Tuesday Tunes 13: Shopping

We are now in week 13 of lockdown, and things are slowly returning to something that bears a passing resemblance to what we might think of as normal. There are still quite a few restrictions on movement but, judging by the numbers attending demonstrations in the past fortnight, it seems that many are ignoring them, or are too stupid to understand them – but to be fair, you probably do need to be a rocket scientist to get them all. Yesterday saw the second phase in the relaxation of restrictions on shops opening, though the 2 metre rule still applies and many precautions are being taken by retailers, particularly where goods might be touched or tried on before a possible purchase. Personally, I’ve never felt comfortable trying on shoes that might have been on other feet anyway! The Prime Minister told us on Friday that we should all go out and shop, turning it (or trying to) into some weird form of civic duty. This was the coverage in the i newspaper which, as you will see, cites the fact that only 36% of us feel safe about venturing out. A fair concern, I think, given the reports of second waves of infection in other countries. But the herd on which Johnson has been depending didn’t disappoint him – this was the queue yesterday outside a branch of Primark:

©️ Evening Standard

So you’ve been stuck indoors for three months and the first thing you want to do is stand in a long queue for a clothes store? The phrase ‘get a life’ comes to mind, but it’s a free country. So far.

However, this seemed as good a theme as any for my tunes this week: shopping. You might be surprised how often shops have featured in songs, as it isn’t to me an obvious source of inspiration, even for a metaphor or two. Being British and oldish I’ve avoided anything to do with a ‘mall,’ though they are invading us here too. What’s wrong with the words ‘shopping centre?’ Still, that’s progress, I guess. Bah, humbug!

This week’s first song is one to which I claim an extremely tenuous link, as I went to school with the band’s original drummer, who is playing on this:

It is very much one of their softer songs, and featured on their third album (and still my favourite of theirs) London Calling. It is about someone struggling to come to terms with the commercial world and growing consumerism and is, I think as relevant today as it was in 1979 when it was released. It is all the more poignant when you know that Joe Strummer wrote it about Mick Jones, who sings lead vocal. I wouldn’t often use the word ‘lovely’ to describe a Clash song, but I think this one merits the accolade.

My second tune for this week is in a very different vein, and stretches the link to ‘shopping’ a fair bit. OK, a lot. But Desmond and Mollie do have a barrow in the marketplace so that’s good enough for me:

As I’m sure you know, that was on the album titled simply The Beatles, although it is known to us all as the White Album. That was the band’s ninth studio album, and accounts of the recording sessions suggest it wasn’t a happy time: John Lennon and George Harrison apparently hated this song, and arguments over its recording led to the resignation of Geoff Emerick, their sound engineer (though he did return to work on the Abbey Road album and several of Paul McCartney’s albums after the Beatles broke up). But after all the struggles the song made the album release and has become very popular and recognisable. It was released as a single in many countries, reaching #1 in quite a few, but wasn’t released in the UK and US at the time, although it had a subsequent single release in the US. Given its catchy nature it was ripe for cover versions, and its commercial viability was proved by the pop band Marmalade, who had a #1 UK hit with it. I still prefer the original, though – by a distance!

This is the point at which I should be winding up the post, but last week I gave you an extra bonus song in addition to the usual two, and this week’s theme seems as good a reason as any to do that again: what’s not to like about a ‘buy two get one free’ offer? This is another slightly tenuous link, but is a song that reminds me so much of my childhood, when it was often featured on the Saturday breakfast show Children’s Favourites on the old BBC Light Programme, with our host Uncle Mac – in hindsight, that sounds a bit dubious now, but in those days we were innocent! This was a novelty song even in those days, but it is full of memories for me so I hope you’ll indulge me:

That was originally recorded by Patti Page, who had a #1 US hit with it, but the version I grew up with is the Lita Roza one, which was a #1 hit here in the UK. Not that I knew of it at the time, though, as it was a hit five months before I was born, but clearly was still being played on the radio to entertain us kiddies several years later. Apparently she hated the song so much that she never performed it live – I guess her audiences didn’t contain many children! It’s a little piece of my childhood that will never be forgotten, though, and I rather like the video that has been made for it.

