You are browsing this site using Internet Explorer 7. For a better experience, you may want to upgrade to a newer browser.

Cometh the season, cometh the wildly disingenuous pop song

“Of course I’d love to dance the quadrille, Miss Dorothy. Unfortunately, my scrotum is stuck to the inside of my thighs.” (Illustration from Summer of 1889: routes, rates, hotels, game laws and other valuable information, published by the Wisconsin Central Railroad Company, 1889.)

The seasons have provided inspiration for countless singers and songwriters. As we here in Australia approach the tail end of another soul-melting summer, it occurs to me that none of the popular music artistes of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have really captured my own feelings on that very season which terrorises me like no other.

A quick survey of summer-related songs reveals that Ace of Base once recorded a version of an old Bananarama number called ‘Cruel Summer’. At first glance, this seemed germane. Unfortunately, much of the Ace of Base version is in French — a language I don’t speak, and one which seems poorly suited to enumerating the ills of summer. (If the French were cursed with the sorts of summers we endure this far down in the southern hemisphere, they wouldn’t have had the inclination to invent a language as attractive as French, for a start.) Add to that the fact that Ace of Base are Swedish, and that the Bananarama version featured on the soundtrack to the movie The Karate Kid (a film which seriously expects us to believe that a teenager would go to a costume party dressed as a shower), and it starts to look like we’re taking an excursion deep into Total Bullshitsville.

Or take Daryl Braithwaite’s ‘One Summer’, whose chorus exhorts us to “Remember the way-ay”, while conveniently failing to provide further specifics. I can only assume he means “remember the way in which your naked arse flesh got stuck to the vinyl of your desk chair while you mindlessly surfed the internet late into night”.

And you can stop smirking, Sir Cliff Richard, with your “fun and laughter” and “no more worries for a week or two”. Which is it, one week or two? Irrelevant, since the skin is still peeling from my knees a fortnight since the conclusion of my own summer holiday. Where’s the fun and laughter in that, I ask. (And while you’re puzzling over that one, think how screwed you would have been if you’d been knighted during the Crusades. I’m just saying.)

No survey of wildly disingenuous summer-themed songs could ignore ‘Summer Lovin” from the movie Grease. Consider this tragically flawed poetic image, if you will: “Summer days drifting away / To, uh oh, those summer nights”. In other words, “isn’t it nice how in summer the temperature usually drops once the sun has gone down, because then we can engage in pleasant activities such as under-age sex and/or sleep” . Sure, except when the temperature remains at 34°C for most of the freaking night.

Temperatures totally unsuitable for sleeping, and only barely suitable for copulating. 'Uh oh' indeed, Ms Olivia Hyphenated-Surname
‘Uh oh’ indeed, Ms Olivia Hyphenated-Surname.

The nearest a song about summer has come to expressing my own feelings is ‘Summer in the City’ by one of my favourite musical acts of yesteryear, The Lovin’ Spoonful. Its verses speak of “people looking half dead” (check), the city being “hotter than a matchhead” (hmm, the ignition temperature of sulphur is roughly 230 degrees Celsius, but let’s call it artistic licence — I’m willing to let gross negative hyperbole slip by where summer is concerned), and the back of one’s neck getting “dirty and gritty” (not sure why they’ve specifically mentioned the back of the neck there — the creases in the belly flesh, groin and arse areas would have been my go-to points of anatomy for that one, but anyway). Where songwriter John Sebastian comes undone, like Sir Cliff, is his promise, in the chorus, that “despite the heat it’ll be alright”.

No it won’t, John. No it arsing well won’t. Not until it’s the middle of June, and I’m wearing slippers.

My micro life: 7:44pm, 3 December 2009

Microsoft Office autoupdates always make me nervous.

My micro life: 5:46pm, 30 October 2009

I swear I vacuumed this floor mere days ago, now it looks like a dandruffing mammoth has slept on it.

My micro life: 10:35am, 27 October 2009

If the measure of ironing excellence was “add more creases”, I would be considered excellent at ironing.

My micro life: 4:09pm, 11 October 2009

If you gave your employer a document prepared using MS Word’s default styles, the only conclusion your employer could reach would be that they’d hired Charles Manson.

My micro life: 6:24pm, 4 September 2009

If you need to come to my house to convince me of the benefits of your product, I suspect it’s because there are none.

My micro life: 4:11pm, 4 December 2008

Apparently Axl Rose has gone missing. Maybe he’s gone looking for the errant apostrophe in “Guns N’ Roses”

My micro life: 5:32pm, 3 December 2008

Comic Sans: the go-to font for that “written-in-own-faeces” look

My micro life: 2:33pm, 3 July 2008

Ah, Microsoft Word… only a mother could love your default heading styles. Like a Tourettes fit in a type foundry.

My micro life: 1:36pm, 1 July 2008

Apple’s lowercase-personal-pronoun ‘i’ thing has gone too far; takeaway joint iSushi just got added to the list of things to which ‘iObject’