Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Poetry In Motion

So it’s home time (funny that I think of it as “home time” – like I’m still at school – rather than “clocking off time” from work). A glad escape from another miserable day at Fractious Towers. And I’m pounding the oven hot streets at the bottom end of town with of all things ELO’s “Mr Blue Sky” tickling the upper register of my hearing on the good old trusty MP3 player. My spirits are slowly rising after a tough day but suddenly I can hear other unwholesome, unwelcome, extraneous noise.

Running down the avenue...

Oi! Go on then!

See how the sun shines brightly...

Na ha ha ha!

I turn my head slightly and notice a gang of lolloping, long armed, long legged (long goolied, given the gutter height crotches on their trousers) hoodies flapping their Nike’s over the pavement on the other side of the road. One of them, the one wearing a pale blue vest about 5 sizes too big for his cadaverous frame, is riding a chopper.

Now I haven’t seen one of those in years and I can almost forgive this stain of brash hoodiedom on my home patch for the brief glimpse of this most classic and characterful of all bikes. It catches the sunlight so evocatively as Mr Blue Vest (Oh Mr Blue Sky / Please tell us why / You had to hide away / For so long, so long...) peddles his merry little way the wrong way up the bike lane.

He meanders up and down the curbstones. He wheelies in and out of the shop fronts. He cuts up pedestrians with pushchairs. And all the time he’s giving it some jaw. I can’t hear what he’s saying because the choral bit at the end has kicked in and ELO are chugging their guitars with gusto but I can tell that it is inane, arrogant and annoying by the fact his mates think it’s hilarious and every other passerby is stifling a barely concealed sneer.

And then it happens. The inevitable veer into the middle of the road.

Someone in a black Peugeot has to pull wide and slow down. They roll past him slowly and must say something. Something not complimentary but something that I warrant is true.

Mr Blue Vest gives him the finger. Long and hard. His mates cheer. Emboldened he chances his other arm. Literally. The double fingered salute is proffered to the driver of the black Peugeot. The last symphonic notes of Mr Blue Sky die away...

...and Mr Blue Vest upends the bike onto his own arse and the non applause of the tar macadam.

Cue even louder cheers from his mates. Or are they indeed jeers? ‘Cos they’re showing their true colours now. Despite the rush hour traffic they sound almost disappointed that the car immediately behind their fallen comrade has slowed down with plenty of room to spare.

He gets up. Arms raised and chin held high in that what-the-hell-I-meant-to-do-that fashion that all social retards adopt when they want to brazen out their palpable and unmistakable public humiliation.

He gets back onto his chopper, back into the saddle and rides off more sedately – dare I suggest even chastened – in the midst of his mates. Hidden away and shielded by a thin wall of baseball caps and spotty chins. Away down the oven hot street they mooch, ignoring the smirks and knowing smiles that light up the faces of every single person that they pass. The drivers, the shopkeepers, the people going home, all these witnesses to one of life’s more poetic moments.

I nudge my MP3 player gently. You know, I just might listen to Mr Blue Sky again...


27 comments:

The Dotterel said...

Ah, schadenfreude... friend of those who teacher cocky adolescent boys everywhere!

Steve said...

The Dotterel: indeed; schadenfreudian slips are my all-time favourite.

Gina said...

haha fantastic.

My cat does that all the time - falls off the wall or whatever and pretends she meant to do it. But we're never fooled.

I listen to Mr Blue Sky when I am running.

Steve said...

Gina: cats have a very inflated sense of their own dignity at the best of times so such prattfalls are always a joy to witness.

Mr Blue Sky is possibly one of the finest records of all time.

;-)

libby said...

'Hey there Mr blue...' gonna be on my mind all day now and I LOVE it!
Y'know..I did'nt want him to be run over...but...but...those
not-future-rocket-scientists that aggravate us all these days are so annoying.

Trish @ Mum's Gone to... said...

Brilliantly written, I must say. A wry smile across my face.

Have you ever read the lyrics to the song Schadenfreude from the musical Avenue Q - "Straight A students getting Bs, Exes getting STDs".

Is it true that at the end of Mr Blue Sky is the subliminal message "please turn me over" or did someone feed me this hogwash years ago?

Steve said...

Libby: yeah I didn't want him to be run over either - mainly to spare the driver any distress and the cost of getting his bonnet cleaned...! ;-)

Trish: haven't even heard of Avenue Q - I shall have to Google the lyrics to the song! As for the secret message... yes, there is something but it's hard to make out: I always thought it was either "this song is over" or "this day is over". I did Google the lyrics before I wrote the post but the mysterious end-bit isn't included...

