Cold Water

I’ve come late to the party but, at last, I’ve discovered Shazam, the app that tells you instantly the name of any song you’re listening to.

You press a button on your ‘phone, it records a few seconds of whatever is coming out of the speakers at your local gym or coffee shop, and then you get details of the artist and title. Magic!

I’ve used it a lot over the past month as I’ve been sitting in vast conference halls and venues, coaching executives for their spot on stage at places like the NEC, whilst listening to sound technicians decide what music to play for the various events. As soon as a song I didn’t know took my fancy, out came my ‘phone and Shazam told me what I needed to buy. Brilliant.

The beginning of the year has been frantic, I cannot lie, and I’ve seen more halls and venues than a Justin Bieber souvenir T shirt seller.  

My workload so far this year has been such that I’ve had to turn lots of stuff down, and I like that about as much as Donald Trump likes Mexican waves.  I was due to do a TV programme about chat shows that go wrong but I had to pull out, and even my first love, radio, had to go on hold because of the overload.

But then I had a reminder of how silly it is to get caught up in the whole Groundhog Day scenario of chasing money, and of how stupid I am.

If I was hoping that last year’s unusual toll of friends and relatives who passed away would change just because the calendar had replaced a 16 with a 17, I was wrong. My father in law had an unexpected stroke and died two weeks ago.

I learned last year that amongst the sadness there has to be humour and laughter, whether in reminiscing about loved ones or simply trying to feel normal, and one of the great things about these family times is that they bring together people you haven’t seen or spoken to for a while. I had a great catch up with so many of Debbie’s relatives.

One man, who I played five- a-side football with years ago, was reminding me of the guys who used to join us. “Remember Thommo?” was followed by “and of course there was Danno” and then “you must remember Johnno.” This is Liverpool remember, where it’s compulsory to stick ‘O’ on the end of your name. Anyone shouting on their mate Antonio must have difficulty knowing when to stop.

As we went through the cast list, and I was brought up to date on what they were all up to, he casually dropped in “and what about Grimmo? Remember him?” I lied and said “of course”, expecting to hear he had bought a new house, won the lottery or had an operation and was now called Margo. But it turned out life wasn’t as happy as that. “He killed his wife and then topped himself the next day.”  I’m a broadcaster, supposed to make a living out of always having the right words, but I had no idea how to respond to that.

I listened to all the gory details with my mouth hanging open until someone popped a sausage roll in it. I‘ll spare you the grisly details – of both the murder and my chewing.

I guess the lesson to be learned from all this is simply that age old one we’ve all heard before. Live each day as if it’s your last because one day it will be. So I’ve come back full of determination to get my affairs in order, check my investments, downsize my workload, get back to the gym, and listen to more music. 

And if Shazam throws up any Justin Bieber tracks it’s getting deleted.