Something for the weekend

Charles Cowling

A little while ago I had a debate with Jonathan Taylor within this blog about funeral music. I have no interest in music, I said, can think of nothing that would describe me or sum me up, want nothing. I prefer spoken words. Jonathan then had one of those moments of heady inspiration, the greatest attraction of this otherwise rather plodding blog and the reason why you all come to it, and suggested I have the shipping forecast. If you don’t know it, it’s on Radio 4 dead early in the morning at again shortly after midnight. It is meaningless to a landlubber but the words make their own music:

Low, Rockall, 987, deepening rapidly, expected Fair Isle 964 by 0700 tomorrow.


I have thought about Jonathan’s suggestion. I love it. I want the version above, read by the great Brian Perkins, please!

And while we’re in weekend mood, here’s the face of Christ on a Marmite lid.

4 thoughts on “Something for the weekend

  1. Charles Cowling
    Rupert Callender

    Of course Charles, as well you know, the decision about what music if any to have at your funeral is not yours to make…..

    Charles Cowling
  2. Charles Cowling

    And that, of course, isn’t the face of Jesus on the marmite jar, it’s Frank Zappa, as aney fule kno.

    Charles Cowling
  3. Charles Cowling

    Ah, birdsong! Wonderful!

    Charles Cowling
  4. Charles Cowling

    Recently, a man was a bit stumped for a piece of music to exit to, since his dad wasn’t especially bothered about music.

    I said that some people liked to leave to something a little more upbeat. As we chatted on, I learned that his dad was very keen on “Poirot” on TV, so they decided on the theme from that in the middle. Not deathless music, but it worked, and they weren’t really choosing music, they were choosing an image and a link.

    So on the same theme, when they said he liked cricket, and used to follow it on TV and also radio, inspiration struck (that’s at least twice in the last decade) and I suggested the music to Test Match Special. I said at the end of the ceremony that people might know this better from summer days listening to the radio, than by its actual title. (“Soul Limbo,” by Booker T and the MGs.) As soon as those infectiously rattly first couple of seconds broke out, the entire crem seemed to lift into the air a little, there were immediate surprised smiles and nods, and out we sailed.

    I’m sure it’s been used often enough, but it was a first for me. Cultural embedding is a powerful thing.

    I think that the Shipping Forecast is a wonderful idea, and also garden birdsong(recently, for a keen birdwatcher; sometimes it’s not music as music that works, it’s music because it says something relevant and not directly connected with music.

    Charles Cowling

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