I try never to let depressing thoughts get me down, especially the "if only I'd..." variety which are guaranteed to drive anyone to suicidal despair. But today one seems particularly prominent - if only I'd... actually asked Mrs Haralumbas what the name of that damn song was?
Some history. Back in primary school I was given a choice for LOTE (Languages Other Than English) class. The options were Greek and Macedonian, and later Portugese and Japanese. Portugese proved to be a totally retarded waste of time as the class consisted of watching a single scene from a Rambo flick over and over again, where Rambo has Johnny Native explain why the hell they kill cattle and drag its body in the dirt. No language other than English occured in the scene. After two weeks, Portugese classes collapsed altogether. I wonder why.
Of course, Greek classes weren't exactly what I'd call utterly brilliant either. Even at the time, in the early nineties, I suspected there was more to the subject than was actually being taught to us (yet simultaneously I was hugely relieved it was staying in such a small section that I could understand). Our teacher was Mrs Haralumbas, which I may not be spelling correctly, a diminutive brown-skinned Greek lady in tinted spectacles and a silver afro. Her classes often consisted of telling us stories of Odysseus, the Minotaur, all the funky classics, told to us in English from graphically-illustrated Greek picture books. We also did a bit of Greek Dancing, (which, if you got your kicks by touching shoulders of the opposite sex and not being allowed to make eye contact, was hardcore stuff), spent many, many hours practicing drawing Greek characters in running writing, and also listening to Greek songs.
But, it goes to show how little I... or indeed ANYONE... learned in that class that this mind blowing prog rock, songs that would melt your face, we actually had no idea what they were called. Or even what they were about. Yet we all sang along, every week day, at the top of our little voices. They were great. Utterly brilliant. I lack superlatives. Only the Doug Anthony Allstars had the same hit rate with me. The songs were awesome.
But one was better than all the rest. One moved myself and others to tears - even though it wasn't sad or even had some huge Golden-Brown-style hook in our subconsciousnesses. It was sung by a girl who had one of those voices you knew would get her a permanent job at any cartoon network, perpetually young and androgynous, but with incredible range. The music took its cue from her voice.
A class of over a dozen hormonal brats sat, stunned as it played, the only interruption the vague grunts from the teacher that certain verses were all about the sun worship or somesuch. When it was over, I could simply exchanged stunned looks with the others.
"Wow," said I. "That was... apocalyptic."
"Yeah," agreed Michael Trakosas - mandatory bezerker kid with the most Greek background of all present. "Um, what does 'apocalyptic' mean?"
"It means the end of the world," I explained. I often had to explain what the hell I was on about.
Michael T nodded. "Yeah. That's what we'll hear the day the world ends."
"The world's not going to end," pointed out Shelly, a butch chubby curl with long curly hair in a pony-tail.
"Yeah," said Angelo, the Olag Gan of the group, "but if it does end, that's what we'll hear."
No one had anything to say after that.
We heard the song once, maybe twice more and never again. What was it called? Who was it by? If I had the faintest snippet of info, I might be able to find out more. Maybe even get some kind of copy of it somehow. But no. It never cropped up again. It's been over a decade since I was anywhere near the place I heard it, even longer since I was with anyone else who might have heard the same song. And, as it wasn't in English, or even sung enough for me to to know SOME of the words, I could hardly even google it. I don't even know how to properly write it down phonetically, and only one line of that song still exists in my memory...
So, if any passing bloggers speak Greek and have an indepth knowledge of pre-1995 Greek rock tunes and you are able to translate the following, please do so. It could make one less regret in my life...
E-yeah po-e-yeah, am-me-ah-vry-ot-tu
Yeah. My hopes aren't high either.
So, to lighten the oppressive atmosphere of bittersweet nostalgia and childhood regret, some... randomized psuedo-satirical abuse!
Scene 1 – Classroom
[Rose Tyler stands in her hoodie at the front of a classroom full of students, ranting in perfect Italian as the other students and a teacher stare on in confusion. She has clearly been singing a long time]
ROSE: Nostra patria è il mondo intero!
Nostra legge è la libertà!
Ed un pensiero, ed un pensiero:
Nostra patria è il mondo intero!
Nostra legge è la libertà!
Ed un pensiero
Ribelle in cuor ci sta!
[The class stare at her.]
ROSE: Oh wait. Sorry, forgot how to speak English there for a second. Sorry. Ahem.
Our homeland is the whole world!
Our law is liberty!
We have one thought, but one thought:
Revolution in our hearts!
SMASH THE STATE!
[The other students applaud. Rose does a funky hand gesture.]
MR. PATTERSON: Yes, very well recited, Miss Tyler. But the topic for speech was the socio-political relevance of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
[A long pause.]
ROSE: ...SMASH THE STATE!
MR. PATTERSON: Whatever. Next!
[The school bell rings and all the students laugh, flick V-signs at the teacher and storm out. The teacher is left alone, holding his head in his hands.]
MR. PATTERSON: I hate my life.
Scene 2 – Outside School
[Rose and Mickey split off from the school kids and wander off.]
MICKEY: So, ma woman. How’s about you and me go back to my place and soil the duvet, eh?
ROSE: Ew. Then we’d just have clean it again wouldn’t we? Besides, I’m going to Hellmouths. Want to come with me?
