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In the comments under last week’s blog Linda mentioned how she enjoyed my references to Yorkshire and the use of rhyme in the ‘Happy Birthday‘ song (if you missed it you can find the blog with the embedded video of my first blues/jazz number here). Encouraged by the positive feedback from this most valued of my US fans I decided on Monday to put pen to paper and produce a ballad describing a tale of everyday folk from the north of England. Like any good soap it includes romance, passion, good regional food and even a dramatic medical emergency.
Clearly any tale about the North of England had to be presented in an appropriate accent. For this I used the accent I was blessed with as a child (the one that I usually revert to after a couple of beers). I hope those readers who are not too familiar with our UK regional accents will not struggle with this interpretation. To facilitate understanding I have included the words in the video (in ‘almost’ Queens English). This will hopefully also encourage people to sing along. I suspect that as soon as the educational authorities learn of this masterpiece of cultural heritage it will be added to the English Language curriculum of most respectable schools.
I mentioned that the story includes a medical emergency. Well in fact there are two problems encountered by the story teller – one is that his girlfriend is a Nitomaniac. This is a rare medical condition about which little has been published. If you do a Google search (be careful with the spelling!) you will simply end up with my video. Nitomaniacs are people with an obsessive desire to harvest body (or hair) lice.
The second medical condition in the song is that the story teller appears to be infested by nits – which is a colloquial term for body (or head) lice. Such people are affectionately described (at least in the north of England) as being ‘lousy’ (hence the use of the term ‘you lousy sod’). I had the good fortune to get to investigate these cuddly creatures at close proximity when I was studying at Manchester Medical School in 1978 (no I didn’t use these in the Dugger’s ‘Bug-a-pics’ Christmas Card making enterprise – that made use of electron microscope pics of staphylococci involved in conjugation – a kind of bacterial copulation).
The tragedy in the story is that the person infested with lice happens to be in a relationship with a Nitomaniac. Clearly this makes for some dramatic scenes – especially in the bathroom. I decided it wouldn’t be appropriate to include footage of these scenes in the video in case children see it.
So there you are – poetry taken from everyday life in the North of England – a lover’s tragedy with a touching medical drama. Just to finish this week’s blog I would like to say special thanks to my former girlfriend Sally who helped me through a very traumatic period while I was living in Manchester (I understand she still gets regular therapy for her own little ‘obsessive’ problem).
Enjoy Valentines Day,