A simple desultory philippic or how I was blogged into submission

There is a reason for the title of this blog. In 1965 Paul Simon brought out a solo album called Paul Simons song book. As an aside I have this album which I bought in 1965 for £1.10 shillings, I still have the album, in mono, on vinyl. It’s very good. At the same time the music publishers brought out a song book with words and chords and  funny little black dots on horizontal lines, something I never understood, what are these things, and the book cost six shillings and fourpence, which I recall was about a day’s wage whilst I was racking and packing boiler suits at Initial during the summer holidays saving up for my first Lambretta (Series 1 LI). I didn’t remember the price of the song book but Graeme brought this particular book with him on Tuesday and it had the price inside.  I also have this same song book but I do believe that Graeme made up some of the chords because when I play them they sound very different and it’s definitely the same book.

Stay with me there’s a point to all this

In the songbook, and indeed on the album the songs being the same on both items, there is a song called "A Simple Desultory Philippic (Or How I Was Robert McNamara'd Into Submission)" The song is considered to be a mocking parody of Bob Dylan's work, especially of "It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)" released in 1965. Graeme sang a number of songs from the song book, not this one I hasten to add, but I recalled the title and brought it into this blog as I thought it sounded brill.

I know you know this but just so you know I know a philippic is a fiery, damning speech, or tirade, delivered to condemn a particular political actor. The term originates with Demosthenes, who delivered several attacks on Philip II of Macedon in the 4th century BC.

You may wonder why all this information, well, at half eight Nixi and I arrived, at 8.45 Jimmy Jukebox arrived at 8.46 Senor Compere arrived, at 8.55 Graeme (Mr.M) arrived. That’s it!  I believe Smile a While had a game at Bradford City and in fact helped score one of the goals for the visiting team. At Yer Smiley! Chelsea next.   (Pensioners).

So our little group moved into the back room for fear of upsetting the two love birds sat by the fire. This in fact turned out to be quite pleasant especially when we joined by an audience,   of one!. With only the 4 of us plus of course Senor Compere, it didn’t matter if we were good or bad and we could all join in with each other’s songs. For my part this greatly enhanced my musical ability because Graeme played all the right chords, JJ played all the right chords but not in the right order, Nixi played some of the right chords and definitely not in the right order.

Nixi set us off with, at my suggestion, WILD HORSES. It sounded great 4 guitars, stunning harmonies and a bit of lead from Mr. M. I followed with something by Mary Chapin Carpenter but I can’t remember what, Graeme opened up the aforementioned Paul Simon Songbook and gave us I AM A ROCK, I AM IN IRELAND, JJ did, I think a Stones song, but again I can’t remember what and in any case it might have been a Paul Simon song when I think about it.

You have to remember we were sans stylo et papier so I am doing this from memory, which aint so brilliant these days.

Anyway, we all clapped each other, as one does when there are only four of you, and we took it in turns until 10.30 doing a number in turn. The beer was good for a change but as I had borrowed my wife’s car I couldn’t enjoy a few pints as I would have liked.

10.30, going home time, a guitarless musikian (His guitar having been stolen or misplaced he didn’t know which and a guitar is a small item and can easily hide behind a sofa or at the back of a drawer, you know what I mean), turned up and played something on Nixi’s Takamini confirming there was nothing wrong with the guitar, I don’t know his name and I don’t know what he sang.

So that’s it. Now you know why all the info, there was F.A to write about. Bradford City lost thanks to Smile a While, the four and a bit musikians had a good night (although I don’t think Mr. M was very impressed with my version of Marty Robbins EL PASO), Nixi knew quite a lot of the words to the songs he sang, Jimmy Jukebox was given a couple of requests but he didn’t do them, Mr. M made good use of Paul’s song book and not a Michael Chapman lyric was heard. Oh, and I had a new baby guitar called Faith, she’s just started to learn some songs, I’ll keep you updated on her progress.


p.s. This blog is all my own work and is written in strict accordance with what actually happened on the night proving I don't make these things up and my blogs DO bear in resemblance to reality, though maybe not a lot!

Posted on February 3, 2011 .