Friday, September 28, 2012
Why I Hate Phil Collins
I remember once liking Phil Collins.
Back in the days when he had long hair and tossed a tambourine I don’t deny being partial to his warblings.
But then he went solo — and eighties. There’s nothing bad about the records he released — it’s just that I didn’t like most of them.
One, in particular, got my goat. Trussed it to a medieval torture device and skewered it with searing pokers while jesters looked on and mocked.
That song, my friends, is “In The Air Tonight”, and to this day, every time I hear it I’m gripped by a relentless melancholy. I hate this song so much I could die.
To understand why Collins’ heartfelt vocals prompt my brain to fill with imaginary precipices and my various enzyme generating organs to flood with high jump friendly chemicals, you have to come back with me to the very early eighties and the forlorn desolation of my midweek student bar.
Like most student bars, mine throbbed at the weekend with more post-teen adrenaline than could fill a top of the range nuclear submarine. Flash backwards or forwards to midweek, however, and you’d witness a barren nightmare world of twiddling thumbs and openly aired soul-deep depression.
Filling the empty seats with their visions of impending suicide would be a couple of music students, maybe.
“Had a good day?” one would say.
“No. And now it’s getting much, much worse.”
To relieve the tedium, they’d cross to the Pac Man table. In the enlightened noughties, Pac Man fits on a handheld device along with thousands of similar wastes of time, but back then those chompin’ scurryin’ rascals demanded a fridge freezer sized chunk of the earth’s natural resources to house their manifestation of twat.
“Oooh look, I’ve been eaten.”
“So you have.”
Sitting watching this kind of thing was like window shopping in a mall called Futile Life Draining Oblivion.
Dangling from reality by their fingernails, the musos would eventually brave a game of darts, tossing the one bent arrer between them and recording the number of times it missed the dartboard with a lump of chalk soaked in Marston’s Old Sock.
That’s when the barman would reach inside the till and grudgingly toss the night’s 10p profit into the jukebox.
And always, always, always he’d play Phil fucking Collins.
What I felt coming in the air on nights like these was no momentous future, no hope. Rather, I felt suffocated, like I’d been thrust face first onto a dust-filled duvet and smothered by the leotards of the world’s sweatiest wrestlers.
To this day I can’t listen to this song without being consumed by life throttling emotions. The whole comedy gorilla thing has only made it worse.
When I’m 903 and rotting to death in a care home, paralysed from the heart on out and capable only of drooling glistening pendulums, no doubt some plucky work experience carer will try to bring cheer to my days with an afternoon of tea and reminiscence.
“The eighties was your era wasn’t it, Mr Ochre? What say we plug my Muzer into your cranium and bring back a few happy memories before your early evening chemical kosh...”