45. The Lighthouse – Ana Da Silva
In my early teens, or maybe slightly before, I had a dream which has stayed with me ever since. It was my birthday, and I had decided to hold… A Disco!
(Never actually having been to one, the very idea of a disco struck me as deeply thrilling, faintly erotic, and just about the most fun it was possible to have anywhere.)
To this end, I had hired a church hall, hung up some streamers, and put in some sexy orange lightbulbs for atmosphere. For the music, I had brought along my father’s stereo cassette player, and some tapes which I had made off the radio. All my friends had been invited, and I was really jolly excited.
Except that in the dream, all my friends turned out to be little old ladies. They sat themselves down in the moulded plastic stacking chairs which I had arranged around the hall, and smiled politely when I passed round the rich tea biscuits.
(I remember seeing myself do this, all dressed up smartly – a white shirt with a wide tie in shiny, plum-coloured polyester – with my side parting neatly combed and Brylcreemed.)
This wasn’t the party that I had expected. It wasn’t really moving and grooving. “So, isn’t anybody going to dance?” I exclaimed in exasperation, glancing nervously down the room.
One old lady (curly white hair, turquoise raincoat, thick horned-rim glasses) spoke up for the group.
“No, dear. Look, why don’t you switch the music off, turn the lights up a bit, and make us a nice cup of tea?”
“Ooh yes, cup of tea! Lovely!” The murmurs of appreciation rippled all along the line as, masking my disappointment, I toddled off to put the kettle on.
Thirty-odd years later, and I’m having a lovely time gaily discussing “crunk” and “glitch” and “microhouse”, as part of a hugely ambitious attempt to chronicle, in what I hope is impressively learned detail, my favourite ninety singles of the year. Oh, but won’t my readers be lapping this stuff up! After all, they’re a hip crowd.
For the first forty-odd posts, my readers maintain a mostly polite silence. But by the time I start explaining the finer points of “crunk” and “glitch”, I start to sense that I am losing them.
And then… this.
– Look dear, why don’t you put all the non-musical stuff in a different colour font, so that we can find it more easily?
– Or maybe he could make a different title box for his musical posts?
– What about categories? Now, they would come in handy. But coloured font would be lovely!
– Ooh, I know! Why don’t you count down your top 90 from 1984? There was some lovely music in 1984, and I don’t really listen to the wireless like I used to.
– Ooh yes, 1984! Lovely! Then could you do 1978 for us, dear?
– 1978, yes!
– Can I say “fag bangle”?
– No you can’t dear, it’s offensive.
– Well, I don’t think it’s…
– Cup of tea?
I don’t know. You try and carve out a niche for yourself as an incisive cultural commentator, and… and… well, it’s pearls before… no, I didn’t mean that. Ladies, come back! And gentlemen!
No, I’m not telling you about Ana Da Silva’s The Lighthouse.
Which might actually be a really really good record actually, but you’ll never know that, will you?
No, I don’t want a cup of tea.