Saturday, 3 March 2012

Guantanamo Bay Style Singing Torture by Old Ma and Pa Hurley

Did the neighbours hear?
I was in the shed today, and just to break the habit of a lifetime I was pottering. The sun was shining (that'll be it until May or June) so there were jobs to do in the garden. Gloves, loppers and a pick axe were the order of the day. PTD* was with me and after tethering him, I got to work.

Mrs H and the youngest (Naughty Nel) were off to the first round of the Youth Eisteddfod, the local stage. As it always runs very late - we learnt this through bitter experience over numerous years - I had the day to do the chores (Mrs H wants another raised bed to grow more veg, she is nothing if not a stern taskmaster).

Anyhow, as I went back into the shed (any excuse) I heard a song on the radio that brought back some vivid memories. I had suppressed these memories for many years, like the survivor of some horrific crime. OK, it may not be as awful as the Armenian genocide (look it up!), but this is only a matter of degrees surely?

You see, dear reader, when I was little more than a tiny tot, my parents would often sing songs from the 1950s (and some from the 60s) around the house. Such cruelty. I shudder now as I bare my soul to you. Luckily for them Esther Rantzen's Childline wasn't in existence back then or it would have glowed red like Commissioner Gordon's Batline in the 60s TV series on a daily basis.

Imagine being woken up as someone waltzed around your room, allowing the sunlight to stream in whilst singing:

"Good morning, good morning, you slept the whole night through, good morning, good morning to you..."


"It's nice to get to up in the morning, but it's better to stay in bed," (often adding a cheery "poop poop" for good measure).

This was infringement of my "human rights" at a very basic level. Where was the European Court of Human Rights or the Equalities Commission** to fight my case through the courts of the land at huge expense to the tax-payer?

"Holy Itsy Bitsy Batman!"
If all this wasn't bad enough there were lots of other songs sung jauntily or cheerfully throughout the day. "She wore an Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini..." was one that is seared in my memory, despite my best efforts to bury it away.

Yet this song on a Radio Wales show earlier today was one that was sooo very bad, I had repressed this memory successfully, only for it to be regurgitated on hearing the song for the first time in many years. I was fixed to the spot. It was only because I am just so very brave that I didn't burst into tears at the thought of the innate cruelty of my parents who made me listen (well, I lived in the same house) to them as they sang snippets of these songs as they went about their daily tasks.

So what is this song that could evoke such memories of terror and dread? I had never previously known who sang it (apart from Old Pa Hurley, very badly) nor even its title and so there I was, a grown man, with muddy boots and gloves on, waiting through every harrowing syllable of the song just so I could know the name of the song that had pained me so much as a child.

My forehead was beaded with sweat. I shifted weight from one foot to the next. I could feel myself breathing. Each second lasted forever.*** The song went on. The terror continued. The repressed memories flooded my mind. I wanted to run and scream like a big girl's blouse**** but I had to stay. I had to know. My very sanity hung in the balance (what do you mean "too late?").

Then all of sudden the song was over. The feeling of terror mixed with nausea subsided. The silence hung in the air like a big hangy thing. I licked my dry and cracked lips, like Captain Oates deciding whether or not to have an after dinner stroll, with the weight of destiny on my shoulders just as much as it was on that fateful day in the Antarctic. I hope I'm not being too melodramatic, but as a reality TV show contestant might say, "it was pretty intense."

Then the words I had been half-longing to hear, half-dreading to hear filled my auditory canal. The song in question was...

This is that really annoying bit.

With tense music.

That they put on TV shows.

Like Master Chef.

And all those Simon Cowell ones.

With the awful self-obsessed people.

Who probably have blogs (um... er... oh.)

Where they think it adds tension and excitement.

But in reality is just really annoying.

And the winner is.....

Slim Whitman singing Indian Love Call.

And, back in the room. Can you imagine the sheer terror of hearing a parent singing/yodelling "When I'm calling You...oooooeeeeoooo....oooooooooeeeeeeeoooooooooooooo" quite often whilst coming through the front door?

Dear. Lord. In. Heaven. And people wonder why I grew up to be the strange, weird, and twisted individual that they so very often accuse me of being.

These are just a few snippets of the awful singing of 50s and 60s songs my siblings and I had to endure. People file reports to the NSPCC for less. And worse still, they also (especially Old Pa Hurley) had the habit of singing more "modern" songs by 'popular beat combos' and getting the words wrong. I think the CIA did something similar to internees at Guantanamo Bay.

Perhaps you too grew up in a house where the "grown ups" used music (and I use the term lightly) as a form of torture? If so get in touch. Perhaps we could launch a campaign. Posters for schools for those currently suffering. A helpline. A medal for survivors. A ribbon (colour to be decided) to be worn on November 22nd (Feast Day of St Cecilia, patron of music). A "funky" fund-raising t-shirt to be worn on our annual 'put your feet up and have a nice cup of tea' day***** (as an antidote to fun runs because in my experience running is rarely fun, especially if public transport is involved******).

There is so much to do, and so little time. Carpe Diem (trans: god's fish).So if someone can do all that for me, I'll swing the entire weight of this blog behind it. Can't say fairer than that.

And when the phone helpline opens, if my children phone up, I'll sing Boney M's "Brown Girl in the Ring (Tra La La La La)" even louder! After all, if I suffered so should they.... (cue evil cackle) Mwah ha ha! ;-)

P.S. Naughty Nel and her compadres won first place in their Welsh recital, so now we go to the regional finals. The world is at our feet!

*Patch the Dog
**I know I'm clutching at straws.
***Not literally, but you know full well what I mean Mr. Picky!
****"That's so gay."
*****Sponsored by Glengettie
******Anecdote time: Another infamous blogger, who shall remain nameless, if egged on to run for a bus or tube with the words "that's our bus/tube" would always replay "no - ours is the next one" as an antidote to running. He later shocked everyone by walking on pilgrimage to Rome.

No comments:

Post a Comment

No foul language please