You’ll recall there was no Friday Night Music Club last week, on account of me being too preoccupied with my fruitless efforts to get my new phone to work.
You’ll all be delighted to learn that I’ve got it sorted now. Just one ultimately embarrassing contact with my tax-avoiding network provider later, where they pointed out my Sim card wasn’t working because I hadn’t requested that they activate it yet, and I was up and running.
You’ll all be slightly less delighted to hear that in the interim period, I started thinking about songs which involved telephones or telephone calls. It occurred to me that there weren’t very many happy songs involving telephones: they all seemed to involve hoping someone would call, or someone not answering/pretending not to be home, or leaving messages on answering machines (that’s voicemail to you youngsters).
Before I knew it, I’d compiled a little playlist involving such songs, which I’m going to foist upon you all tonight.
Before we go any further though, my normal file sharing service is apparently having “internal issues” which is preventing me from uploading any of today’s songs. Maybe it’s some kind of protest at my selection, I dunno. So for tonight, we’re off back to the service I first used when I started writing this, Box. Hopefully, none of you will have any issues with playing or downloading (for evaluation purposes only, of course), but if you do, let me know and I’ll try and sort out a different link.
** ALL LINKS NOW AMENDED (I hope) **
OK, so, admin out of the way, to kick things off, here’s that there ABBA lot, with what is as close to an upbeat sounding song about telephones as I came across, where Agnetha, or maybe Frida, or maybe both, are pondering why their other half has not called them. Quite why they don’t just ask them – one of them is playing the guitar, the other the keyboard on the song they’re singing, after all – is beyond me:
Similarly mystified as to why, having obtained their number, they would not immediately call it, here’s The Undertones:
Feargal – perhaps the reason she hasn’t used it, is because judging by the sleeve of the single, you appear to have given her the record’s catalogue number, rather than your actual telephone number. A schoolboy error.
ABBA and The Undertones are not alone in bemoaning the lack of contact from a potential beau. Here’s Macy Gray (remember her??):
Macy – at the risk of this turning into one long Agony Aunt page, I suspect that the reason you didn’t get a second date here is because according to the above, you have also confessed to admitting murder. If I’m honest, I’d probably think twice about getting back in touch if I knew that.
Some people, rather than simply sitting around moping about the fact their phone hasn’t rung, take matters into their own hands, and start hassling those they consider accountable:
Although, frankly, if a simple call to the operator makes you wonder whether they might be a more suitable life partner, I’d say that suggested you weren’t all that committed to idea of remaining with the person you were trying to call in the first place.
Now, I don’t wish to appear unsympathetic or unkind, but is it just me that thinks most of these people should be taking a hint?
Take Rialto, for example, who seem to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown at the absence of a reply:
Dear Mr. Rialto (or whatever the lead singer’s name is).
I don’t know how to break the news to you gently, so instead I’m just going to come right out and say it.
You appear to be going out with Lady Gaga. And she’s busy:
All of this missed call, calls not being answered mullarkey could easily be avoided, and the hint taken a lot earlier, if some of these people moved off Pay As You Go and invested in a phone with a voicemail. Like Little Mix (and Missy Elliott), for example:
The chorus of “How Ya Doin’?” is, of course, directly lifted from this:
The chorus of “Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)” is, of course, directly lifted from…no, sorry. I can’t bring myself to post it.
Instead, consider this: sometimes there’s a perfectly good reason why someone might not answer the phone. Here’s Paul Evans with your obligatory “Blimey, I’d forgotten all about that” record of the week:
Now, I love a good bracket as much as the next man. Unless that man is in a dress and called Hinge. But surely the (The Telephone Answering Machine Song) is the most superfluous addition to a song title ever. Firstly, I don’t think anyone has ever referred to them as Telephone Answering Machines. Secondly, it implies that listeners are too stupid to understand that’s what’s going on in the song and need to be reminded. Thirdly, while the answering machine theme is predominant throughout the song, surely if you’re going to treat your average record buying public as idiots, you may as well call it “Hello, This is Joannie (The One About The Girl Who Doesn’t Answer The Phone Because She’s Dead)”.
Look: when George “Shadow” Morton, Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich wrote The Shangri-Las “Leader of the Pack”, they didn’t feel the need to pop the words (The One Where She’s Going Out With A Wrong ‘Un Who Gets Killed While Riding His Motorcycle) on the end of the title, with good reason.
Plus: if we are to believe Paul Evans, he got drunk with Joannie, had an argument, let her drive home, and in between attempts to call her the next morning, wrote a glib ditty about how he couldn’t get through, finds out she’s dead, finishes the song off, and bemoans the fact that never again would he be able to kiss her “funny face”. Joannie sounds well off out of it, if you ask me.
And he looks like a grumpy Peter Powell.
Now then, question time. What’s worse than the following: not being called, being called too much, getting through to an answerphone, or your partner being killed before they can answer the phone?
Answer: being David Gedge, that’s what. Poor old lovelorn David is trying to call his girlfriend, and he gets through…to her sister, who, much to his humiliation, pretends she’s not home when she clearly is:
Still, at least he can take a sodding hint.