Sunday, December 05, 2004

Teacher, leave those kids alone (II) 

Problems with The Boss

It's not every day that you can say that you've been publicly humiliated by Bruce Springsteen. Perhaps large, soulless corporations or the state of New Jersey can, but it rarely, if ever, happens to me; that is, until Springsteen humiliated me last week. I own a personal CD player but when I'm out walking, which is often, or travelling I've lately taken to carrying a personal radio with me instead because I enjoy the sheer variety of music and discussions on the airwaves - I've found that even the best CD that I've ever burned eventaully gets a bit stale. There are about ten or so stations that I regularly scan, channel-surfing until I find music I like or a discussion that interests me, which is totally mood-dependent - classic rock sits equally well with classic opera. Far be it for me to scream 'conspiracy' here, but I've noticed that separate stations on different bands seem to play similar or even identical tracks as their rivals, often within a few minutes of each other. When we're talking the most recent number one this is understanable, expected even, like a group of monkeys with typewriters producing Shakespeare, but with older or perhaps more obscure music - my comfort zone in other words - it becomes more apparent that something is going on. Perhaps even, stations have 'research' staff who monitor their rivals' output in the manner that GCHQ and the NSA monitored Soviet signals traffic in the Cold War. Please, if you don't hear from me again, assume that there is a conspiracy in operation and that I've been silenced by the Jewish cabal or whoever it is that runs the media these days; on reflection, perhaps it would save the time and resources of the police if you were to direct the constabulary to Rupert Murdoch. I am, however, digressing from the point I wish to make.

Starting when I was walking on a Sunday evening, and extending through to Wednesday night, I noticed that all these different stations were seemingly engaged in a Bruce Springsteen marathon. This, in and of itself, is no bad thing but it's certainly a noticeable phenomenon. Secret Garden, Born to Run and Dancing in the Dark were played once and Thunder Road, Nebraska and Brilliant Disguise were played twice, with the latter being played on two different stations within minutes of each other. There was also one other track that I couldn't remember which was annoying me, as by this stage I was compiling a list. It's worth noting that these songs had to have been played in the early mornings, late afternoon/evening or later at night for me to have heard them because I'm at school in the daytime and I don't listen to the radio in the house - these tracks had to be played when I was out with my radio, which amounts to a formidable concentration of Springsteen airplay. Try as I might, I couldn't remember the track whose name I needed to make the list complete, to the point where I wasn't sleeping and I was off my food. I knew, however, that if I let my brain get on with it, it would eventually relinquish the missing article in the same way it provides me with names, faces and song lyrics. It also does alapha-numeric combinations which means if you do a hit and run on me then you'd better finish the job lest I report your number plate. Bruce Springsteen goes in for practical jokes and public humiliation, and he make a complete fool of me in a Standard Grade Religious Studies class and my fourteen and fifteen-year-olds were most surprised when I leapt to my feet in an Archimedian 'Eureka!' moment and shouted 'I'm On Fire!' How they mocked me.

Later, leaving school that afternoon, I switched on my radio and heard the following chorus:

Tell me now baby is he good to you
Can he do to you the things that I do
I can take you higher
I'm on fire

Make that two plays for I'm on Fire...