Various songs are referred to in Mouseman, either directly or indirectly. Though they are all referenced at the appropriate point in my notes, I thought it might be useful to create a separate playlist. As you will see, it’s quite an eclectic collection, including popular music of the 50s, 60s and 70s, some earlier music-hall songs, a recording from 1904 and a Scottish icon letting his hair down. My only regret is that I was unable to complete the list with a recording of The Maunder’s Praise of His Strowling Mort. However, I hope you will still find something here to entertain you.
Theme music to Mouth to Mouth
The Bellamy Brothers
MM cannot face his fears in reality, so they they haunt him in his dreams. This Roy Orbison song is directly referenced in the text when MM sinks into the magic night, and acts as a kind of undercurrent to his subconscious world. It also encapsulates his longing and regret, compounded in his case (though not in Roy Orbison’s), by guilt. The song plays an important role in David Lynch’s film, Blue Velvet, which also deals with the dark currents that flow beneath the surface of apparently normal lives.
Having drunk a significant amount of whisky and recited some William Blake, Jerome breaks into a bawdy song. The recording here is by Kenneth McKellar, a popular Scottish singing icon of the 1960s, and was originally made for private circulation. One of the photos accompanying this recording is not of Kenneth McKellar, but of his contemporary, Andy Stewart - best known for the sentimental ballad, Donald Where’s Your Trewsers?
This is not the theme tune to the fictitious hospital soap opera, Mouth to Mouth, but the tune which the author says he had in mind when referring to it. It’s actually the theme to another hospital soap opera, Dr Kildare, and was written by Jerry Goldman, though it sounds a bit like Tchaikovsky.
By the time Virgin Mary tries to whisk Marion away, the character of Torremolinos had changed from the quaint fishing village depicted here to the forerunner of Benidorm and Ibiza. However, that did not stop British tourists from singing a mangled version of this song, often fuelled by alcohol, on Clarkson’s package holidays.
This is the ghastly, smirking, vomit-inducing song beloved by medallion-wearing chat-up artists everywhere. If everyone it were directed at responded in the same way as Marion, the world would be a better place. The Bellamy Brothers themselves seem like nice boys, though…
A song from the iconic Beatles album, Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The author's intention, I think, is to give an impression of MM's state of mind as he gazes out to sea, and to suggest what Roy's little pills might actually be.
This song was written at a time when a trip to the seaside - for a day, at least, if not for a week - was beginning to be within the reach of many working-class families. This was before the rise of the great British holiday in the 1950s and 60s, and its subsequent eclipse by the package holiday abroad. Compare and contrast with the Vince Hill song below.
From The Beatles iconic white album, a song written by the same Paul McCartney who gave us Yesterday, Blackbird and other so-called granny songs, culminating in Mull of Kintyre and The Frog Chorus. (Yes, Paul McCartney - I couldn’t believe it either).
This phrase features a couple of times in Mouseman - once as Frank’s advice to Beech Brothers’ staff before they set off from the coach, and once as part of Gladys’ advice to Christine. It’s likely, though not certain, that the phrase preceded the writing of the song.
Whereas I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside has a definite pre-war flavour to it, this song by Vince Hill captures the spirit of the 1960s. It combines creeping Americanisms (such as candy and dollar) with quaint British anachronisms such as the reference to the charabanc. Each of these songs seems to me to capture the essence of a day by the sea for the working-class punter, though separated by about forty years.
Either the author or MM or possibly both are reminded of this song as MM looks at his empty biscuit tin in the middle of the night. It’s from Dark Side Of The Moon, and the relevant verse comes in shortly after the fourth minute - but it’s well worth listening to the whole track to hear the unforgettable vocals of Clare Torry.
I’ve put this last on the list, both because of its relevance to the final chapter, and because I find it hard to listen to anything else immediately after hearing it. You may feel the same way.