My birthday is in mid January and usually I celebrate it in the late Spring. January is a month when some sad things have happened for me in years gone by, but this year I decided to take a different attitude to this miserable month and celebrate in January after all. My family have asked not to be shown in my blog, or I'd post some pictures, so you will have to take my word for it that it was really fun! K. made me this orange and polenta cake, as the recipe had caught her eye, and I can tell you it was DELICIOUS!
In fact, January has delivered some good days this month. On Sunday we went to help with one of V's performances, involving over an hour in the car with the twins and one of their friends. London is a terrible place to drive, but this was a complicated cross-city journey after the show that involved dropping the friend home somewhere out-of-the-way. So after a very exciting show, we loaded the kids into our car. They both suffer from car sickness so had to be dosed up with anti sickness pills first. Luckily, Friend didn't get car sick.
Actually she was Girl Twin's best friend until she moved away, so the two of them were having a great time and slightly leaving Boy Twin out, which irritated him, and so he started teasing them, which irritated them too. Added to this, Google had problems with the complicated route and began issuing crazy commands along the lines of "Turn left and then turn right and then turn left and turn left and turn left...." So as the noise level rose in the back and I tried to find our way and T tried not to swear in front of the little ones. I finally grabbed a couple of old CDs which have been sitting in the car for years, and put them on. Silence fell as these elderly CDs worked their magic and we all settled down to listen to the likes of "Boom Ooo Yatatata" from Morecambe and Wise, In case you don't know them, they were a traditional variety comedy act who were exceptionally popular on TV, and their Christmas Special was a centrepiece of the UK's Christmases until 1977. As soon as the track began, the kids stopped quarrelling, started listening and eventually began to sing along. At the end, they wanted it over again to sing along to it again.
None of the kids like the modern "Alvin and the Chipmunks" movie, but our CD tracks included a much gentler, older Chipmunk "Christmas Song" with Ros Bagdasarian (stage name David Seville). He was the first one to spot the true potential of speeded up tape recordings in the mid 1950s. The kids thought this song was very cute, and so it is.
But funny music hasn't disappeared - it's just different and often includes film and other visuals, which is only to be expected. Here's Big Shaq (comedian and rapper Michael Dapaah) in "Man's Not Hot" forced to help his mum while he's supposed to be living a hot glamorous life. So he's not hot. Which is why he wears that huge roadman coat all the time...
And Psy's "Gangnam Style" which was a global sensation in 2012. Now that's really impossible to classify, I'd say, and he's never managed to repeat his success. But that's what makes a real classic, I suppose.
Anyhow, to get back to our trip in the car, I always thought "The Teddy Bears Picnic" sounded a bit creepy in our CD's 90 year old recording by Henry Hall (below). Its extremely slow pace and low pitched accompaniment suggest to me that something awful might be about to happen, specially since it is "safer to stay at home." But the kids didn't seem to mind all that. It seemed to calm them down after their very exciting day and there was no quarrelling at all for the rest of the trip. So hurrah for vintage funny songs!
By the way, T, who used to work for the BBC, had a bit of broadcasting folklore about this version of "Teddy Bear's Picnic". It was the test disc for the 78 RPM players that the BBC used (and possibly still does use, since its older archive recordings have been recorded on shellac discs. ) The crucial bit is the xylophone, which apparently sounds all wrong if the machine isn't perfectly adjusted. So now you know.
Do you have any special funny songs?