Writings

Playlist - The Guardian - Family section (01 September 2012)

'When You're In Love With A Beautiful Woman' Dr Hook

'When you're in love with a beautiful woman, it's hard...'

Later on in life I became aware of boys sniggering at the innuendo of this line, but the first time I heard the song in 1979 I was an innocent nine year old in rural Spain on a summer holiday.

The fact that I'd not heard it before might be due to the fact that our household didn't have an especially extensive modern music collection. My parents had their Beatles records and I remember dancing to Abba at a friend's house, but I wasn't au fait with pop then.

We were on holiday with a family friend, who was between marriages and had what might be termed 'a wild streak'. Tales of her boyfriends (one of whom thought he was Jesus) and drunken stormings-off were legion. She was well known for announcing we must attend a fiesta which was supposed to be marvellous. These would always turn out to be some hours drive away where a mournful troupe of guitarists would play interminable Spanish love songs until three in the morning and I would fall asleep on my mother's knee.

On one of our nights out we happened across an open air disco. We joined in at one corner in a slightly desultory fashion, Europop hardly being the best thing to shake your tail feathers to. Then suddenly Dr Hook came on and my father seemed to be galvanised by the novelty of a song, albeit cheesy, with a recognisable tune sung in English. He began to dance, a dance like no other. The song is reasonably fast anyway, my father managed to move at double speed, with a strange little flourish of the hands and a look to the heavens at the end of each flourish that made it seem more like an eccentric foxtrot. It certainly intrigued the local disco, who played it at least twice more so that everyone could see the strange Engleeesh dancing.

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