Living with…Simon and Garfunkel…for a week

For all their musical talents it’s Simon and Garfunkel’s dodgy moments that I’m celebrating this week while listening to 1970’s Bridge Over Troubled Water.  Dodgy being defined as follows…

Furry moments

Ever since my first glimpse of an album cover from the dulcet duo in the early 70s I have  questioned their furry moments,

Let’s start with the Bridge Over Troubled Water cover- have you not wondered why the Beatles crossing Abbey Road has been analysed in to the ground but serious questions have never been asked about the position adopted below.

Why has Paul Simon decided to take on the form of a rather large droopy moustache on Art Garfunkel’s face?  Dare I say is this A MEXICAN moment?  Is there some symbolism that we should be reading in to this, or did they just choose a particularly bad photographer?

The later cover for their original greatest hits seems to attempt a differct tack to the earlier work mixing extreme furriness with a lovely signature piece on Mr Simon’s head…

A  pocket full of mumbles such are promises

In the summer of 1983 I set off with three friends on a ‘grand’ tour of Scandinavia and the lowlands.  A tan Ford Escort Popular was our carriage, and armed with a minimal budget we misguidedly believed Sweden was the place to go because we’d heard that they allowed you to camp in the wild for free.  Which was true.

However, nothing else was free as we soon discovered on the journey.  We survived the holiday on a solid diet of the cheapest burgers and hot dogs we could find.  The lingering memories that I have are of amazingly beautiful landscape accompanied with stomach aches and amazingly persistent insect bites.  There are a lot of midges around the lakes of Sweden, which I guess also came for free with the camping deal.

The Escort had no cassette player so we brought a portable one with three cassettes for the three weeks. Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, Kid Creole and the Coconuts’ Tropical Gangsters and the dulcet duo’s Greatest Hits.  The songs from all three of these are hardwired in to my soul – the only variety that we had was to slide the tone from bass to treble and back again.  You’d be amazed how much we did that to introduce variety.

And what was dodgy about all this?  Whenever I hear the Boxer I have a flashback to a dark and dingy street in Hamburg where we stopped on the long haul to Denmark.  Nothing untoward happened – we must have stopped for a hamburger in Hamburg – and it was disappointingly dodgy.

Move on, no rabbits here to see…

You will know that I am the first to celebrate the musical capacity of football fans (and particularly Brighton ones – I love our current Elliott Bennett number to the Hearbeat theme).  But my heart sinks when I hear our rendition of Art Garfunkel’s Bright Eyes transposed to Bright…on.  Seagulls fans singing this after a few beers understandably can’t match the beautiful tones of Mr Garfunkel’s voice, so its probably best left alone.

However, it is worthwhile catching up with the original version from Terry Garroghan’s excellent Brighton The Musical which ran for many years in Sussex, and I gather is not currently around.  It included such classics as Hove (to the tune of Vogue) and the song the Spice Girls never wrote, Patcham Wannabe.

Below though is Brighton including the immortal lines  “Crawley is not too far”…listen, it will make sense.

Musical slaughter

Come on…admit it.  Even those who will hold their hands up to no musical ability at all in their adult years will confess to dabbling in the recorder when we were younger.  For some strange reason, schools have always insisted that children pick up a recorder and toot out some popular tunes.  If the Head really wanted to make the music teacher suffer, they would ask the children to play the recorders all together as an emsemble.  Maybe Head teachers don’t like music teachers.  We had a recorder tune book for both the Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel.  I particularly liked playing The Sound of Silence.  And now I apologize to Paul Simon for what I did to that beautiful song.  What I did should never be broadcast, even after the 9 o’clock watershed – it was beyond dodgy.

Cover me

Which leads me of course on to the subject of cover versions which is where the worst dodgy damage will always be done to great artistes.  Below are just a few that you may want to dip in to.

Normally the use of pan pipes signifies a high dodgy count but with El Condor Pasa that’s not really a fair call, after all Paul Simon nicked it from the pan pipers in the first place.  But how about a hen accompaniment?  Only the Muppets could pull that off, and only the Great Gonzo could pull off the magic words “I’d rather be a pancake than a sneeze…”

Suggs has had his moments – Cecilia wasn’t one of them.

And finally the Charade’s version of Keep The Customer Satisfied. It’s actually OK musically – but its my favourite period piece in terms of furriness that outdoes the dulcet duo; the wonderful sweaters and hang on to the end for the dancers that fair block out the singers and of course the snappy presenter!

Bridge Over Troubled Water

I love the album Bridge Over Troubled Water as you love a parent – I can’t remember life without it and I know it so well that I glow in anticipation of my favourite bits, and my hackles rise at the bits that annoy me.  (“Architects may come and architects may go” – what the hell’s that about? Because it’s not about Frank Lloyd Wright.)  We don’t see each other as much as we used to, but it was great to spend a week together.

Gleewatch – no competition for highlight of the week.  That would be the Barbara Streisand flash mob scene in the shopping mall…BIG 🙂

Twotes of the Week

@IncrediblyRich: Fairy Tales do come true:

@TonyCowards: At school I used to mix up the tropics of Capricorn and Cancer, my Geography teacher said that I had a latitude problem.

@JackieHartpdc: Quote: ‘Don’t wait for the light to appear at the end of the tunnel, stride down there and light the bloody thing yourself’. Sara Henderson

@yokohnono Visualise the sound of an old grey billy-goat ignoring a lighthouse. Draw it on a leaf, put it in your mouth and swallow. How does it taste?

@prodnose: “It seems as though Arsenal’s title challenge is officially over!” I say easy there Sky. Any thoughts on the Lib-Dems at the next election?