Saturday, April 15, 2006

Tunes that ring a bell

Don't you just hate it when you phone a call centre or technical helpdesk and get that recorded message that gives you all those irritating options:

Press 1 for if you would like to receive Chinese water torture
Press 2 for electric shock treatment
Press 3 for the answer to the meaning of life
Press 4 to be put on hold

I pressed 3, but they put me on hold anyway. At this point you usually get some classical aria like Handel's Water Music or Vivaldi's Four Seasons to entertain you while you wait. But on this occasion it was Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells".

I suppose it's the sort of easy-on-the-ears repetitive jangle that you can listen to for the duration of your wait, without much chance of it going through your head for the rest of the day - unlike certain Ultravox songs.

With the highly overrated "Tubular Bells" it's effectively the same tune for the entire album with Oldfield the ultimate king of musical pretentiousness single-handedly playing every instrument. He's a fine musician and composer though. I personally think that "Moonlight Shadow" and "To France" are two of the greatest songs ever written, but he does have a tendency to take himself too seriously. He must be a multi-millionaire tax exile with a luxury yacht moored somewhere off the Swiss coast, but does anyone know what he actually looks like? I wouldn't recognise him if I saw him in the street. He could ring my doorbell and pass himself off as a dodgy second-hand car salesman and I wouldn't know any better.

Another bestselling musician who basks in such anonymity is Enya, who refuses to go on tour, but at least people know what she looks like. I'm reminded here of an article in one of the Sunday papers a few years ago on Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon". I do like the Floyd, but I think DSOTM isn't quite as good as it's made out to be. Personally, I prefer the more psychedelic Syd Barrett stuff - "Piper at the Gates of Dawn" et al. Anyway, this article pointed out the anomaly the DSOTM is one of the biggest selling albums of all time, yet the members of Pink Floyd could walk down the street and not be recognised. They could easily be mistaken for estate agents.

This in turns reminds me of the time last summer when on board a train between Harrogate and Leeds I spotted a bloke who bore an uncanny resemblance to Dave Gilmour. Then the very next day it was announced that Pink Floyd would be reforming for the Live8 concert. Spooky or what? I'm pretty sure that if I'd ventured into the next carriage there would have been a Roger Waters lookalike sitting there.

What's even weirder is that I was in the pub last night and shortly after last orders "Tubular Bells" got played. A mildly interesting coincidence perhaps? But, wait for it and brace yourself. Can you guess what song came after this? Yes, straight up, this is 100% true. Fucking "Vienna".


Caroline said...

Unfortunately Tubular Bells always makes me think of demon possessed bile vomitting tatty haired foul mouthed teenage girls. It was one of those concept sort of albums like Dark Side of the Moon (which may well be no big shakes judged by modern technology but at the time it was produced it was quite an achievement. There was an interesting documentary on it's making shown a few years ago.) and yes Mike Oldfield is a clever dick although most of his stuff is incredibly boring. One good tune per album perhaps, other than Earth Moving - which might have as many as 3 if you drink enough - and Tubular Bells I & II which need to be listened to in their totality to be appreciated. I hope the length of Tubular Bells I wasn't how long you had to wait in the queue. I hate those switchboards but I've been told that if you dont push any buttons and just act stupid, a real person answers the phone. I really pity elderly people who's patience is bound to be waning even more than mine, having to fiddle pushing buttons just to get to talk to someone. Good job phones bounce eh...

I bet they put Vienna on to get everybody to drink up and go home.

CW said...

Caroline, this means nothing to me.

I've just been watching a documentary on Channel 4 about the depiction of the gospels in film. They did a piece on the Exorcist -can you guess what music they played in the background?

BTW you say you saw a documentary on Dark side of the Moon a few years ago. I saw one on the BBC a few weeks ago as far as I can recall - so either it was a repeat or I've slept in for a few years.

Caroline said...

Haaa!! Thanks to you I'm really starting to hate that song! :)

Probably a repeat... that's about all Pink Floyd are good for these days!

Antonio from Italy said...

A worrying coincidence indeed! Or maybe the two songs, TB and Vienna are bound together.
Caroline is right, if you don't press any button upon choices you'll be put through a real person.
Oh... Swiss has no coastline, so I don't know where to dock my own yacht ;-)

Thanks for visiting and commenting my blog!
Happy Easter to you!

Antonio from Italy said...

Switzerland has no coastlines, not Swiss... Of course :-)

CW said...

Did I say Switzerland? Sorry, I meant Austria.

Antonio from Italy said...

Oh yes, Austria. Now it's much clearer!
And thanks for the link!!!
I just returned the kindness, hope I'm not too late ;-)

CW said...

You're never too late Antonio!
Thanks for rhe reciprocation. Happy Easter Monday!

Antonio from Italy said...

Happy Easter Monday to you too, Ciaran!

Anonymous said...

I am soooo pleased you have moved on from this obsession with Ultravox and the drearily oversentimental Vienna/Dancing with Tears thing. I love Pink Floyd 'The Wall' particularly the track Comfortably Numb which seems to be about being detatched from reality and not affected by emotions, environment etc, just in your own world.....I used to play it a lot when I had to sit alone and study. Then again it may just be about injecting drugs, who knows.

With the nightmare recorded phone messages I have found it helps to choose the option that you are considering ending your account with the company or have a payment query...they tend to put you through faster. Either this or do nothing at all and then you get reception eventually. I have a colleague who sings (very badly) along with the music himself whilst on hold...oddly enough he always gets put through quickly which makes me wonder if reception can hear the callers waiting....maybe you should try this method - I am sure one line of 'Vienna' and they would be begging you to stop.

CW said...

Anonymous, (or should I say Lorraine?), it seems that what goes around comes around.

Lorainne said...

Cheers for the response dude....yes it was indeed Lorainne...nice to know my comments are being noticed.

CW said...

12 comments on a single post - 13 if you count this one! It's an all-time record for the Dreaming Armadillo! Please keep them coming, folks!

Anonymous said...

Hey, its Lorainne again. I think I deserve some commission as your publicity agent as I detect a marked increase in contributions since my imput began. However I am writing this not as egocentric self praise (yes really) but because having 13 comments on a posting is very very unlucky.