Regrets, I've had a few, I did what I had to

Gregor Steele

Reader's voice: "Hey, Gregor, we haven't had anything about listening to rock music in Daewoos for a while."

Actually, I've been lucky enough to hear a couple of readers' voices recently. One was from a very nice lady in Stirling who recognised me from the photie on the left. Another belonged to my old pal Colin Stuart, who always reads this column to see if he's mentioned. Put the paper down, Colin. Everyone's looking at you.

Where were we? Daewoos and music. The last time I mentioned them I had just bought some prog rock, partly against my better judgment. It was a compilation by Yes and I liked it enough to download one of their tracks not featured on the album. It was a cover of Simon and Garfunkel's "America", a song I love, especially since I have in my time counted the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike.

Prog instrumentals, Paul Simon lyrics ... what's not to like? I soon discovered that this was not a rhetorical question and that the answer was "prog instrumentals". The rot sets in straight after "Let us be lovers, we'll marry our fortunes together," with a technically perfect but utterly inappropriate bit of guitar and synth tomfoolery. For several minutes, the dreamy, melancholic flow of the piece is ruined by this sort of thing. Why? Why?

My favourite cover version (Joey Ramone's "Wonderful World" aside) is Sid Vicious's take on "My Way". The original is so replete with self-delusion that anyone who likes it deserves to hear it mangled by a musically incompetent, drug-raddled punk rocker. In the classroom, I fell into the "My Way" trap quite quickly, attempting to become the kind of teacher I'd have liked to have had myself.

"Look at this wacky experiment where I smash a tin of beans down on my finger to demonstrate impulse! I'm doing it MY WAY!" Yes, in room 50, physics teaching (pauses for effect, strikes Guitar Hero pose) was the new rock and roll. There were times, I'm sure you knew, when I bit off more than I could chew, but it took me longer than it should to realise that more, much more than that, for the benefit of the kids, I should have done it their way.

Gregor Steele wishes that the Skids had covered 'Nobody's Child'.

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Gregor Steele

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