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Dentists. They’re not all bad.

September 22, 2013

I write today intending to be brief. It’s Sunday evening – which is usually given over to some family time, though with the daughters having (temporarily) flown the coop it is somewhat downsized. Tonight we are but two – Mrs simonsometimessays and myself, sitting opposite each other at the dining table; she preparing a lesson about cosmetics for her science class tomorrow, and I looking for something to stop me thinking about the dentist tomorrow. You may be squeamish, so I will spare the details. I’m not looking forward to it, that’s all you need to know.

I don’t know much music about dentists and teeth. There’s the dentist song from Little Shop of Horrors….

…which, surprisingly does not reassure me at this point.

In my brief research, I came upon a post which had done the work for me – eight years ago by the look of it. The intriguingly named Robert of the Radish produced a playlist for dentists, on a site entitled Blogcritics and I cannot do better than link to it here. At first glance I knew only one song on the list – the first one (which I cannot bring myself to name). So in the interests of self-improvement I tried another one out: The Mekons Teeth. This is an excellent song, from a band that began as sort of punk also-rans but have stayed the course.

There was a strain of punk that seemed to rely more on the anger in its lyrics, forced out through a repetitive melody which was the same for both verses and chorus, than on the violence of the performance. Compare Teeth with a studio recording by the Clash or the Sex Pistols, and you will hear what I mean – those two bands’ delivery, even in the studio, was somehow more immediate than others. Looking back, I can’t believe I have never linked to the Clash’s greatest song – London Calling  – sinister, apocalyptic, unbelievably powerful.

One thing I have just learnt about the Mekons is their close connection with the Gang of Four, whose single I Love a Man in Uniform fascinated me when I was at college (and not because of the uniform). It has a strange set of chords, a lead vocal which only just misses pitch at the top of the range, and the harmonies in the backing vocals are the most unusual I have come across. I have tried to work them out in my head, time and again, and just failed. See if you can do better.

The Gang of Four took their name from a group of leading figures in the Chinese Cultural Revolution; although the name was arrogated by a number of other political movements in other parts of the world. It seems, from the great commentary in the ether, that if you want to make a change in your nation, make sure you have three friends. Bad things come in threes, it’s said; discontented politicians come in fours.

Four is a good number for music:

  • Seasons: (Franki Valli or) Vivaldi – and since it happens to be about that time of year, here is the sometimes-forgotten slow movement from Autumn;
  • Winds: Four Winds  – A Bright Eyes song (also brilliantly covered here by the Killers);
  • Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Cue Rudolf Valentino, and a familiar sounding tango.
grannysteethedweb

Granny´s Teeth

And what has this got to do with my forthcoming dental ordeal? Nothing, but it has provided some distraction for me. In the end, I don’t really have anything to say about dentists. The days have gone when dentistry was almost a fairground sideline of barbers, or provided the legitimate income of notorious gunfighter Doc Holliday.

We’ve moved on. They’re not all bad, now, are they?

Reassure me…

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2 Comments
  1. Anne-Marie Hetherington permalink

    Fret not. You could always try my general dentist tactic. It has several stages:
    1. Take several kinds of drugs before you go in.
    2. Mention the need for much anaesthetic to said dentist.
    3. As soon as he approaches, shriek loudly and say you need more painkillers.

    The only down side of taking what is, basically, enough drugs to anaesthetise a horse is that you may be unfit to drive for several days but what the hell….

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