Happening to be on the phone to our local medical practitioners this morning, the choice of holding music was pleasant, but incongruous. First piece:

I mean, I hot-diggedy dig The Stranglers’ Waltzinblack. Insistent and increasingly dense absurdity. It’s most recently been used in an advert – Stranglers gotta eat – but for a certain generation (mine) it will always bring to mind the quixotic TV chef Keith Floyd, whose ‘recipe and piss-up’ formula still remains a high bar for gourmet broadcasters.

However, most of the comments on this nifty clip in situ at YouTube reflect The Stranglers’ original concept from The Gospel According To The MeninBlack, alien influence on religion, evermore Lovecraftian interpretations, the music a soundtrack for a merry-go-round of netherhell dwellers, wizard imps and interstellar mongrel nymphs spinning stately, unhinged across dark galaxies. I see circumstances in which someone phoning a doctor’s surgery might not be in an appropriate state of mind to enjoy such implications.

Actually, The Stranglers make a stealthy exit, perhaps in anticipation of this. While Dave Greenfield’s keys rumble and squeak in the cosmic locks, they periodically still to allow in the soothing tones of a Geordie receptionist’s recorded messages, apologising that we are being held in a queue, reassuring the listener that they can book appointments or renew their prescriptions online, or call xxx for out of hours emergencies. After a terminal fade to black before the chortling gremlins start up the bumper cars, the next song comes on. On the surface, still more soothing:  

REM’s Endgame, which closes off side one of Out of Time.

It’s probably just knowing the titles that made me suspect there might be a diabolical comedian at the docs’. If I might offer a tip of the jester’s hat to Christopher Knowles at The Secret Sun blog, I’m sure one could make a great deal more of the chessboard imagery on the REM CD…

…coupled with the prevalence of ‘Endgame’ as a trope in sci-fi, in particular with the discovery that ‘The Endgame Syndrome’  was an episode of Men In Black: The Series…

… I’m getting woofs of Beckett as well. How easily one might become distracted while waiting for a receptionist to pick up. In a more suggestible state of mind, the choice of third song might have been enough to tip one over the edge into fear and trembling… or misplaced feelings of omnipotence.

On this super Tuesday it was all idle speculation while the answerphone droned… What would Number Three be? Who might be phoning and how eerily resonant the tune for them? (Receptionist’s notes accompanying):

  • Mike Oldfield – Tubular Bells (Chris MacNeil, daughter experiencing sickness and sore throat)
  • Pink Floyd – Comfortably Numb (Randall Floyd, hands feel like two balloons)
  • Slayer – Raining Blood (name unclear, burst stitches?)

Etc, etc, etc. Then the receptionist answered, thanks be. Perhaps we’ll never know.