That bonus offering rounds off this week’s set of tunes. I hope you are managing to contain your excitement at the gradual release from lockdown, and don’t take it to extremes. The scientists continue to tell us that not enough is known about the virus for us to even begin to think we’re over it, so please take care, stay safe and well, and I’ll be back with more tunes next Tuesday. Have a good week 🙂


21 thoughts on “Tuesday Tunes 13: Shopping

  1. Stevie Turner June 19, 2020 / 11:55 am

    How Much is that Doggie in the Window reminds me of Saturday mornings listening to Ed ‘Stewpot’ Stewart’s programme on the radio. I never really got into The Clash, but remember the Ob-La-Di song. Like you, I’ve no idea why people would want to fight to get into Primark and the like. I only go shopping if it’s absolutely necessary!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Clive June 19, 2020 / 12:25 pm

      I’m older than you so for me it was Uncle Mac! I’m guessing Stewpot took it over some time after the birth of Radio 1 in 1967, by which time I was 14 and much too mature and cool to listen to kids’ shows 😂

      As I said in the piece, the school connection to Nick Headon got me interested in the Clash, and I can still remember being given the White Album for Christmas 1968 and blasting Ob-La-Di at full volume.

      I’ve never enjoyed shopping – except in record shops, where I’ve spent many hours throughout my life 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Stevie Turner June 19, 2020 / 1:28 pm

        I used to love browsing the second-hand record stall in Chrisp Street market every Saturday morning. I’d spend my pocket money on old 45s and comics.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Clive June 19, 2020 / 1:37 pm

        We had a covered market in Dover, open 6 days a week. I could often be found in the second-hand record stall after school!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. robbiesinspiration June 17, 2020 / 6:54 pm

    I love that tune, How much is that doggie in the window, Clive. I even made up my own version when I was a kid. I am not going anywhere near shops, I don’t need anything that badly and prefer not to take a risk. If my Michael got sick or worse, it would be too awful. Stay safe and well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Clive June 17, 2020 / 7:07 pm

      Glad it brought back memories, Robbie. I think you’re very wise not to go shopping, no matter how many precautions they make. You stay safe and well too 😊


  3. Still the Lucky Few June 17, 2020 / 2:58 am

    So lovely that you featured Willie Nelson. I love that man’s music and philosophy. Doggie in the window, hmmm, not so much. But thanks, Clive—great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Clive June 17, 2020 / 10:01 am

      Glad you enjoyed the post, Diane. I just had to include the Doggie, it brings back so many childhood memories!


  4. petespringerauthor June 16, 2020 / 4:38 pm

    London Calling is the only album I ever owned by The Clash. It feels like twenty years since I’ve listened to it.

    I can hear my mom’s voice as she was continually singing How Much is That Doggie in the Window? Thanks for that good memory, Clive.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Clive June 16, 2020 / 4:58 pm

      I still dig it out occasionally – in these days of streaming it is very easy to find an album to play without having to sift through the collection. I’m glad I’ve given you that memory: it seems to have struck a chord with several readers!


  5. tidalscribe June 16, 2020 / 1:57 pm

    Now I will have that tune in my head all day, yes How Much Is That Doggie must have been played endlessly during our childhoods – can we have Champion The Wonder Horse next week? But I obviously never listened to the words properly as I thought she wanted the dog for herself, not to keep the boyfriend company. Even if we were not still isolating nothing about shopping at the moment would appeal to me. I don’t like queueing and a shopping outing without a coffee break is no fun.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Clive June 16, 2020 / 2:05 pm

      Sorry! It’s in mine too, if that’s any consolation. I don’t think I listened to the lyrics as a kid, apart from the chorus. Maybe I should do a retro one, with songs like Right Said Fred and My Boomerang Won’t Come Back? Or maybe not!

      I’m no great fan of shopping either, I much prefer the ease of doing it online.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Jim Borden June 16, 2020 / 1:56 pm

    how cool that you went to the school with the original drummer. I have not heard that Clash song, but I wasn’t surprised as I listened to it that it sounded great.

    And thanks for bringing back memories with How Much Is That Doggie in the Window!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Clive June 16, 2020 / 2:01 pm

      My only claim to anything remotely resembling fame! He was the year below me but I stayed an extra year and got to know him and his mates quite well. As for those memories – I just had to do it!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jim Borden June 16, 2020 / 2:05 pm

        any by mates do you mean the other members of The Clash? And music triggers so many memories…

        Liked by 1 person

      • Clive June 16, 2020 / 2:08 pm

        No, he met them after he left school and moved up to London. I never met the rest of the band and didn’t see him again after school. As I said, it’s a very tentative claim to fame!

        That’s one of the things I love about music, and why I do these posts.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Darlene June 16, 2020 / 12:36 pm

    Thanks for the How Much is That Doggie in the Window? I sing it to my doggie all the time. What a bit of nostalgia. Have a great week.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Clive June 16, 2020 / 12:44 pm

      Glad you appreciated it – it had to be done! You have a great week too 😊

      Liked by 2 people

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