Back to London today to go to the birthday party of one of Phoebe’s friends. Though when you’re 2, your friends are mainly just people of the same basic age of you that who have parents that your parents are friends with. Though when you’re a parent anyone with a child the same age as your child that you happen to bump into is your friend. It’s a horrendous circle of bringing loads of people who aren’t friends, together into social situations usually involving cake.
To be fair it’s not much more arbitrary than the way our actual friends are chosen. Shared interests as a teenager mainly. Maybe liking the same band.
I had a good time in a room full of strangers. And so did Phoebe. Maybe we can be friends with anyone. What a mind-blowing thought.
To heighten the random nature of the whole thing this was a very cosmopolitan party with almost every set of parents having a different first language. Nigel Farage would have done his nut and then gone home and complained about it to his German wife, if she hadn’t left him. I got to hear Happy Birthday sung in Portuguese (don’t worry Nigel, they sang it in English first, even though the child was Portuguese), which I have to say was a lot more fun than the UK version. I think we might have made a terrible mistake with Brexit guys. They won’t let us sing Portuguese Happy Birthday when they’re gone and we’ll be the worse for it.
I was surprised I enjoyed the party as the idea of driving to Ealing and back on a day that all I wanted to do was sleep made me wonder if just dying might be a better option. But a couple of power naps got me through.
In the car we listened to the radio. Radio 2 were broadcasting live from Hyde Park and having a lot of technical difficulties. There was the longest run of dead air that I have ever heard on any radio station ever (yes, apart from when my shows are on - ha ha, you are funny). It lasted so long that I had to keep checking it wasn’t my car radio that had gone wrong, by changing channels. And the afternoon was beset by technical issues.
The Stereophonics were on the bill and I have become a bit obsessed with their catchy but rather vacuous song “All in one night”. It’s basically a more show-offy version of “I’m up all night to get lucky” with an attempt at added grit, but the story it tells is insane
"One o'clock in the morning
And I'm leaving from the club”
Yeah, little bit of a Rick from the Young Ones pleasure at how late you’ve already managed to stay up there Stereophonics.
"My friends are having a party
Kind of feel I've had enough”
Blimey, how cool are the Stereophonics' friends? They are having a party that either starts at 1am or that is going on long enough that you can pop by at that time and know it won’t be over. But Ian Stereophonics is cooler still, trying to affect the vibe that they get to go to 1am parties so much that on this occasion they might actually not be arsed to go along. They must have been at one last night as well and maybe the night before. These guys are crazy.
But wait, he's only playing with us.
"At two o'clock in the morning
Sure I'm at the party house”
He was going all along and he knew it. He can’t resist a party and they know the party wouldn’t be a party without Ian Stereophonics along for the ride. Though he slightly goes down in my estimation of coolness by calling it a party house. Which makes it sound a bit like he’s gone to Pat Sharp’s Fun House. Not even the TV show, just a party that Pat Sharp still puts on every week in the hope of reliving the old days. I’d have put, “Sure, I’m at the party.. I am cool.”
Who I am I kidding, I am just amazed Ian and his pals are still up at 2am, even though clearly none o them are even dar to pulling…. But wait.
"I meet the roommate getting some water
She got a baby in her stomach.”
Now this couplet blows the whole party apart. I thought Ian Stereophonics’ pals were cool for having a house party in a party house at 1am (that was still going at 2am) but now we suddenly discover they have a (presumably) pregnant flat mate - I say presumably because, I am no doctor, but as I understand it, babies do not grow inside the intestinal system of a woman but in her womb or something (hence womb-man, woman). So there is a possibility that Ian’s friends are cannibals and this roommate has just eaten a baby and is now washing it all down with a glass of water.
