The Village Pub, 10pm.
“It’s just the principle of the thing that gets me,” bemoaned Short Tony.
“Chill out,” I advised. “Everybody gets chucked out of a party once in their life.”
“Yes, but it’s my party and my house!”
“The girls really didn’t want us there, did they?” observed Keith the Woodman.
I took another swig of beer and surveyed the bar. Present: the four of us, two others and the Well Spoken Barman. Big A must have read my thoughts. “You have to make it more atmospheric in here,” he stated.
“Bloody right,” I interjected, backed up by four pints of Broadside. “The music in here, for instance. It’s shite.”
The Well Spoken Barman agreed, unoffended. “We do need to sort that out. We’ve only got CD’s that were free with The Mail on Sunday. You know about music. What do you recommend?”
Somebody is asking my opinion about music! I warmed to the chap immediately. There is nothing better one can do for a man than ask his opinion about music. I looked around the pub in an analytical fashion, determined to use my music-recommending responsibilities for the power of good.
“Well.” I replied eventually. “This is a pub/restaurant. And a sophisticated and not cheap one. What you need is some decent jazz. Not too mainstream, not pretentious, not the slickly produced stuff, not dinner jazz, yet melodic and perhaps funky. The stuff where you shut your eyes, and you’re transported to a sweaty, small and smoky basement bar, packed in a few feet away from the band and carried off by the music.”
Everybody looked at me, dead impressed.
“That’s great!” said the Well Spoken Barman. “Would you do me a favour? Write down the names of some CD’s and I’ll order them off Amazon?”
As we walked home I reflected that perhaps I had been slightly hasty in my subsequent agreement to become the Village Pub’s musical director. On my mental list so far was one album – Les McCann’s and Eddie Harris’s “Swiss Movement” – one of the greatest jazz albums ever made.
I can say this because a) it says on the insert that it’s one of the greatest jazz albums ever made; b) I have it and really enjoy it; and c) it’s the only jazz record I own, full stop, period, shoobeedoobeedoo.
The thing is, that I know nothing about jazz whatsoever. No. That’s not true. I know two things. Firstly, drummers prefer playing it. Secondly, bands start off playing a recognisable theme, then everybody takes it in turns to play what the fuck they like on instruments that should really be in a nice brass band, before somebody waves their hand and they play the recognisable theme again then stop and have a fag.
So I’m a bit stuck. I need to come up with a list before Saturday that veers a cool line between Jamie Cullum and wanky plinkity plonk wierdo shit. But that isn’t just things that everyone’s all heard before and are included on free CD’s given away with The Mail on Sunday.
Help!!! Any ideas?