So just before Christmas I made a new item available in my shop, as I’d just emigrated and didn’t have an shirts or anything for people to gift each other with at those most Wonderful Time of Year. That item was A SONG, written and executed by me, Akira The Don, about whatever the person who bought it wanted. Sleeve also.
I did one of these songs last week, for a safe British dude called Ben. His friends clubbed together to get it him for his birthday, and sent me a very sweet letter enquiring as to whether the item was still available, which it was, and whether I was able to do it within the fortnight, which I was.
“Well that’s gonna make somebody happier than you can imagine,” came the reply, along with a list of things they wanted including in this song they were getting for their best friend’s birthday from one of his most favouitest musicians, truly a futuristic and amazing gift if e’er there was one.
The list was extensive, and included the following:
Ben’s love of John Hughes films – esp Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (this film taught Ben essential life skills for a teenage lad!)
Morrissey and The Smiths
The Rocky movies
Escape To Victory
Be fun to refer to changing technology of Ben’s life – when he was at school he had a Commodore 64, then Playstation, now it’s smartphones, twitter and facebook
Wes Anderson – esp Rushmore
Paul Thomas Anderson – esp Magnolia
Ben was different from the other kids at school in that he loved American culture and sports – esp American Football, hip-hop, cool films
Ben’s favourite NFL team is Miami Dolphins, fav player was Dan Marino
We even formed our own American football team in the school playground, called the B.E. Panthers
Ben loved English literature – be great to weave some of it into the lyrics, we loved Gerard Manley Hopkins and his use of alliteration and onomatopaeia. Ben loved Shakespeare, especially Henry IV Part 1, in particular Hal’s soliloquy which he used as a mantra for life on many occasions! Be great to weave a line or two from this into it, he’d love that:-
If all the year were playing holidays,
To sport would be as tedious as to work;
But when they seldom come, they wished-for come,
And nothing pleaseth but rare accidents.
So, when this loose behaviour I throw off
And pay the debt I never promisèd,
By how much better than my word I am,
By so much shall I falsify men’s hopes;
And like bright metal on a sullen ground,
My reformation, glitt’ring o’er my fault,
Shall show more goodly and attract more eyes
Than that which hath no foil to set it off.
I’ll so offend to make offence a skill,
Redeeming time when men think least I will.
After school Ben went on a road trip round the States, taking in the country and culture he loved so much, where among his hi jinks he was taken in by the Moonies (church/cult)
Dudley Campus – best friends were Eddie, Christian, Jeremy, Tom Nash
Goldsmiths (nightclub) – all you can drink for 99p
Corridor 1 parties with the Dutch mafia
Stealing Farmer Dave’s milk from the kitchen
POST-UNI (last 18 years!):-
Scriptwriting / Making the short film “Going Home” in 2010 / Got played at film festival in Yorkshire
Has written several scripts, watches films every weekend, trying to get published, no luck yet!
That’s Ben’s dream, he lives for film scripts, desperately wants to be a film writer.
It will happen for him one day!
So, I poured myself a vodka soda, typed “America” into a search box, and sampled the first four bars of the first music that appeared. A few minutes later I had the chorus, and half an hour later I’d written the song. I poured another vodka soda, turned the lights down, and recorded it, right here in my MIDNITEbother Wadey’s Hollywood apartment, where a younger Ronald Reagan used to get up to all manner of no-good.
A few days later Ben was presented with his song. I’m told it was a very emotional moment.
Anyway, I love the song, so with Ben’s permission I am sharing it today. HAPPY BIRTHDAY BEN, you uppercase G you.