Sunday, January 14, 2007


Little Bruv can play the trumpet, and McMum's tin teapot. When he lived at home, he used to practice the trumpet and the Golden Retriever used to howl along. He found that she could hit a perfect 'G' and hold it for ages. She looked ever so funny- undulating neck outstretched to the full, eyes closed, and doggy lips pursed to a black O shape, helplessly hooting a doggy sine-wave until Little Bruv showed mercy and stopped.
There's another story about G. Round about 1990 I was asked to write some music for a documentary about Millwall Football Club that was to include recordings of the fans chanting. The producers wanted Lester Square to play guitar, but he didn't want to come to the matches. Anyway, I found an old Curved Air track that mentioned the Isle of Dogs, where Millwall first started up, and I transcribed the drum pattern on to a piece of graph paper, which took ages because I had never done anything like that before. I gave the recorded pattern to Lester and he wrote a sequence of chords in G. Then I went to a funny little sound-effects company in Soho and collected sounds of the river- barge-hooters, trains, and then a lion roaring (the Millwall symbol). And I had a recording of Douglas Hird going 'These Hooligans'. I went to about 6 matches to record the chants.Because of the fan's reputation, the producers came with me the first time but they kept saying 'Have you got that?' and in the end I decided to do it myself, because the safest place in the universe for a woman to be is in a crowd of guys at a match. They are only interested in one thing; I got asked once if I was recording the swearing, but apart from that they totally ignored me.
It was incredible- the chants would start down the other end of the ground and sort of rush through the crowd towards me, gathering pace and sweiiling in volume until they arrived where I was recording at the Coldblow Lane End, where the sound would roll around under the tin roof, with the most brilliant natural reverb, before dying away again. Sometimes, they'd spontaneusly start up right next to where I was standing, and the chant would travel in the opposite direction. Honestly, there is no other place where you could hear a male choir of thousands of voices, all singing in unison like that. What an experience! At the end of each match I'd be totally high on the feelings of the crowd alone.
Anway, what was funny was that coincidentally, every sound that I put on to that soundtrack was in G- the barge hooters, the echoing turnstiles, even Douglas Hird's nasal mantra. Best of all, all the chants themselves were all in G, and I started wondering why this could be- at six matches, thousands of men would start up together all in the same key; then I suddenly remembered how noticeable it was that each man had shaved just before the match- so many raw faces! That's when I realised that mains hum (which as any musician knows is so close to concert G that you can tune an instrument to it) via their electric razors, was the last sound they heard before the match, and it must have stayed in their heads until the game!

Private Eye did a small pisstake of the programme, much to my delight. I had always wanted to be on Top of the Pops and never managed to, and having my music lampooned by Private Eye was definitely the next best thing!


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