Talent in a Previous Life

Because It's Never Just About the Music

Monday, June 27, 2005

5 Songs That Changed the World. 

Bob Geldof reckons that music has the power to change the world. Mind you, he also reckons that being all straggly and unkempt is a good fashion idea, so what does he know? Still, who knows, he might just be right and, as part of our build up to the Live 8 'extravaganza', we're suspending our cynicism and proudly present our look at the five songs that actually did manage to change the world. First up, Sultans of Ping FC and Where's Me Jumper?

It's January 1992 and the Surprisingly Hot Winter is in full swing. All around the country, rather than the chilled winds and icy rain which is normally expected for this time of year, a heatwave is in progress. The sun beats down on the ground like an angry mob beats down upon the Noise Next Door, and the only thing soaring higher than the temperature is the sales figures of the TastiCool Ice Lolly company. Suddenly all the people yabbering on about how global warming was a bad thing seemed like fools and idiots, and the only thing which stopped the general population rising up to beat them with big sticks was the fact that it was far too hot to, you know, actually do stuff. In fact, the country was pretty much grinding to a halt as everywhere people refused to do any more than lie in their garden, occasionally reaching out for a cold beer or a quick suck on a TastiCool Ice Lolly. Indeed, you might think that the government would be quick to clamp down on all this laziness and inaction for fear of what it might do to the economy, but they weren't too fussed as a) they were as keen on the rest of the population to spend the hot days sunbathing in the garden and enjoying TastiCool Ice Lollies and b) the massive sales of the TastiCool Ice Lolly Company were more than shoring up the economy by themselves and, thanks to their unethical employment policies and use of cheap immigrant labour, they were continuing to churn out the goods while the rest of the population happily lay sizzling in disgusting pools made up largely of their own sweat and melted TastiCool Ice Lollies.

For the proud, yet lazy and smelly Brits, it seemed like all their dreams had come true and that, quite literally, all their summers had come at once. "We don't need these winter clothes!" came the cry from every home around the land, and soon the rubbish tips were filled with wooly hats, mittens, scarves and jumpers. Soon long johns and thermal underwear joined the piles and eventually the only thing that could be found by scavengers looking for scraps amongst the discarded debris that wasn't designed to keep the wearer warm was empty TastiCool Ice Lolly wrappers.

The sun blazed, the people toasted, and the TastiCool Ice Lolly Company kept churning out TastiCool Ice Lollies. It seemed like the summer would never end and each night everyone would go to bed, windows flung open and fans-a-whirring, all keen to wake up early to enjoy yet another day of doing sod all in your swimwear. However, despite the promises of the weathermen, the summer wasn't going to last forever. One morning they were going to wake up and discover that everything had changed.

February came. And with it came not only an ill wind but also, and more worrying for the Brits, it was a chill wind as well. They woke up feeling something they'd almost forgotten how to feel: cold. Uncomfortable and confused they quickly slammed shut their windows and ran to their freezers to grab a couple of TastiCool Ice Lollies in the hope that they'd make them feel better, but even these provided cold comfort (arf!), tasting bitter and icy to the tongue. What had once provided relief, now provided only discomfort and pain. Unsure of what to do next, they pulled on their swimwear - the only clothes that remained for the vast majority of the population - and turned on their TV sets, sat down and hoped for some news, a sign for what they should do next or, at the very least, some inspiration for something that would encourage them to switch off their TV sets and do something less boring instead. They didn't have long to wait.

"Hello people of Great Britain. Uh, hi. Yeah", said the Prime Minister, looking slightly foolish in a pair of garishly coloured Bermuda shorts, "Look, as you can see it's got a mite chilly out, so we've decided to put a stop to all this doing bugger all on the patio nonsense and reckon that you should all go back to work, pronto. Now, get to it! Oh, and if you're looking for something different to do in your free time, why not try Go Karting."

The people listened and the people were divided. Some went back to work, still in their bikinis and trunks. Others gave it up as a bad job and went back to bed, vaguely optimistic that the weather might take a turn for the better tomorrow. Some even went go karting, a somewhat precarious proposition when dressed in nothing more than a few bits of lycra or some dubious looking shorts, but for the most part people got angry. They gesticulated wildly at the television, they shouted obscenities and then, once they'd calm down a bit and were able to concentrate their rage into coherent thought they refused to go back to work, telling all who would listen - and given their disinclination to leave the house, that wasn't a lot of people - that "I'm not going out of the house dressed like this! I'll catch my death!".

The Government refused to listen to the public's demands at first. The public wanted warm clothes instead of their now somewhat soiled and distressed swimwear. The Government, on the other hand, politely suggested that it was their own bloody fault for chucking out all their clothes in the first place like a bunch of heat crazed morons. At this point the public equally politely started throwing things at the Houses of Parliament and getting out the big sticks which had been underused when the environmentalists were talking their twaddle, so the Government slightly less politely and rather hurriedly locked themselves away in a top secret bunker and waited for the fuss to die down.

Despite the widespread public support for a winter clothes distribution policy, the Government seemed set to ignore the consensus, presuming that it would all blow over by the time summer came round again and people began to steel themselves for a few months of freezing. That was until someone had the bright idea of releasing a fun-tastic, dancey glam pop punk protest single. Step forward, Sultans of Ping FC.

Realising that what would make the Government sit up and listen would be a novelty single that would get to at least number 67 in the charts - any lower and they'd have no mandate to force the Government to do anything - Niall O'Flaherty, Paddy O'Connell, Alan McFealy and Morty McCarthy soon set to work. Within seconds they'd quickly bashed out their protest anthem, naming it "Where's Me Jumper?" after the beleaguered cry of the woolens dispossessed. Once it was in the shops, a blue and chilly parade of people began to queue round the block to get their copy. Unfortunately a few days spent wearing little more than their smalls and months spent living off of nothing but TastiCool Ice Lollies had done little to strengthen their immune systems and so most of them swiftly died of hypothermia. Fortunately enough people managed to hold on to the land of the living long enough to get a copy, even if they didn't have quite enough left in them to get home and play it to discover exactly how shonky the sound of their potential saviour was, to get the coveted number 67 position in the charts. They'd done it! And now the government would have to listen, and listen they did. Though only once, as they really weren't keen to hear the track again after that.

Soon afterwards, and after soliciting an agreement for the song to never ever be played again, the Government backed down and agreed to use the cheap labour from the TastiCool Ice Lolly factory, now closed down, and put most of them to work in the woolen mills, using the remainder to clear up all the dead bodies which were lining the streets in the vicinity of the nations record shops. Soon everyone in the country was issued with a jumper, a pair of leg warmers and a slightly scratchy pair of woolen underpants and everything quickly went back to normal and everyone was happy.

Apart from all the frozen dead of course.

And the owner of the TastiCool Ice Lolly Company, who committed suicide shortly after his livelihood lay in ruins around him.

But other than that everyone was happy, and it was all thanks to the Sultans of Ping FC. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the true story of how Where's Me Jumper? managed to change the world.