But assuming she is pregnant, what does that say about all of this? The housemates of this woman have thrown a party in the middle of the night, even though the person they share the flat with is (as it turns out) extremely heavily pregnant. What a bunch of cunts. And in this amazing sparse use of language the band have also conjured up the fact that almost certainly this woman wasn’t even invited to the party. She’s “getting some water”, which certainly for me, gives a clear image of a bleary-eyed woman, already knackered from growing (or possibly ingesting) a human being inside her (though science can not be sure exactly where in the body this miracle occurs), barely able to walk, suffering from back-pain, managing to haul herself out of bed (it’s very difficult to get up without assistance when you’re pregnant) and waddling to the kitchen for some water. Whilst around her Ian Stereophonic and his mates are getting drunk, having some nose cocaines and chewing on ecstasies. The people she is living with are horrible. Has Ian Stereophonic realised this? Should he have stayed with his initial instincts and gone home and maybe got some new friends who weren’t cunts and possibly decided that as he’s in his forties now, he should probably move to the country and get some sleep because he’ll be walking his dog in four hours. I may be projecting here.
The next verse goes
"Oh oh oh oh oah oh
Oh oh oh oh oah oh
Oh oh oh oh oah oh
Oh oh oh oh oh oh”
which doesn’t add much to the story alas, but at least adds he word oah to the dictionary.
In verse three we realise that Ian has learned nothing. He hasn’t seen the pregnant woman at 2 and then said, “Hey guys, come on. Let’s be a bit thoughtful and have some human decency and end the party now, or at least go to another house. I know this is the party house and Pat Sharp will be upset if we leave, but come on, he’s trying to recapture something that is lost. There’s no need for any of us to be up this late.” No he has carried on partying for another hour. Because at
"Three o'clock in the morning
We hear a scream above the sounds”
God knows how long the pregnant woman has been in pain. It has taken the contractions getting so extreme that she can only be heard above the party noise when she starts to scream. You do get a bit of warning about a baby’s arrival and though none of it is very pleasant, there is a point near the beginning where you have time to say, “This thing has started, someone better get me to the hospital now.” This woman has had to wait until the pain is so intense that her insensitive housemates and their friends are forced to listen. I am pretty sure she didn’t know these guys when she moved in. She probably answered an advert in the paper or online saying “Room in shared house available”, went to look at it, thought it was OK, that the young people she’d be sharing with looked vaguely cool. Maybe they told her they were friends with Ian Stereophonic and that impressed her.
"Looks like the baby in her belly
Thinks it's time to come on out”
Again I am not totally convinced that she is pregnant. There’s a chance, in the horror of realising the awful crime she has committed, she is about to sick up the half-digested baby flesh inside her belly.
But assuming she’s about to give birth, what should Ian and his wasted cunty friends do next. Ring an ambulance maybe or at least call a taxi. It’s three o clock in the morning so there should be some availability and the roads should be pretty clear. These guys have been drinking and probably doing arm heroins for six or seven hours now. Under no circumstances should they wait an hour and then attempt to drive the woman to hospital themselves.
But sadly that’s exactly what they do, because "Four o'clock in the morning
I'm driving all over the road”
Yeah mate. You’re off your tits. And if there were really no other options why did you wait an hour to get in the car? She was screaming at three. It should be “At three oh five in the morning, I was driving all over the road.” Or had you already noted to yourself how everything seemed to be happening on the hour and realised it would be a better song if you inexplicably waited for an hour?
And you’re clearly not fit to be driving. You’re all over the road. This doesn’t make you a hero, it makes you a potential murderer. You’re going to kill the woman her unborn/unregurgitated child and possibly some innocent passersby who tried to stay up all night to get lucky, but got tired at 3.55. Find someone sober to drive her to the hospital. My guess is that none of your friends’ neighbours are asleep. There’s going to be an accident.
"I swerve a dog on the high street
And crash into the post”
I told you. You’re a prick, Ian. If you’re going to drive drunk and off your face on drugs, with a woman giving birth to a child in the car, then the only rule left is “DON’T SWERVE TO AVOID DOGS. YOU WILL CRASH AND MAYBE DIE”.
But did he know this. He crashes into “the” post, not “a” post. Almost like he’d thought about all this in advance and selected a post to crash into.
