Thursday, 8 September 2011

A Walking Disaster

When I was younger, I was quite the fan of charades. I didn't know, however, that this hilarious game would be an essential tool for a certain period in my life. The period I am referring to is this past week, and most likely more weeks to come. On the 3rd of this month, I moved into my new flat. The landlord of course, had forgotten I was moving in that day. After a number of phone calls (made while dragging a heavy bag and my bass across town for hours on end) I was reassured that it was okay and that the flat door could have been left open. It turned out it was - how reassuring. I mean who locks the doors in a neighbourhood where the shops have thick bars on the windows? Later on I met my 2 flatmates. Elated with relief about actually moving in, I greeted one with a long, babbling introduction. He responded with a blank face and
"Speak English not good".
Since then arm waving, miming, and pointing have been my main forms of communication. And I've just had to show more people around the flat who also don't know much in the way of English. I was advised by the landlord to 'show them the single room'. Upon arrival they told me in broken English that they were told the single room was unavailable and that they needed a double room anyway. All the rooms were locked. And did I mention that 90% of my possessions are locked up in a flat owned by a friend who is away for 3 weeks? And that I still don't have a job? Yeah? Just checking. Anyone fancy a game of charades?

I could have done with the Demolition
 Man himself to help me move.
Unfortunately I don't yet have Sly's
number. One day.
The Police were a band that I hated for the longest time. Or at least, that's what I told everyone. Coming out and admitting I loved them was harder than admitting to myself that I was gay. All I'd really heard of the Police for a while was Roxanne and Every Breath You Take. From this information I came to the conclusion that they were a generic soft rock band that lay slotted in between U2 and Whitney Houston in mothers' CD collections everywhere. But one day I heard the opening jangly guitar riff to Message in a Bottle, and my curiosity was stoked. The discovery that the drummer composed the soundtrack to Spyro 2, one of my favourite childhood games, tipped the scales and I checked their Regatta de Blanc album. I have been hooked on the band's infectious energy ever since. My favourite album by the group has to be Ghost in the Machine. Guitarist Andy Summers once said that "With the horns and synth coming in, the fantastic raw-trio feel—all the really creative and dynamic stuff—was being lost" and I have to say he is talking out of his arse. I have always preferred bands that change their sound. The Ramones have never stuck with me partly because they played the same shit over and over, album after album, which gets boring quickly. But maybe I'm just a slut for synthesisers. 

I always love a good, ballsy, drum injected introduction to a song (see Janie Jones, Born in '69),  and Spirits in the Material World has an extremely brief but nevertheless perfect little burst to kickstart Ghost in the Machine. The biting little bass line that follows is ridiculously infectious, and the chorus hook and bouncy synths create one catchy opener. This is followed by the biggest hit off the album (it topped the UK charts and went to no.3 in the US), Every Little Thing She Does is Magic. I won't lie - it's a soppy little love song. But it's one of the few soppy love songs I actually like and the humming double bass combined with the playful piano weaves it into a lovely little number. Up until Ghost in the Machine, Police songs never strayed away from darker lyrical themes (Can't Stand Losing You certainly didn't beat around the bush with "I guess this is our last goodbye/and you don't care so I won't cry/but you'll be sorry when I'm dead/and all this guilt will be on your head"), but the bouncy melodies always sharply contrasted with these themes. Because of this, Invisible Sun was somewhat of a  departure. The sinister synth bassline and Sting's mournful vocal melody fits the lyrical theme of war torn countries like a glove.

Further on is Rehumanize Yourself, 4 minutes and 50 seconds of Copeland composed joy. Demolition Man (which was later bastardized by Sting for the film of the same name) has one of the most fun bass lines in popular music. Hungry for You is an extremely passionate song about sex, made all the more passionate by the fact that the majority of the lyrics are in French. But the real star of the album (and the Police in my opinion) is drummer Stewart Copeland. Copeland is one of the few drummers whose sound is instantly recognisable. His reggae influenced style is surprisingly fast and punchy, and works very hard to bring the songs to life. He also happens to be an excellent composer and has done many excellent projects outside of the Police. The album itself is a fairly easy listen. The songs have enough pop sensibility and hit singles to grab your attention on the first listen, and the interesting lyrics and fantastic drum parts give the album enough weight to keep you coming back for more. But next time I write about an album I like, I promise I'll do something a bit more contemporary. And should I start reviewing albums generally, instead of just picking my favourites? I'm not really sure if I should. Please let me know.

What I'm Currently Listening To > \The Cure - Disintegration (GITM has had enough spins for today)/

Thanks for reading.


  1. Wow you are long winded! Did you greet your roommates with that much diolauge (including your musical taste in the Police)?

  2. I'd say, stick with reviewing favorites. It's easier to review what you like than what you don't, right? And, I still don't like the Police :)

  3. Yeah, I still kinda don't like them. Sorry. :D