Trish @ Mum's Gone to... said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCQGQ5qBQTA&feature=related

The link is for the Avenue Q song - such a brilliant musical. "The Internet is for Porn" another classic from it!!

By the way, wikipedia and others seem to suggest the "Please turn me Over" lyric may be true, as it was last song on the LP.

Steve said...

Trish: wow. Now that's what I call service! Thank you!

Crystal Jigsaw said...

They're very entertaining if they are particularly annoying. Writing fodder, if only they knew!

CJ xx

Steve said...

CJ: it's nice that I'm able to justify their existence. It's a public service really. Don't everybody thank me at once.

Old Cheeser said...

Do you remember the Dr Who story "Love and Monsters" featuring the character who was into ELO, dancing round his bedroom to the strains of the same song you mentioned? Thought I'd mention that one.

Mmm poetic justice indeed. I wish that would happen to a few more of the hoodie types round my manor! One thing that really gets my goat is kids riding up on the pavement so you have to step out of the way. Grrrrr!!

Steve said...

OC: alas, I am not an old Doctor WHo devotee like your-good-self... I've not really seen any of the original incarnations at all. A character that likes ELO sounds, well, very bizarre!

Seeing a bike ridden on the pavment is a real bugbear even as I admit - hypocrite that I am - that in my younger bike riding days (a mere few years ago) I used to do the same if the road was particularly busy / nasty.

Old Cheeser said...

The story was actually from the first David Tennant series (Series Two!) You should see it, it's one of the Dr-lite episodes and features Marc Warren (he was in either Ashes to Ashes / Life On Mars I think?) as Elton, the ELO-loving fan who also has an obsession with the Dr!! Here's synopsis if you fancy:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_&_Monsters

You're right we probably all rode on the pavement back in the day, but I think the yoof of today have got much more arrogant and aggressive with it!

Being Me said...

Would have been a shame to dint the Peugeot.

Loving your use of the restrained moniker "social retards."

Heather said...

ha ha ha, that image brightened up my morning no end. wonderful

Steve said...

OC: not the episode with Peter Kay? I think I do recall it - but not the ELO bit. We have it on DVD somewhere - I shall obviously have to dig it out and give it a second look!

Being Me: I'm the master of restraint, I am. It keeps me out of prison.

Heather: yes, I wish I'd taken a photograph of it. It would make a wonderful desktop wallpaper.

Old Cheeser said...

It is indeed the episode with Peter Kaaaaay as an alien with a Northern accent! Give it a go, I actually really liked the episode though some Whovian die-hards hated it!

Löst Jimmy said...

I'm with Old Cheeser, the very mention (or sound) of Mr Blue Sky nowadays makes me think of the Dr Who episode. Sorry but I'm easily tainted like that

Suburbia said...

Have heard lots of ELO recently, I remember it well :)

Fran said...

Those last two sentences weren't linked, by the way. The first one referred to the incident!

Fran said...

So there is a God! I enjoyed reading this.

missbehaving said...

You wouldn't last 5 minutes here, everyone rides on the pavement and they ring their bell for pedestrians to jump out the way. If you DO ride on the road, you have to ride counter to traffic.
Don't know if the law or what but everyone does, and no cycling proficiency either.

femminismo said...

ELO? Electric Light Orchestra? Missed a lot of music while raising children. Not too familiar with this song, but the young boys - oh, yes, indeed. Came upon a scatter of them today myself, but no choppers and they were well behaved. An anomaly perhaps?

Steve said...

OC: I didn't mind the episode at all - I thought the Marc Warren part of the story was strangely touching. I just didn't like Peter Kay's Pheonix Nights alien from Klom, or wherever it was.

Löst Jimmy: I wonder if both you and ELO could sue?

Suburbia: I think it's the summertime. Mr Blue Sky is the perfect accompaniment.

Fran: bless you, my daughter.

MissBehaving: Japan sounds like Jeremy Clarkson's version of hell!

Femminismo: they were up to something, I guarantee it. Trying not to draw attention to themselves. Trying to appear law abiding. Hmmm. A bank heist perhaps? Or at the very least they're going to turn over a sweet shop.

French Fancy said...

Hahaha - just desserts. In twenty years time this rider will probably be ...well just the same really - thoughtless, chavvy and off balance.

Steve said...

FF: and still running around with a chopper between his legs that he patently cannot control...