CARLY SIMON "YOU'RE SO VAIN"
WHENEVER I'm having my breakfast I tend to, rather prosaically, eat it in the kitchen. Depending on what time it is, I'll either listen to the BBC World Service or Berliner Rundfunk 91,4. If there's some sort of news or good programme like John Peel's show on, it'll be the BBC. If not, then it's 91,4 every time.
  Berliner Rundfunk 91,4 has an equivalent in every town: it's the oldies-but-goodies station. I like these stations. They don't hurt the ears. And they're a great source for the day's Ohrwurm. Each song tried and tested over years and years.
  This song is one that I have problems with.
  Is that Mick Jagger singing backing vocals? Isn't the idea of backing vocals that they are used to back up the lead singer? But for me, Mick Jagger's voice is so distinctive that every time I hear it, I end up thinking, 'I wonder why he's doing backing vocals for Carly Whatsit?' rather than concentrating on Ms. Whatsit herself.
  The lyrics bug me too. The chorus' claim that the guy is so vain that he will think the song is about him is a bit silly. If you write a song where you give great specific details about him, how could he not think it was about him?
  I will go into further detail:
  "Your scarf it was apricot" - not a popular colour for men, so I'm guessing about 98% of the male population of the planet is crossed off the list.
  "Well, I hear you went up to Saratoga/And your horse naturally won" - so, of the apricot scarf wearing male population, how many of them have been to Saragota (how many know where Saragota IS? I know I don't). And of those who've been there, how many owned winning horses? I'm guessing we're down to only a few men on the list now.
  "Then you flew your Lear jet up to Nova Scotia/To see the total eclipse of the sun" - Okay, now, we're really getting warm. A simple cross check of those men who have prize-winning horses and those who flew to Nova Scotia at a time when a solar eclipse occured should give us our man. Get onto the Canadian aviation authorities and we'll have a name!
  Case closed. Just call me Columbo...
  But what the hell is all this "clouds in my coffee" business about?
Wednesday 05 November 2003