Four o clock is a busy time as we get two verses for this one. After some more oh and oahs we get,
"She can't wait any longer
I got to help her come into the world”
So now this drunk and presumably injured man doesn’t only believe he is capable of driving under the influence, but feels confident that he can carry out a complex medical procedure that I am going to take a punt and guess he isn’t capable or qualified of doing even if he were sober. Ian Stereophonic hasn’t been to medical college. The only bit of being a junior doctor that he can do is the staying awake for twenty-two hours a day.
He also seems to be casting himself as the hero, rather than the man who carried on partying, knowing there was a pregnant woman in the house and then nearly killed her after insisting that he was fine to drive her to the hospital. He continues
"The police try to arrest us
But then they see the baby girl”
And then presumably still arrest him, whilst taking the traumatised mother and baby to hospital. Apparently not. If you’re Ian Stereophonic and you’ve broken the law and damaged the post, before somehow assisting a woman to give birth in the unsterile wreck of a car, the police let you off and drive you all to the hospital. These people live in a built up area - there is no excuse for drink driving. And why has Ian taken the responsibility of getting this woman to hospital anyway. He isn’t her flat mate. He’s never met her before. Has he spotted her vulnerability and thought if he can paint himself as a hero in this situation he might be able to wangle it so he can have sex with her. Once she’s recovered from the birth, obviously. He’s not sick.
Anyway his plan is working out great,
"Five o'clock in the morning
I'm drinking coffee on the ward”
This prick is so happy with all that he has achieved that he’s actually left the mother and baby to go and get himself a coffee. I bet he’s sitting in the waiting room boasting to all the ill and injured people about what a hero he is. Even though he’s just nearly killed a dog, a woman and her unborn child. But it’s not all about him because eventually
“I take a walk in to see her
Tells me 'bout the dad that took off”
So three hours after meeting her, he finally has a conversation with the woman and discovers she’s going to be a single mum and you know that his eyes light up and in his head he says, “Bingo!” The way is clear. He must have known that. After all this woman was living alone in a house with people who clearly didn’t know or like or respect her and was so desperate for help that she accepted a lift from someone who was wasted. You’d have to be an idiot not to know that dad had taken off. And he is an idiot. But that was all part of his plan.
He then obviously says to her, “Wow, what a bastard. I’d never treat a woman that way. I’m a nice guy.” In spite of all the evidence of the previous three hours. He knows she is in a position where she is vulnerable and needs help and also that she has a poor track record in choosing decent, honourable men. So he can paint himself as being the decent hero, like he’s just been bragging about to a man with a bottle stuck in his rectum and a four year old with a pan stuck on his head.
Then we get some more ohs and oahs, before Ian exclaims as if it’s unbelievable “All in one night.” Sure, yeah, things like this tend to happen all in one night. It’s not that amazing. He thinks it’s amazing enough to make that the title of the song. I’d have gone for “Irresponsible cunt with a load of cunty friends, behaves appalling whilst trying to make out he’s amazing.”
Anyway, all in one night is the USP for Ian. A theme he feels so strongly about that the next verse begins. "Six o'clock in the morning
And now we're 22 months along”
What? I thought this all happened in one night. You managed a run of five consecutive hours where something happened, but then for the sixth you have to jump forward nearly two years. That, by definition means not everything happened in one night. The song (and the chorus) should be “All in one night, apart from the last bit that happens on another night quite a long way into the future. Plus aren’t I great? You know, if you ignore everything I’ve just told you.”
But his long game plan (this guy will stay up for 22 months to get lucky - take that Daft Punk).
"She ask me to be the daddy”
And why wouldn’t she? How desperately sad was this woman’s life that this was her best option? A stranger she met in a kitchen who showed no interest in her until she started screaming and then nearly killed her.
"And get married when it snows” Which seems an odd way to make the decision about your wedding date. Maybe she had a bang on the head in the car crash. Perhaps she’s in a coma and the whole thing about her saying anything to Ian is just a projection.Is she actually banking on global warming meaning that this is unlikely to ever happen and so she won’t end up in another doomed relationship with a controlling self-obsessed man who thinks he’s incredible when he’s clearly a douche?
All in all, I think you will agree, a song with hidden depths that aren’t immediately apparent on a first hearing, when you might assume it was written by a twelve year old trying to imagine what it was like to be grown up.