Diligent readers who commit to memory everything that I have ever written (that is, most of you) will recall that somewhere or other I bemoaned the fact that my brainpans are assailed by a persistent earworm. It is my fate to suffer, rattling around inside my bonce, day in day out, the strains of Merry Xmas (War Is Over) by Mr Lennon and Ms Ono, augmented by a choir of tinies. Why this is so, I cannot say. All I can assume is that I must have done something awful in a previous life and the gods have seen fit to torment me in a particularly cruel way.
Now, perhaps, there is a gleam of hope. For the past week or so, the Yuletide caterwaulings of the Beatle and the woman Cornelius Cardew threw out of his house have been replaced. But my new earworm is, it has to be said, somewhat challenging. I am now beset by Henry Cow’s Living In The Heart Of The Beast, which takes over a quarter of an hour to work its way through my poor cranium. This is indubitably more welcome, but I do ask myself why I can’t have a snappy snippet of pop music, which is what an earworm ought to be.
Incidentally, for those of you who care about such things, Living In The Heart Of The Beast was written (by Tim Hodgkinson) during the period of collaboration between Henry Cow and Slapp Happy. The music was given to Peter Blegvad, who was instructed to supply lyrics. He came up with something about chickens. “This won’t do at all.” pronounced Hodgkinson, who proceeded to write his own words, of a more Marxist-Leninist bent. Shortly afterwards, Blegvad was dismissed from the merged group for “flippancy”.