I seem to have been going through a small distortion phase for a week or two.
These are two short and insignificant songs, each certainly made within a few hours. What do they mean to me? Not much.
COOL MAN was made with the guitarist from my school band, although strangely I played the main distorted chord sequence on guitar, and he just added those twinkly acoustic pluckings on top which don’t really work. I sing ‘yeah’ multiple times. It’s not really a song. The beginning is quite a lot like Just by Radiohead. I don’t think I really knew that song at the time – I listened to The Bends after most of the other Radiohead albums, and I was still a fledgling fanboy at this point. If you own a guitar, and your knowledge of chords is relatively basic, it’s almost impossible not to play something like COOL MAN or Just, given enough time.
This guitarist friend and I had much more success creating fake radio programmes together than we did with musical tidbits. Staying with a French family in Le Mans on a school trip, we holed ourselves up in the bedroom, too scared to socialise downstairs, and proceeded to record an hour long radio show about Pokémon. This was probably over five years after Pokémon stopped being a ‘thing’. (Not to say I didn’t indulge in it ever again, god no! There’s a time and place, and that time and place is after finals in 3rd year of university aged 23. The original gameboy games, by the way, not the actual card game. I’m not an idiot.)
We also made another infamous little recording called Fucking Paper Hats. The format is radio again, but it’s much shorter, and much, much more offensive. It has nothing to do with fucking, paper, or hats.
Like all good instrumentals, COOL MAN gets increasingly messy as it goes on, and then abruptly ends after the drumming gives up.
I Don’t Get No Christmas Cards is my second Christmas song which has very little to do with that special time of year. This one at least does include the word ‘Christmas’ in the lyrics, but that doesn’t really count when it’s a single line repeated over and over again. It strikes me that both my festive songs were written nowhere near December. And then it strikes me again that I constantly have songs like Last Christmas, All I Want For Christmas Is You, and the massive tune Once In Royal David’s City, stuck in my head all year round.
Am I obsessed with Christmas?
I mean, it is the most wonderful time of the year. But no, I don’t think I am. I think I’m just ‘obsessive’ in general. Give me a pen to flick with your fingers and I’ll give you a habit. Give me a song to sing, and I’ll give you a jingle for every second of the day. Give me the month of April, and you’re bound to get another song about Christmas.
From 1.22 I do a guitar solo of sorts, by sliding bar chords quickly around, paying no heed to such imprisoning contrivances like ‘key’, before my voice comes in once more with a fast drum fill. It actually works quite well, weirdly.
At one moment in the song I accidentally say ‘I get’ instead of ‘I don’t get’. There will not be a prize if you can find it, but you will have found it, and that will be enough.
One more thing: is it COOL MAN or COOL, MAN? I think because it’s written in capitals, I’ve never thought about it. You’ll have to ask the co-presenter of Fucking Paper Hats.