If you're hip enough to have heard of Glaswegian indie-pop combo Camera Obscura, you'll know that lead singer Tracyanne Campbell has the voice of an angel but the facial expression of a woman who has gone to the fridge for a lovely slice of cake only to remember, too late, that she didn't in fact buy cake that morning; she went to B&Q and bought a monkey wrench instead.
But she does smile sometimes. I saw her do it once, in one of her pop videos, and it was a sight so beautiful that it etched itself on my retinas like a really good firework or something. But with that memory fading of late, I thought I would try to make Tracyanne Campbell smile once again, by taking her on a sexy date and using all my "tricks of the trade" to make her have a good emotion.
Here's how it went.
Trick of the Trade 1: Andrew
Having taken our seats in the moderately priced restaurant of my choice, and done three minutes of smalltalk ("I write a blog, what is it you do?"/"I am the singer of Camera Obscura"/"Oh yeah, I knew that. Do you like beef best or pork?"), I moved on to my opening gambit: my Andrew Lincoln impression. This involves narrowing my eyes, inhaling sharply as though dragging on a cigarette, and saying the words "Andrew Lincoln" in the voice of Andrew Lincoln. Critics of this impression have said "Why would Andrew Lincoln say his own name?" to which I have replied "If someone had just asked him his name", to which they have replied, "Oh yeah, I am so stupid LOLZ"; fucking critics. Needless to say, my execution of this impression on the date was perfect and I felt sure that at the very least the corners of Tracyanne Campbell's mouth would twitch with the threat of a cheeky smile.
Tracyanne Campbell's reaction
While not appearing any unhappier, Tracyanne Campbell certainly did not look look like a woman who had just seen a brilliant impression of Andrew Lincoln. I put it down to the fact that she may not have seen This Life or Teachers and therefore may not know who Andrew Lincoln is. For a minute I re-evaluated my whole impressions policy, thinking maybe I should so more mainstream impressions. Then I thought fuck it, I won't compromise my artistic integrity by selling out (at impressions). Tracyanne Campbell, meanwhile, asked for the wine list.
Trick of the Trade 2: Breadsticks in nose
While not everyone may have heard of Andrew Lincoln, there is no knowledge barrier that can in any way impede the hilarity of the old breadsticks-up-the-nose schtick. So that's what I did: I put breadsticks up my nose and was all like "What? What's up? What, I've got breadsticks up my nose?! God, I'm mad, me, etc." I felt sure the unquestionable mirth of this situation would see Tracyanne Campbell bypass the smile stage and proceed straight to a laugh, which, in Tracyanne Campbell's case, I expected would sound like beautiful fairies playing flutes made of honey.
Tracyanne Campbell's reaction
Tracyanne Campbell asked the waiter which wine had the highest ABV. Which seemed like an unusual way of displaying amusement. And then it occured to me that she could be the one person in the world who doesn't find breadsticks-in-the-nose hilarious. Which was even more surprising when I saw the photo later and realised that with the breadsticks in my nose I actually looked like I was sporting a ludicrous, long, pointy moustache, making the whole jape twice as funny as I had even expected it to be.
Trick of the Trade 3: Les Miserables Medley
When I tell people I have a really beautiful voice, they're generally like "Fuck off, how can someone with a drawn cube for a head be good at singing?", at which point I make them totally reavaluate their opinion/views on life in general, by bursting into a medley of songs from Les Miserables. So when tricks of the trade 1 and 2 both failed, that's exactly what I did. And, luckily, as I burst into song, Amanda Holden, who had been at the next table having chicken nuggets, came over and wept warm, wet, tears of sincerity.
Tracyanne Campbell's reaction
Tracyanne Campbell was not moved to tears. Or to any sort of emotion for that matter. In fact, halfway through Bring Him Home, she went for a wee. Then, when I was finished, she asked how long it usually took them to cook the burgers in this place and said they better not have put any bastard gherkins on.
In the song Happy New Year, Tracyanne Campbell sings "I'm softer than my face would suggest". Well I bloody hope so. Perhaps I need to develop more than three tricks of the trade; I've just never had to use them all in one date before. I won't give up, though, I will make Tracyanne Campbell smile if it's the last thing I do (next Thursday). I'm in the Priory right now, because I was fucking exhausted after singing that Les Miserables medley, but as soon as I get out I think I'll send Tracyanne Campbell a cake. A dead nice one.
I leave you with Camera Obscura's latest single, French Navy. If you like it you should probably send Tracyanne Campbell an email saying thankyou for the music or something. She might just like that. But don't bank on it.
Monday, 1 June 2009
Since that last post I've been going crazy over poetry. I've been eating, drinking, sleeping, but mostly thinking poetry 24/7. It would probably drive me insane I didn't love the arts so much. It's got to the point where I won't let myself think of oranges, because I am reliably informed that nothing rhymes with the word 'orange'. I have mostly got around this by thinking instead of orange juice (rhymes: goose, moose, loose, noose, spruce, Thomas Turgoose).
Although I feel quite blessed to be so good at the poetry, my life is still not without its worry. And it is through poetry that I share with you something that's been troubling me lately. You see, I sometimes go for lunch in a pub that smells of chip fat. And after just half an hour in said pub, all my clothes smell of chip fat too, making me an easy target for cruel jibes ("Ha, ha, you big chippy twat!"; "Urgh, what are you, a chip or something?"; "Get away from me, you chippy dickhead!" to name but a few). Believe me, I've written poems about this, but these were purely for my own therapeutic use: they got me through some dark days, I can tell you. But, having recovered from my most recent chip-stink trauma, my thoughts turned to an altogether more putrid hypothetical. And that is what my poem is about:
A Genuine Concern by Cube
When a public toilet smells so bad
You have to hold your nose,
How long before that wretched stink
Attaches to your clothes?
Although I love scientific research, I have neither a stopwatch nor the bravery to face the kind of slurs that the man who finally answers the poem's question will be subjected to. If you are that man (or woman (do women do poos?)) then please let me know, in verse or otherwise. Let us ALL know, so that we may use unpleasant-smelling public toilets safe in the knowledge that we can get out smelling as fresh as we did when we went in, as long as we follow X's Law (where X is your name, brave researcher). If having a poo-smell-clothes-attachment-safety formula named after you isn't incentive enough, then let me offer a bottle Febreze to the lucky winner. A really BIG bottle of Febreze.