Friday, March 20, 2015

In which your author takes the battle to Phil Collins

An exercise. What's the one thing you hate the most in your life?

Now, I dislike a great many things. From racists and homophobes and bigots to Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, my shit list is long and – as I get older and more keep-off-my-lawn-you-whippersnappers- getting longer.

But after several hours of deliberation, my teeth grinding and knuckles white against the steering wheel, one thing has emerged as my top hate figure. And it is this:

Philip Baily and Phil Collins – Easy Lover

I'm not a Phil Collins fan, but I own a couple of Collins-era Genesis albums (Abacab, Invisible Touch), and I grudgingly admit that despite his far-too-chirpy exterior, Genesis' second-best lead singer does have a way with a tune.

But a tedious series of evenings on a school French Exchange, where the only music available appeared to be his spectacularly successful snooze-fest Face Value, turned me off Collins, and turned me off for life.

But come 1985, I was at college and my best friend at the time was Andy, whose family owned a string of fish-and-chip shops around East Berkshire and North Hampshire, making him some sort of Volkswagen Golf-driving kingpin. I was a bit of a New Rom, and Andy wasn't. He loved Phil Collins. I think you can see where this is heading.

It was when Easy Lover came out in the UK in the spring of that year and lodged itself at No.1 for a month, that Andy found he could fit it on a C90 cassette tape 18 times. So he did. Everywhere we went was to the never-ending accompaniment of Phil and Philip. I knew all the words. I still know all the words. It invaded my every thought, haunting my dreams and my waking hours, and I would gladly make ownership of this song punishable by painful death and/or a musical re-education under my brutal dictatorship.

Let this be a warning to you
(In fact, despite being an evil mass murdering human-rights-denying scumbag, Kim Jong Un has the right idea by banning all western pop music from North Korea, in case Easy Lover gets through the net. Cruel but fair, in my book.)

It came to a head as we pulled out of a petrol station one lunch time, and another car ploughed into Andy's prized VW. Nobody was allowed to leave until the police had been and gone, and a pick-up truck had taken the Golf off somewhere expensive to be fixed. Two-and-a-half hours of nothing but Andy complaining that the North Hampshire Emperor of Chip Shops (his dad) was going to kill him, and Easy Lover.

I had to do something.

When the car came back from the garage several weeks later, Easy Lover had surrendered the Number One spot to We Are The World, perhaps an even greater crime against music, and – shock – The Easy Lover cassette was missing from the in-car stereo.

"It was like this when I got here, honest"
Of course it was. Just before the VW was towed away, I had surreptitiously hit 'Eject', snaffled the Tape of Evil, and dropped it down the drain. Take THAT, Phil Collins.

I didn't care. I was saving Andy from himself. And I would do the same for anybody else. In this none-more-close General Election that's looming, I will vote for any party that promises sanctions against Easy Lover owners. Over to you Dave, Ed, Nick and Nigel.

Tough on Easy Lover, tough on the causes of Easy Lover.


Flaxen Saxon said...

I grew up under a similar meme. This is where our paths diverge. You became a successful journalist, I became a successful pyromaniac- ARSEonist is such a harsh appellation.

Chas C said...

Sums up nicely why I listened to my own music and not Phil Collins!

TRT said...

I didn't know Phil Collins was in Take That.

Steve said...

I'll admit to being a Phil Collins fan, also a Genesis fan and I'm not afraid to explain the difference to the uneducated masses. Seriously though, Easy Lover? You done the right thing.

Mr Larrington said...

I started trying to work out how many times you could fit a 128 kbps mp3 of "Easy Lover" on a 700 MB CD but then my branes began leaking out of my ears.

Anonymous said...

A fake chirpy cockney type with a thin whiny voice (once the studio effects have been removed), though 'Against All Odds' is worth playing now and again. My mate told me that he could a great impersonation of Phil. He explained that he didn't sing but just sent his wife a fax that he was shagging someone else and wanted a divorce!

Ernest J. Fishwinkle said...

Quite a few years ago I remember reading that Phil Collins was going deaf and that he would no longer be able to make music. It is taking far too long for him to go deaf.

X O'Dus said...

Philc Ollins' 'Easy Lover': Similar to, and just as irritating as, the Cagney and Lacey theme tune.