This reminds me of an old girlfriend. She had four albums at her house on Leeds Road in Huddersfield: Ladies And Gentlemen – The Best Of George Michael, a cassette of Blur’s The Great Escape, Tracy Chapman’s debut, and finally this, the second Penguin Cafe Orchestra album.
I notice that I now own three of those albums. I can’t ever see myself owning the George Michael compilation, but you never know. It hasn’t ever been released on vinyl, yet. Maybe one day.
I remember once lying in her bed one day, mid-morning, listening to music. The doorbell went downstairs, and she got out of bed and stood at the top of the stairs. “Oh, it’s just Dad,” she said as she started to walk down the stairs.
I panicked. Here I am, in my birthday suit, lying in her bed; his daughter’s bed. I hadn’t met him before – we’d only been seeing each other for a couple of weeks at that stage – and I didn’t particularly want to meet him under these circumstances.
What do I do? Doesn’t this happen all the time on television and in films? Do I hide under the bed? Hide in the wardrobe? Jump out the window? No, that would be worse. A naked man with broken legs lying on the pavement is harder to explain.
I sat up in bed, frozen in fear. A rabbit caught in headlights. Do I stay where I am, and resign myself to shaking his hand while I have the security of a duvet to cover myself? Or do I risk getting out of bed and putting my clothes on before he has a chance to climb the stairs and open the door?
In the end, I stayed frozen solid – possibly with a sub-conscious hope that he had the eyesight of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, and wouldn’t be able to spot me if I stayed absolutely still.
Fee-fi-fo-fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman. Be he alive, or be he dead, I’ll grind his bones to make my bread.
She came back upstairs a few minutes – although it felt like a few hours – later, without her father. He had come around to drop off an LPG gas bottle, and she had somehow managed to persuade him not to come in.
A wave of relief washed over me. She pressed play on the Penguin Cafe Orchestra CD and got back into bed.
Hit: Telephone And Rubber Band
Hidden Gem: Yodel 1