One morning in October as I clocked in for my shift, I couldn't help but notice that music was playing through the public address system, a system until then only used for imploring reluctant members of staff to 'jump on a till' when an unexpected rush occurred or to berate an inconsiderately parked customer into moving his or her vehicle. Yes, a nominal internal company radio station was on the air - in reality an external drive playing a selection of random tunes interspersed with social distancing information. The music, however, was awful - truly awful. I'd consider myself to have a working knowledge of pop music, but this stuff was unrecognisable and bland in the extreme, falling slap-bang into the category of aural wallpaper. The weeks went by and gradually it became the default background noise of a working day. Of course I expected to hear random Christmas songs phased into the playlist as we entered the festive season, but what I didn't bank on when I walked into the store on December 1st was to hear this belting out of the system.
You could've knocked me down with a feather. It was yer actual Coral....playing at work! Next up was 'Talk of the Town' by The Pretenders. Then 'One Vision' by Queen, which was slightly less welcome to be honest, but you get my drift. Suddenly, without warning, we were getting proper songs by proper artists instead of endless bucket loads of dreary muzak. Yes, this stuff is indeed interspersed with the anticipated Christmas songs, but wondering what tune is coming up next has certainly put a spring in my step each day. To date we've had music from artists such as Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell, Bob Marley & the Wailers, The Supremes, Steve Winwood, The La's, James Brown, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Sam Cooke, early Rod Stewart, The Travelling Wilburys, Dusty Springfield & The Four Tops to name but a few - and just yesterday 'Penny Lane' by The Fabs themselves, it really is all over the place and has become a welcome soundtrack to my working day. Even the festive tuneage stretches beyond the blindingly obvious. I mean when was the last time you heard this one going head to head with Slade and Wizzard in your local supermarket at this time of the year?