MICKEY: Baby, I dream of nothing else... Oh. To the bookshop. Yeah. Whatever. [sighs] What are you after?
ROSE: A CD.
MICKEY: From a book shop. Yeah, that sure makes sense. What is it? Billie Piper’s greatest hits?
ROSE: Nah, there’s a new Doctor Who audio out.
MICKEY: Sweet onion chutney, Rose. Why can’t you waste your cash on something less vulgar, babe, like, I dunno... smack laced with cocaine or something like that? Please tell me it’s at least Big Finish.
ROSE: Nope. SCAD.
MICKEY: [revolted] Rose, babe, sugar, sweetie, non-specific term of affection, you can’t be THAT desperate for audio drama!
ROSE: Well, I am. Now there’s a new TV series, all the fan audios and videos have suffered, what with being brutally reminded what pointless stopgaps they were.
MICKEY: Yeah, but no one likes the SCADs! You only found out they existed by clicking “random” on that webring – a total bunch of sadact losers who can’t decide whether to join the KKK or the Outpost Gallifrey forum for the love of Lead Zeppelin!
ROSE: I like them.
MICKEY: Babe, you like Ant and Dec.
[They walk into the convenient sci-fi collectable bookshop. The one with the inflatable Dalek out the front next to the Starbug-shaped people mover car.]
Scene 3 – Hellmouths
[A blatant BBC product placement archive full of all post-2005 DW merchandise and several inflatable sex dolls, that may or not be for sale. A bored albino flips through an SFX with a cover showing John Barrowman and the words “WHAT RETARDS GAVE THIS GUY HIS OWN SHOW?!”. Rose and Mickey enter, the latter gagging on the stench.]
CLERK 1: [not looking up] Yeah, yeah. Go outside if you need oxygen. What do you want, blondie?
ROSE: I am here to pick up my latest SCAD.
CLERK 1: That sounds nasty. Try the STD clinic down the street.
ROSE: It’s an audio CD. Superiority Complex Audio Drama.
CLERK 1: ...yeah, I think the STD clinic might be a good bet anyway.
MICKEY: She’ll show you her tits.
CLERK 1: Really? Oh well. All right then. [shouts] Chamber! We got any SCADs left?
CLERK 2: [vo] Don’t be disgusting, Rupert!
CLERK 1: No, you know. The fan audios by the Christian nutters who believe homosexuality can only be cured by death camps and still haven’t got original music after twenty-five years!
CLERK 2: [vo] Oh, them. Didn’t we use them all in that Frisbee competition?
CLERK 1: Not all of them, surely!
CLERK 2: [vo] Well, the rest we used as beer mats, remember?
CLERK 1: Oh yeah. We did. [to Rose] Sorry, luv. All gone.
CLERK 2: [vo] Why do you want one?
CLERK 1: Fit blonde school girl down here says she’ll let us see her areolas in context if we do.
CLERK 2: [vo] And in English?
CLERK 1: Her breasts unto to us she will show. [beat] Chamber? Chamber?
[A second clerk rushes in, wearing a Kill-Bill tracksuit and clearly exhausted.]
CLERK 2: [gasping for air] Got it! Last one! Here you go, Miss!
[He hands over a CD with a very cheap and crap looking cover.]
CLERK 2: So... you... wear a bra... under there?
ROSE: Cool. I got the last copy.
CLERK 2: Nah, there’s a dozen more up there. But that’s the last one.
CLERK 1: Thank Christ for that.
CLERK 2: The SCADs are no more. Sadly-Cancelled Audio Dickheads it stands for now.
CLERK 1: Yeah. Got cancelled. Their new Doctor, the porn star pretending to be Colin Baker, his brain exploded or something. And with the TV show kicking their arses six way to Sunday, why go on?
CLERK 2: Well, it wasn’t for the sex and groupies. Speaking of which, Miss...?
ROSE: [busy checking CD] Sod This For A Game Of Soldiers. That’s fitting, somehow, as a title.
CLERK 2: I never thought they’d be cancelled.
CLERK 1: No one did. We all just sort of hoped. Well, by “all” I mean the handful of people who know they exist.
CLERK 2: Yeah, fascinating. Now, Miss, we were on a promise for some boobies here...
MICKEY: Don’t you have the internet or something? The ho is MINE!
[Mickey starts to lead Rose to the exit.]
MICKEY: Come on, Rose. What’s the point listening to a bunch of talentless amateurs wanking away in front of tape recorders since before we were born, anyway. The only reason they’ve made so many is cause they don’t have lives. How many times did they try and pass off Revenge of the Cybermen as a new story anyway?
ROSE: But I liked them. In a kind of sadomasochistic way, it was... magical. Pathetic. But magical.
MICKEY: Everything has its time and everything dies. With them cancelled, you’ll have to find something else to occupy your time. Like sex with me, for example.
ROSE: I suppose I could try those Audio Visuals...
MICKEY: Dammit, girl, you need HELP!
CLERK 2: Hey, you didn’t pay for that!
MICKEY: We paid what it’s worth.
CLERK 1: Hmm. He’s got us there, Chamber.
CLERK 2: Why do I hang round you, Rupert? Seriously? Why?