Thursday, 5 December 2013

The Not-Yet-Completed Top Ten List of Not-Yet-Completed Top Ten Lists

Today, in celebration of our currently incomplete top ten list of the worst readings to have at a wedding, and by way of providing a short break from the heady matters we have recently been discussing, I take great pleasure in presenting to you my not-yet-completed top ten list of not-yet-completed top ten lists.

Maybe one day I'll complete some of these. Or not. Or perhaps - oh happy day - you have your own not-yet-completed list of not-yet-completed lists, and some of our not-yet-completed lists are the same, but we have different entries in those lists, and we can combine our lists and end up with a whole completed list. And then I shall have you discreetly silenced, publish it all as my own blog post, and retire as a millionaire.*

Anyway, if nothing else, this should give you a not-very-complete glimpse into the not-very-complete workings of my life.

1) The Top Ten Songs That Seem To Be Finishing And Then Do That Bam Bam Bam Bam Thing And Start All Over Again

You know the thing. It's all tailing off, winding down, the end is in sight, and then - suddenly - the drummer does that bam-bam-bam-bam-bam-bam-bam-bam thing on the toms, or the snare, or one of those other things they like to hit, and the band all dive straight back in again for a victory lap or two.

1: Michael Jackson: One Day In Your Life

2: The Carpenters: Close To You
This is the daddy of them - in fact, the song seems to have ended so conclusively that I can't actually find any copies of it on youtube that don't just finish at that point. But trust me. It's there. A whole extra bout of "Waaaaa-aaaa-aaa-aaaaaah"s. Glorious.

I'm sure there are hundreds more examples of this. If I put my iPod on random I'll probably come across three more before I finish writing this post.**

2) The Top Ten Songs With Disappointing Names In Them

Some have epic, poetic names that inspire people to write songs about them. Bonny and Clyde. Norma Jean. Valerie. Jacky.
Some get their names into a song by dint of them being nice, short, easy-to-rhyme appellations. Ron. John. Fred.
But then, just occasionally, you get a song that drops in a name which is, frankly... disappointing:

1: Carly Simon: Two Hot Girls (On A Hot Summer's Night) - A song in which the titular pair of girls are swooning over a man called... Dwight. Dwight? Dwight.
2: Abba: Our Last Summer - A song of lacerating nostalgia over a long-lost summer fling with a guy called Harry.

Many apologies to all the Harrys and Dwights out there, it's just that, somehow, your names drop into those songs like a wet balled-up nappy dropping onto linoleum.
(Perhaps it's a good thing I've not finished this list. I have few enough readers as it is.)

Carly Simon, if you are reading this, swoon away.

3) The Top Ten Songs Where Accidentally Muddling The Lyrics From Different Verses Utterly Reverses The Meaning

Have you ever leaned across to the woman you love, gazed deep into her eyes, and sang: "Why do birds fall down from the sky, every time you ride by?"
Yes? Then you have fallen victim to a song where accidentally muddling the lyrics from different verses utterly reverses the meaning.

Other times to be especially vigilant include those moments when you (and I'm talking to the guys now) and your two male house mates suddenly find yourselves looking after an abandoned baby, and you are attempting to sing her to sleep with a bit of impromptu accapella "Goodnight Sweetheart". Trust me, it's all too easy to end up singing "You know I hate you so", and "You know I love to go." I've done it.***

"Why do flies suddenly appear, every time you are near?"

(Related to this list would be the top ten list of unfortunate spoonerisms in songs. With Christmas Carol season fast approaching, I advise you all to take care with Oh Holy Night... "The stars are brightly shining" is all too easy to get wrong... As is the line "I've brought some corn for popping" in Let It Snow...)

4) The Top Ten Song Videos Featuring Idiots Playing Epic Electric Guitar Solos In The Wilderness, Far Away From Any Sound Equipment

Hey, a truly great guitarist doesn't need an amp.

5) The Top Ten Stops On The Word Stop

You'd think that every song which contained the word "stop" would stop briefly at that point, right? I mean, why wouldn't you?
But no.
Michael Jackson's "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" almost does it... but not quite.
Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye's "Stop, Look, Listen To Your Heart" really ought to do it, but doesn't.

When Motown lets you down, where do you turn?
Britney, of course.

Here's a peach of an example, complete with that sort of gramophone-winding-down noise:

And here she is again with a slightly more subtle attempt:

6) The Top Ten Musical Numbers Featuring People Dancing On Giant Things

Here's Twiggy Dancing On A Giant Record Player
Here's David Bowie Dancing On A Giant Typewriter, A Giant Television, and, um, A Giant Record Player

7) The Top Ten List Of Movies Where Someone Has To Talk Someone Else Into Returning To Somewhere That They Alone Have Escaped From Because They Alone Escaped From It And Can Therefore Act As A Guide For The People Who Now Need To Go There

I'm determined to finish this particular list. I've got a whole post planned for it. One that actually makes a point. I've even written the last paragraph.
But the classic examples of the genre are, of course:

1: Aliens - in which an evil company has to talk Sigourney Weaver into returning to an alien-infested planet that she alone has escaped from, because she alone escaped from it and can therefore act as a scientific advisor to the people who now need to go back there to rescue the colonies, and

2: The Rock - in which the FBI has to talk Sean Connery into returning to Alcatraz, because he is the only person who has ever escaped from it, and can therefore act as a guide to a crack commando team of crack commandos who will instantly get killed, thus leaving Sean Connery and Nicholas Cage the rest of the movie in which to run around having fun with terrorists and ripping off Indian Jones and the Temple Of Doom.

Only without the annoying screaming kid. And the annoying screaming woman.

Well, there you go. That was my not-yet-completed top ten list of not-yet-completed top ten lists. I realise it must seem baffling to you, dear reader, that I've not yet completed them. "What", I hear you thinking, "could be so important in his life that he has somehow failed to complete this vital research?"

I know, I know. I can only beg the universe for forgiveness.

If I was forced to give this post some sort of a point, I'd probably say this:
There are some things you can put off, and some things you can't.
If I get to the end of my life and never find another eight videos of people dancing on giant objects, I suspect no one will be particularly offended. On the other hand, we recently got fined 90 squids because I forgot to pay our council tax. Stupid me.

The thing we all need to decide is: which category does our relationship with God fit into? Is he item nine on a top ten list which can happily stay sat in our drafts folder for the whole of our lives? Or is he like the friendly tax people at Tower Hamlets who will warn you twice and then start fining you vast chunks of money?

By all means put off thinking about it until tomorrow - if you have it on good authority that there will be a tomorrow for you to put it off until. Because we also need to think about whether the universe - and our lives - would be on the list of things that appear to stop, then go bam bam bam bam bam bam bam bam and start all over again... or whether we are on the list of things that. just. stop.

The Bible says this life will stop. For all of us. And then we'll face God - as a friend or as an enemy.  And that will be the point when it will become obvious, to all, whether or not our electric guitars are actually plugged into anything.

Okay, okay, you try making an evangelistic talk out of this material.

* Phase One: Publish blog post. Phase Two: ? Phase Three: PROFIT.
** I was wrong about that.
*** In a concert though, not to an actual baby. That would be weird.

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