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A wee dram before bed

June 2, 2013

A fifteen minute post for you – and I’m timing it because there’s a whisky downstairs with my name on it.

Well of course that’s not right; it has the name of the distillery on it, but I haven’t yet decided which one. Not ashamed of the opportunities for product placement, let me just say that it is a three-way tie between a special edition Glenmorangie, a Laphroaig and a Lagavulin. One day, when I am rich and famous, or (more likely) dead, there will be distillers who wished they had got my endorsement when it was to be had for no more than the price of another bottle.

Just a few pieces to share with you today. First this: The Lady is a Tramp, in a live performance a few years ago by Lily Allen. One, because it made me jig around in my seat earlier. This was an undesirable reaction because I was driving at the time and found myself over-revving the engine in a sort of automotive swing drum pattern. Perhaps it’s just as well that Let’s Twist Again didn’t come on straight afterwards: it would have made the already difficult job of dodging the pot-holes near the bottom of our road just about impossible. (Incidentally, a link to Let’s Twist Again was not in the original line-up for this post, but I just couldn’t resist the video of Chubby Checker perpetrating some of the worst on-screen miming yet to have embarrassed an artist.)

I went last week with Mum to the funeral of Mike, a very old family friend, who was also at one time the headteacher of my junior school. Mike was a tall man, forbiddingly so when I was about 8, and even after he stopped being a person in actual authority over me I continued to look up to him. He was decent, kind and wise, and like all wise people he was curious and interested. He had the defining quality of all great educators – that of wanting always to learn. However, I digress. As is the case at funerals, it provoked a discussion between Mum and me on the way home as to the choice of music we would have at our own funerals. Mum’s choice is a beautiful hymn – The Day thou Gavest, Lord, is ended. I have a number of hymns lined up for mine – expecting that with the riches and fame that I shall have acquired by that time will come a quasi-state funeral at which artists of every genre will queueing up for a free prime-time slot on the telly to pay their respects.

But I like the idea of leaving the church accompanied by The Church performing Under the Milky Way. If you don’t know The Church, you really should give them a try. The songs and vocals of lead singer Steve Kilbey are utterly unique, and I am amazed that they did not seem to have the success in Britain that they had in their native Australia. This track is dreamy, acoustic, a little subdued and melancholy: just the sort of thing to go with a late-night Lagavulin.

Bottoms up.


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  1. Anne-Marie Hetherington permalink

    Particularly like this one! On the subject of funeral music, I recall a happy evening spent with Dad choosing the music for his own send off. I think some of the suggestions included ‘Goodbyee, goodbyee, wipe a tear, baby dear, from your eyee’, ‘So long, farewell ‘ etc. You get the gist…

  2. I have toyed with the idea of requesting Wagner at my funeral – that being the one occasion when I am unlikely to object.

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