Thursday, 15 May 2014

Thank You for Holding

I upgraded my phone service, recently.  I should know better, but did it anyway.  Upshot: so far, six days without a phone service.  Everything Everywhere?  Nothing Nowhere, more like...  I hope they're getting truly tired of hearing that obvious but bitterly-felt joke.

Anyway, this means that I've spent a lot of time on the landline, listening to the soothing lies of variously-accented folk, mainly Irish, whose main role seeems to be to put you on hold, pointlessly, for ten minutes ("I'm just going to go and check something with my colleague..."), racking up the cost of the call.  Must be a nice little earner for them.

But, there's an upside to this.  I get to hear music I wouldn't otherwise hear.  I don't know whether all mobile phone suppliers are the same, but Orange/EE have obviously put some thought into the demographic of the captive ears desperately awaiting the return of a human voice ("Sorry about that, Michael, my second coffee was a bit too hot, so I cooled it down by taking a walk to the bank to get some cash, and bumped into my old friend Seamus, and ... well, you know how it goes.  Hope you didn't mind listening to a loop of upbeat, quirky indie music for twenty-five minutes?  Grand!").

Of course, the sound quality isn't up to much, and there's no DJ telling you what's coming up next, as it just careens from one track to another, occasionally interrupting a good bit with insincere recorded apologies ("Jesus, are you still here?  We've been like TOTALLY overwhelmed with calls this morning, so we're like really, really sorry about that, you know?"), and I do miss the original Orange girl with her throaty, smoker's voice.  We had a thing going: I could tell she was genuinely sorry to keep me waiting, you know?  But, the music is not bad, and completely new to me, aimed as it is at a rather younger audience.

I amuse myself by googling the lyrics to identify the tracks.  This week has figured "Brave" by Sara Bareilles and "Millionaire" by Scouting for Girls quite heavily.  I like the first a lot (in another life, I am clearly an angsty-but-feisty teenage girl) though I liked it better when I had misunderstood the lyric as accusatory and ironic (as in, now it's your turn to be brave, heartbreaker!) rather than merely charity-marathon uplifting.  "Millionaire" is annoying but catchy, and makes me feel my age.  That white-boy-cute indie style, with its self-conscious glottals and hint of a Jafaican slur, is, I fear, exactly where I'd be at now if I were 40 years younger.  Which I'm not.  Which is also annoying.

But... Wait, what?  Sorry, Fergus is back on the line...

11 comments:

Zouk Delors said...

googling the lyrics to identify the tracks

Haven't you heard about Shazam etc?

the original Orange girl
Yes, and the new girl is so common!

Martin Hodges said...

Never mind, Mike. I've been listening to Paolo Nutini's Caustic Love, on Spotify. I rather like it, but he's sounding a bit Terence Trent D'arby! What does it all mean? Should I upgrade, too?

Mike C. said...

Zouk,

Nope, never heard of it. Besides, I like to hone my searching skills at any opportunity -- it pays off in more tricky cases, as you and other readers will testify.

"Common"?? Ah, that must be the voice for the cheap seats... Up here where we rattle our jewellery for applause, we get quite a posh but neutral woman, who clearly also does the voices for SatNavs, banks, and such.

Mike

Mike C. said...

Martin,

Do. Not. Upgrade. Trust me.

Mind, it's all an improvement over the electronic, monophonic Bach that used to drive me up the wall. It was like a music-box in hell...

Mike

Dave Leeke said...

I'm always moaning and tutting too loudly all the way through it to hear what they're playing. The last time I listened it was Tom Petty's version of "Something In The Air".

It may be quite a while since I bothered phoning to complain . . .

Mike C. said...

Dave,

Good grief, Tom Petty? Sounds like they had you on hold for a couple of decades...

Mike

Zouk Delors said...

Yes, but aren't you neglecting your looking-things-up-in-books skills? Not to mention your going-round-asking-people ones? Besides, there are the inevitable mondegreens which will render text search futile.

Mike C. said...

Zouk,

Books are generally not a good place to look for pop songs based on a few snatches of lyrics, and people aren't much use either.

Surprisingly, mondegreens generally *do* work, because some clever dick somewhere on the Web will have pointed out that "The Israelites" does not start with the words, "Wake up in the morning, Baked beans for breakfast", or whatever.

Mike

Zouk Delors said...

Ah, yes - reading the lyrics reminds me what a cracking song The Miserablites really was.

Mike C. said...

One of the best bass lines in history -- how can anyone not want to dance to it? The song always conjures in my mind a surreal, "Singing Detective" type scenario of lines of late 60s skinheads bobbing up and down in unison... Of course, that might actually have happened in Bowes Lyons...

Mike

Zouk Delors said...

Bowes Lyon? The Mecca more likely.