Saturday, September 19, 2009

Day 188: Ring, Ring...

Today's soundtrack: ABBA - The Complete Singles Collection

...why don't you give me a call?

As the Swedish popsters sang very early on in their career.

And the phone did ring, ring a couple of times today. Except it doesn't 'ring' as such. It plays a Hold Steady riff (the opening bars to 'Stuck Between Stations, actually) that I inevitably fail to hear immediately, however loud I've got the ringtone turned up.

First off, I had a call from Kevin in Brum, just catching up on this and that and tentatively arranging to meet up in Manchester next week. Kevin has - inevitably - succumbed to the iPhone revolution and is well enamoured of his new toy. He probably only called me to give him the chance to use his iPhone again, come to think of it!

Then at the back end of the day, one of my recruitment agencies called. Two pieces of positive news - firstly, one of the job applications that is currently 'in progress' is still working its way through the system and has not,as I had feared, 'gone away'. Hopefully some news next week. Secondly, another opportunity has presented itself which could be right up my street - very early days and very hush hush at the moment, but my name has already been mentioned in dispatches and I gladly agreed that they should push my CV in their general direction. They want to move quickly apparently, so hopefully some progress in the next couple of weeks!

In between the phone calls, I was out in the garden, mowing and generally tidying up. Getting towards the end of summer now, so only a few more mows to go this year I feel. No bad thing - it's not my favourite occupation and gardening is the last thing I wanted to be doing in my enforced spell of 'gardening leave'.

I was also out early getting the weekend shopping in. No fancy recipes I'm afraid - Mrs W has a hankering for some Indian food and some enchiladas over the weekend, so it's ready meals and packages for the next couple of days. I do have some chapati dough in the freezer but that will be the extent of my 'real' cooking this weekend I feel.

Mrs W took some of this week's soup to work today - the verdict? "Good, but needed more seasoning". Now bear in mind that Mrs W does like her salt - she'd put some on her cornflakes if she could - but if you're experimenting you might want to bear that in mind and up the condiment quotient a touch. I think she gets it from the telly - we're back into Masterchef (the professionals) at the moment and seasoning is a big thing for the judges. And hence I get told my soup needs seasoning. But I'm a professional. I can take criticism.

A quasi-random music selection today - I hit 'play' as usual, but since I turned 'shuffle' off on iTunes last night, the first album on the list came up - which, alphabetically, means ABBA.

But it may as well be ABBA as anyone else.

Despite my aversion to Mamma Mia! (I refused point blank to go along to the Manchester production on a works outing once), I do have a soft spot for the Honey Honey Hitmakers. They were a bit of a guilty pleasure back in the day, but over the years a number of very well respected musicians (Costellos and Gallaghers included) have come out of the woodwork to express their admiration for the group.

And what's not to like? Incredible melodies, a couple of pretty girls, bit of marital tension in the band, and a range of songs that include some of the most bitter break up songs ever recorded. Plus a fair bit of fluff as well, admittedly. But even the fluff is incredibly well-constructed and executed fluff.

This is my favourite ABBA song - 'The Day Before You Came'. Not one of their bigger hits, but one of their best lyrics and a song that builds gradually through the song towards the climax. Chorus-free, and no obvious hooks, but a song that demonstrates that pure pop music can be intelligent as well as fluffy.

Oh, and Agnetha does look gorgeous in the video as well...

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