The more astute amongst you will have noticed that my shtick these days is this: write about something, post a song which sort of links to the subject, to illustrate the point.
Looking back, I can see the birth of this idea comes from occasions when I felt totally inappropriate records were either played or suggested to be played.
Many UK folk will recall a series of adverts that Peter Kay did for a well known bitter, one of which dealt with this exact subject:
See, the art of avoiding the airing of an inappropriate song was something I was aware of from my mid-teens, and consequently I became if not obssessed, then hyper-aware, of when your intentions in playing a record could be misconstrued.
By way of example: I once was asked to do a mixtape for a friend, and in between me saying that I would, she had the misfortune to break up with her boyfriend.
Now, as any compulsive mixtape/playlist maker knows, the first draft is never the one that is gifted: there are many, many more drafts as you think of better records to include. But through all of the drafts, there was one song on the tape which I didn’t want to get rid off, because it’s a wonderful, wonderful record.
However, given recent developments, I worried that it might touch a nerve, and be considered a tad on the insensitive side.
So I figured I would ask Llŷr and his answer was this:
“I think you’re massively over-thinking things.”
This was the song in question:
The song remained. No offence was taken (I think).
So where does this unfounded terror stem from?
Here: as a teenager I went to my cousin’s wedding. I was of roughly the same age as the bride’s younger brother, and so we sat together, me, him and one of his mates, when the latter announced to us that he wanted the DJ to play a certain record that he really liked.
Because he hadn’t thought about it.
And both my cousin and I tripped over each other in our efforts to stop him from approaching the DJ to ask for this, which we both told him was not a song that should be played at a wedding reception:
It’d be like playing Going Underground at a funeral or Something’s Burning at a cremation (not that many wakes have a DJ, just the cool ones, but you get the giste).
Quite a few years later, I was asked, along with a friend, to DJ at a friend’s wedding. We agreed, and my co-DJ told me that they really wanted to play the next record.
“We can’t play that,” I said firmly.
“Why not? It’s a great record!”
“Yes. Yes it is. But we can’t play it.”
I didn’t think it needed spelling out, but I was wrong.
After the second or third time I removed it from the deck, each time challenged as to the reason, I finally broke:
“Because our friend is marrying a rather wealthy banker, so this is not an appropriate record for us to play at their wedding.”
I’m right, right?