Deluded, misguided, ill-informed, flawed, confused, and for the most part, barking up the wrong tree. Oh, sorry Fats, opened A letter addressed to you by mistake. It’s from your doctor…
I am the busiest music writer in the world. When I start this column, I’ve got to shake all the pie crust from my keyboard, and then read a dictionary because I’ve forgotten what words are. I write my first draft in crayon, which is difficult because the toilet paper rips. All this takes time. After I submit my final column, which is always 500 question marks and half a dozen laugh/cry emojis, I then spend ages fobbing off dozens of angry emails from my editor. I am a very busy writer indeed.
Right this moment, I’m scoffing scotch eggs in front of the telly thinking about how busy I am. On the screen, there’s a guy demonstrating something called “life hacks”. He’s blank-eyed: face like a plug socket. “Save time and hang your pans with spaghetti,” he says. “Why not use your sandwich toaster as eyelash tongues,” he says. He’s now turning a tea towel into an origami duck using a CD case as a straight edge. “This is the ultimate life hack!” he beams. I want to shove his pretend tea towel right up his nose.
The television guy is right, I guess. The best ideas are life hacks: little time-saving tricks that turn routine from an endless dirge of Joy Division B-sides into a glorious four-minute Pet Shop Boys video. For example, instead of pianos, which are all fiddly and made of elephants, we came up with the Casio keyboard. Genius! Instead of orchestras, we invented the hi-fi, which is like a robot orchestra that doesn’t need its tuxedo pressing.
Amazing! Instead of long words like “euphonium” and “fortissimo”, we say things like “fat beats” and “that’s well sick, innit”. Hacked!
I should be on TV doing life hacks: I’d be proper good. Hey viewer, hold the corners of a duvet during Whigfield’s ‘Saturday Night’ dance and you’ll have your bed changed in 10 seconds flat. Need to prop up a wobbly table leg? Andy McCluskey from OMD is actually just some Weetabix packets stapled together, so rip a bit off him and you’re sorted. If you throw a McDonald’s Happy Meal onto your roof, not only will Annie Lennox fetch it, she’ll clean your gutters while she’s up there. If you say “Thomas Dolby” six times fast, eggs boil quicker. All these are brilliant hacks, totally achievable through trial and error. Painful trial and error.
The blank-eyed buff-toothed telly buffoon is still trying to make his tea towel duck. It’s going terribly, he’s forgotten the beak. I take a closer look at the CD case he’s using as a straight edge. It’s an Aphex Twin album – I recognise the logo. I’m not sure whether to be impressed or horrified.
I’m down to my last scotch egg. I can see the crumbs tumbling into every cranny of my sofa. I hope I haven’t got any in my underwear. I’ll scrape them out later. I haven’t got time right now because I am a very busy writer Maybe when I lift up the sofa cushions, the crumbs will spell something. Words. Sentences. An entire column for Electronic Sound? That’ll be my best life hack ever. Maybe I could say this while being really good at making pretend ducks on TV. I should write to the television company, when I get time. Pffft. If I get time.