The traditional summer solstice ritual of hiding in my bedroom all day with the curtains drawn

Saturday 20 June 2009

This blog doesn’t get much mail, except for some crazy oboe-playing guy who writes in every six months or so to complain about a passing comment I made about a music critic several years ago. So I was quietly excited to discover that a lonely missive had dropped into my inbox today.

That thrill turned to disappointment when it turned out to be be from Web Sheriff, an apparently legitimate company that perversely tries to make their emails look like spam by putting “EXTREMELY URGENT” in the subject line and using an embarrassing, fakey old-west style sheriff’s badge as their logo. Best of all, despite the company name and logo, they’re British; and there’s nothing funnier than the British pretending to be cowboys (except for Germans pretending to be American Indians.) I guess the old company logo of Robin Hood being persecuted by Lily Allen’s dad didn’t inspire as much confidence.

Anyway, this EXTREMELY URGENT email from Deborah Sykes was a “DMCA REQUEST” to “remove Infringed Title(s) from Infringing File Location(s)” I thought the DMCA was an American law, so I’m not sure why a British company is so keen on enforcing it. I haven’t bothered to look this up because the file in question had already been taken down, so I guess their urgency wasn’t extreme enough.

You’re probably wondering what file on my website the sheriff (head office in Wiltshire, not Nottingham) was so exercised about. It was because I had briefly included a copy of that massive Van Morrison hit, “Thirty Two” – all sixty-one seconds of it – in Please Mister Please. Van’s time here has come and gone, but you can recreate the magic of the song in your own homes by strumming any old chord on an acoustic guitar and reciting over the top these deathless lyrics:

I see, you see, we’ll get a guitar,
yeah, we’ll get a guitar
and, oh, we’ll get, we’ll get three guitars,
No!, No!!, we’ll get four guitars
and we’ll get Herbie Lovelle to play drums,
and we’ll do, the
“Sha-la”, sha…
We’ll do the sha-, sha-la bit.
“Sha-la, sha-, sha-la, sha-la”, we’ll do it,
we’ll get together, uunghh, we’ll get
uunghh, ttcchh, uugnhh-uunghh-uunghh, like that,
and we’ll do the sha-la bit and then,
then, then, and we’ll get, we’ll get sixteen guitars,
and then, then we’ll play it,
and then we’ll do that one, yeah.
Let me hear ya’ do that again.
Over and over, Bert Berns song, over…
[clack, clack-clack, clack]

  1. I had to follow all the links as I couldn't believe it wasn't a joke.

    While I did rush out to buy THEM's eponymous album in 1965, and admire Van's musical passions, I could easily suspect that Deborah Sykes is in HIS employ, and the Web Sherriff is a subsidiary of Moondance Inc.

    James Nesbitt had a great line in his title role of that TV series Murphy's Law, where he mentions God and his
    companion says: "God ?"

    M: "Yeah God, you know, like Van Morrison only less grumpy"

  2. Yeah, it took a whole lot of checking to convince myself it probably wasn't spam. I think it's the artists themselves (or whoever acts on their behalf) who hire The Web Sheriff.