoni pizzas to briefly console you as you just get through it all. I was reminded (and many thanks to swiss_german on twitter for the prompt) of the Swiss word buggeli (pronounced along the lines of boogie not the coarser alternative) – which means a bump on a ski slope. Sometimes you’re ready for them and they add to the enjoyment of your run, sometimes they take you out when you’re not experienced enough or paying attention and leaving you lying humiliated in a crumpled heap with bruised body, bruised ego and face bleeding from the sharp ice. That’s what this week has been like!
As I picked myself up from the ice the wistful and sometimes tragic melodies of Roy Orbison seemed fitting and appropriate – humming and whistling I’m hurtin, Running Scared and Only the Lonely seemed to capture it even if the lyrics weren’t quite right for the occasion.
Along with the Beatles, Hermans Hermits and Phil Spector, Roy Orbison played countless times on my turntable and the songs are so familiar that its difficult to pull out a favourite. He never made a truly great album so my listening is based this week on a collection of his singles through the years The Big ‘O’: The Original Singles Collection. My original worn greatest hits colllection on vinyl is sitting somewhere in the garage.
At the end of the week I had five revelations and realisations about the big ‘O’:
5. Roy Orbison was responsible for my very brief flirtation with dressing all in black. For a few teenage days I decided physically dressing in black was the way forward (although didn’t go as far as the shades). At the same time I bought a second-hand guitar , but within those few days it was clear I didn’t have any musical talent and all black made my long skinny frame look like a stick of licorice. The illusion was broken, at which stage my guitar was handed over to my brother and I reintroduced colour…
4. The look of Marvel Comics super-villain and Spider-Man’s arch-enemy, Dr. Octopus is said to be based on Roy Orbison. A connection that I’d never consciously made, but how apt that he should be the connection between my time in the world of Peter Parker and my world of music!
3. Roy Orbison’s next door neighbour was… Johnny Cash. Which makes it amazing that they never did anything substantial together. I’d like to think that they did pop around for a beer and the odd karaoke evening together or a strum on 12-string guitars on each other’s porches. Maybe one day they’ll discover some gem that they recorded together. The link between the men was clearly strong – in 1968 Roy Orbison’s house burnt down and two of his sons were tragically killed. The property was sold to Johnny Cash and he planted an orchard on it.
2. Roy Orbison is intrinsically linked to one of Britain’s greatest comic moments, which makes it very difficult to listen to Cwying, sorry I mean Crying without breaking in to a big grin. Of course, the cabaret rendition by Raquel and Tony Angelino in Only Fools and Horses. ( For the record only topped by Del Boy’s fall that follows the immortal words “Play it nice and cool son, play it nice and cool…you know what I mean”) You remember…
5. And finally, the revelation that Roy Orbison did NOT appear on The Muppet Show. I would have put 50p on it, in fact I can just visualise him performing with them now. A rendition of Pretty Woman with Miss Piggy just seems a natural thing to have happened. But there you go. He didn’t.
Thanks ‘O’ for the memories. And the guidance this week.
Glee Watch: No more on the gleeable/ ungleeable stakes. Britney music this week – clearly highly gleeable. And Emma appeared in lilac.
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