Sunday, November 8, 2009

Angels on a Saturday Night

From So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish:
Arthur put Dire Straits on the stereo. Fenchurch pushed ajar the upstairs front door to let in a little more of the sweet fragrant night air. They both sat on some of the furniture made out of cushions, very close to the open bottle of champagne.
– No, – said Fenchurch, – not till you’ve found out what’s wrong with me, which bit. But I suppose, – she added very, very, very quietly, – that we may as well start with where your hand is now.
Arthur said:
– So which way do I go?
– Down, – said Fenchurch, – on this occasion.
He moved his hand.
– Down, – she said, – is in fact the other way.
– Oh yes.
Mark Knopfler has an extraordinary ability to make a Schecter Custom Stratocaster hoot and sing like angels on a Saturday night, exhausted from being good all week and needing a stiff beer – which is not strictly relevant at this point since the record hadn’t yet got to that bit, but there will be too much else going on when it does, and furthermore the chronicler does not intend to sit here with a track list and a stopwatch, so it seems best to mention it now while things are still moving slowly.
– And so we come, – said Arthur, – to your knee. There is something terribly and tragically wrong with your left knee.
– My left knee, – said Fenchurch, – is absolutely fine.
– So it is.
[…]
Arthur held her left foot in his lap and looked it over carefully. All kinds of stuff about the way her dress fell away from her legs was making it difficult for him to think particularly clearly at this point.
– I have to admit, – he said, – that I really don’t know what I’m looking for.
– You’ll know when you find it, – she said. – Really you will. – There was a slight catch in her voice. – It’s not that one.
Feeling increasingly puzzled, Arthur let her left foot down on the floor and moved himself around so that he could take her right foot. She moved forward, put her arms round and kissed him, because the record had got to that bit which, if you knew the record, you would know made it impossible not to do this.
Douglas Adams never tells us which song it was, or even which record. Me, I think it could only be one song, but I won’t tell you which just now because it might sway your opinion. The hell with it, I’ll tell you anyway – I think it’s Romeo and Juliet. But if you listen to Dire Straits, I would like to know your views on this question.

11 comments:

Spin said...

It can't be anything other than Romeo and Juliet. This is my favourite Hitchhiker book. It's so gentle.

Shrabasti Banerjee said...

Well, the only Dire Straits song I've listened to is Sultans of Swing, so :(. I did listen to a Romeo and Juliet by The Killers. Might be a cover or a different song altogether, kejaney.

Death On Two Legs said...

Dire Straits runs in my blood. My parents played it in the car EVERY day when I was a kid.

Anyway, my vote goes to Romeo and Juliet as well. Not because there aren't better compositions, but because it's the ONLY song that could bring about The Moment.

P.S.- Have you heard this instrumental piece called The Water of Love? If not, I highly recomment it.

gousgame said...

hehe.. i loved this post

i cheated too - apparently they used tunnel of love for the radio show.

cant figure out why though

:)

rorschach said...

tunnel of love was the number that came to my mind when i read this post. romeo and juliet is just too committed for impulsive sensuality. i think. both great songs though.

Sroyon said...

@Spin: Mine too. :)

@Shrabasti: No, the Killers also have a cover of Romeo and Juliet.

@DoTL: Are you sure? Because Water of Love, at least the two versions I have, are not instrumental.

@gousgame: Goutham, you have done that extremely rare thing - said something which is actually useful in a blog comment. :)
I wonder why it never struck me to listen to the corresponding part in the radio series. They play someone else's version of Tunnel of Love.
Anyway so it seems Douglas Adams himself said in an interview that Tunnel of Love was the song he had in mind. But I am suspicious of this for two reasons. One, he had a reputation for saying any random thing that came into his head at interviews. Two, he says he would need to sit there with a stopwatch and a track list. Tunnel of Love is the first song of the album; he wouldn't need a track list. Yes, pedantic point.

@rorschach: "In any shooting gallery where promises are made / To rockaway rockaway" :)
But this is what I like about the passage. Everyone's free to have their own song.

Death On Two Legs said...

@Sroyon- I'm sorry, I meant a certain live version of the instrumental piece Father and Son. When I first downloaded it off Limewire, it was titled mistakenly as Water of Love. Boka wannabe beneficiary.

Rorschach's point is interesting actually! I considered Tunnel of Love but dismissed it because it gave off more trippy-fun vibes rather than romantic ones.

new age scheherazade said...

Of Course.

Divya said...

Agreed. Romeo and Juliet.

Hardly the best book in the series though.

Andy Simon said...

"Tunnel of love" has this great outro, and I guess DA was referring to it when describing the "extraordinary ability". "Romeo And Juliet" -- in its studio version -- does not feature a "hoot and sing" kind of instrumental section.

So my money is on "Tunnel of love". The solo does not start until the sixth minute, anyway.

Sroyon said...

@Andy Simon: Good point about the outtro.