A GUEST SERIES
21 – Waving Flags – British Sea Power (2008, Rough Trade Records)
Released as a single in January 2008 (reached Number 31)
“I’m going to need a really big, massive favour”.
Meet Ben. Ben meet everyone. Ben is a bloke that I occasionally go to gigs with. He lives in my village, and his daughter is in the same class as my daughter and the two have been pretty much inseparable for the last six months. They share a love of Lego, Owls, Unicorns and punching me in the tummy.
Ben is thirty years old, thirty. He reminds me a lot of Roy from the IT Crowd, apart from he isn’t Irish and doesn’t have shit on his head (again, that’s a niche joke, sorry). Every now and again he’ll send me a link to a band that are playing somewhere and we’ll travel up in one of our cars to see them.
“What is it?” I tell him.
“Can you drive me to a funeral tomorrow?” he lets that hang in the air for a second and then continues, “I would drive myself but the driveshaft has become unattached from the rear wheel on my Galaxy and then I remembered you have the day off”.
Most of that sentence was lost on me to be fair. I think he said he had a problem with his car.
“Its only in Ivybridge”. Ivybridge is a small insignificant place just off the Devon Expressway close to Plymouth but it is has very little of interest there, going to a funeral there would probably be more fun that doing literally anything else there.
“Ok” I say, “of course I will, when do you want to leave…?” we make a plan and I agree to pick him up tomorrow at around 11am. Tomorrow arrives and Ben jumps in the car – he looks very smart and as it’s a sombre occasion I leave the stereo off. I asked him whose funeral it is, and he tells me that it is his great uncle, his grandad’s brother, and that he hasn’t spoken to him since he was fifteen and didn’t really want to go but his mother asked him nicely. Based on that statement I turn the stereo on, feeling that sombreness had gone on long enough and this fills the airwaves.
Son of Mustang Ford – Swervedriver (1990, Creation Records, Did Not Chart)
We arrive at the destination and it is absolutely packed. I look at Ben and say “Was your great uncle a popular man?” and he kind of looks a bit sheepish. He was a politician apparently. “Well sort of” he says with a smile. It turns out that Ben’s great uncle was one of the founding members of UKIP.
“So he wasn’t a politician, he was a bigot,” he says with a smile.
He gets out the car and tells me that he’ll be back in an hour, within seconds he is mobbed by old chaps with moustaches and medals. I decide to have a wander around the town. There still isn’t much there but I do find a CD in a charity shop which has this on it
Take Your Partner By The Hand – Howie B/Robbie Robertson (1998, Polydor Records, Number 74)
Which makes my day – and I also have a fairly decent slice of apple cake.
An hour later, I find Ben sitting on a bench under a big oak tree and he literally sprints across to the car. As he gets in there is scrum of people and with no word of a lie Nigel Farrage walks past my car, he waves at Ben, who scowls back at him. I nearly don’t recognise him because he doesn’t have a pint in his hand and his tongue isn’t licking his own eyeballs.
“Yes, he did a reading, can we go?” is all Ben can say.