Singles of the year: #45 (NMC – sigh.)

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, shan’t.

Cross now.

No, I don’t want a cup of tea.

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