Sunday, November 14, 2004

In the Bath With Richard Harris

Following the preceding encomium to Jimmy Webb I decided to reinstate that 1950's tradition of the Sunday Night Bath and listen to the Jimmy Webb songbook.
Big mistake.
Arranging the CD player where I could hear it without risk of electrocuting myself (found dead in the bath listening to Jimmy Webb songs would guarantee a coroner's verdict of suicide) meant I wasn't paying attention to the water temperature. I was aiming for muscle-relaxing warmth without sperm-count-lowering heat. OK, the latter shouldn't be a consideration at my age but you never know when you might be pressed into service as a sperm donor by someone who wants a kid who can pass their GCSE in English. Anyway, I ended up with water as tepid as a cup of station buffet tea.
'There will be another song for me
For I will sing it
There will be another dream for me
Someone will bring it'
Richard Harris was singing on the landing.
I was too embarrassed to mention in my previous post that this song always makes me cry. It has nothing to do with my state of mind at the time nor any tendency to lachrymosity. You could pull my toenails out with pliers and be lucky to see my eyes water. No, it's more like a 'conditioned response'.
So, after all the loves of my life, I'm lying in a bath of lukewarm water, all the sweet green bubbles foaming round my knees, the bathroom melting in the dark through my tears, and I'm thinking: this is nice. I must do this more often.
At over seven minutes, MacArthur Park is one of the longest pop songs ever released. If you're fool enough to listen to it in the bath, that's a scrotum-shrivelling, goose-bumping, hypothermia-inducing seven minutes. And because it would have been sacrilege to pull the plug on Richard before the end, I missed the beginning of Coronation Street.
'Oh, no!' sang Richard for the final time.
'Oh, no!' I wailed as I grabbed the TV remote with wet hands, hoping you couldn't electrocute yourself from two AA batteries.
And there on Coronation Street, Les and Cilla were taking a Sunday night bath.


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