The Beast

“What sort of music are you into?” is a question I was asked this week. It’s one I generally dread when it crops up.

Invariably, it’s asked innocently enough, but with the slightest bit of digging I am rapidly out of my depth.

“Depends on the type of operation I’m doing” is my general deflecting response. At this point I am always desperately hoping for the conversation to move on. Odds on them being stuck in a lift with me for any protracted period are small, odds I would be choosing the lift music in the first place, smaller. Let me be.

“What was the last thing you listened to?” is the inevitable follow-up. People are worse than sharks when they smell blood.

Now, this is where it becomes difficult. The choices are simple – either lie, or tell it straight.

If I tell the truth – I am going to be categorized by the person asking. Whatever category I get put into, high chance it won’t be a good one. This might not matter, but then again, it just might…

If I opt for a lie, there is the very real risk I will still come up with the most uncool musical choice possible. Suffice to say, music is not one of my strengths. I have been told I sing like a bird – but it is a huge great crow we’re talking about here.

The problem is that I always try too hard – I endeavor to pluck some alternative indie punk rock band my brother-in-law (who would have a perfect answer to this) may have mentioned the other week. It’s ridiculous, I can be exposed in a heartbeat just by being asked to name one of their tracks – but a mainstream lie – middle age, safe as houses – would just mark me out as lame. It’s a beige answer. The whole dilemma gets me without fail.

However, telling the truth is invariably worse. I have a nano-ipod. Generally I use it to listen to radio 2 when I walk the dog. But it also doubles as the in car entertainment system for transporting Team Gamble around. The last particular occasion I had listened to it though was at the gym – no radio reception. What comes on my ‘genius mix’ is not your standard fare. The last thing I did my final set of reps to was ‘Harry and his bucketful of dinosaurs’. I know it by heart. My most played album kicks off with ‘Here we go round the Mulberry Bush’ – a current hit favourite track being ‘Three little babies bouncing on the bed’. My last musical heavyweight discussion involved a debate with my 3year old daughter as to why ‘Hush-a-bye baby’ is a cheap US imitation of the UK classic ‘Rock-a-bye baby”. Although the US nursery rhyme albums, sung by British artists, are generally better fare.

I paused before looking the questioner straight in the eye. He being one half of the electric British pop duo ‘Black Vegas’ – the compulsion to say something other than Paul Simon was overwhelming.

“Vampire Weekend” I uttered with absolute conviction.

“Cool” he said, pausing.

The relief I felt was almost palpable.

“What’s your favourite track?” came the follow up.

I cast my eye around, desperately hoping for some sort of injured animal to appear and provide a timely distraction.

“The one about dinosaurs…” I heard myself say.

If only I had said ‘Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” – for some reason, it just escaped me.

Ps – on more relevant and slightly exciting news. Mission Rabies is powering on and the picture above shows the results of about three months intensive planning and work. May not look the most impressive photo at the moment – but stick with it, this one will be a winner.