The above track, originally recorded by British group Slade, must surely be a contender for Shoutiest Record. Subtract a couple of centuries, put him in a brocade jacket and a tricorne hat, give him a giant hand-bell and their lead singer, the jovial, curly-mulleted Noddy Holder, would have made an excellent Town Crier.
On the same theme – more or less – I recall one afternoon many years ago walking into the entrance hall of my teacher training college to find it suspiciously quiet. All eyes were focussed on our English/Drama lecturer (I have forgotten his name and no doubt he’s dead by now but in my mind he will forever be associated with Beowulf or vice versa) who was in the process of chalking a message up on a blackboard in that kind of fluid, cursive script you never get to enjoy nowadays. With many a flourish, he wrote:
‘Wanted – shouty records. Example: Shirley Bassey.’
To this day it remains a mystery to me that an elderly, softly-spoken, bearded academic should have discovered an urgent requirement for Shirley Bassey or her ilk. Even now, in idle moments, I find myself attempting to reconstruct a lesson-plan or lecture notes incorporating ‘shouty records’.
Of course there’s shouty and then there’s shouty. There’s the ear-grating, murderous-thoughts-inspiring shouting that mothers direct at their kids, and kids at each other in crowded shopping malls. Then there’s the melodious shoutiness of Edith Piaf as she laments lost lovers and promises them her total, heartbroken obsessive love for ever more. So It’s not exactly the loudness of shoutiness that’s so irritating, it’s the mindless, purposeless superfluity of it.
Today I have workmen digging drainage channels across my driveway. So far we have had the rotary saw – I’m guessing from the clouds of brown dust gusting past my kitchen window, since I dare not look out. And we have had the attacking of crumbling concrete with what may well be a stout metal bar. Still to come, the promised “hired man with a Kango hammer”.
Oh happy days…