Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Pan and er, Pan

The Glam Ass shoved a copy of The Times under my nose. His expression implied that the country was going to the dogs - if indeed it hadn't already been there, done that and was now proudly sporting the t shirt.

'Just what's that all about?' he grumped, stabbing his finger on a quarter page ad. 'Can you understand it?'

I looked and well, no, I couldn't.

'I can understand the words but what the **** is the picture all about?' he continued. I could foresee one of those whingey conversations ensuing in which he proposed that in its glory days advertising was creative and made sense but now it was just gratuitous clap-trap etc etc etc and I would disagree and talk about different mores for different generations. Blah, blah.We would go round in circles until some other snippet caught his eye and we set off on a minor rant yet again.

The offending ad is for a mobile phone provider - as it is not in front of me now their name escapes me. That's how good it was. Not.

Yes, the words are perfectly understandable but the picture is a little bizarre; a bucolic landscape with an ugly hooved and horned man dressed in a cricket sweater, and obviously in thrall to a sweet little hovering fairy. Are we missing an allusion here?

'Is is meant to be Pan?' the GA asked. 'Why? Why's he wearing a cricket sweater?'

I nod sympathetically. I dunno. I get asked a lot of questions like this and experience has proved that it's wisest not to get too embroiled. It's generally not worth wasting energy on. Perhaps I had switched off anyway - at the mention of the word 'Pan' my brain's hyper-efficient search engine was churning away and seconds later a few lines from a song last heard in the early 70's  popped into my head. This was without even trying.

'how will I say where I end
or where you begin
how will I say, what shall I play
shall it be you or the wild wind
as Pan with the unsane eyes
or with the wild horns
or when I am crowned with the paper crown
or with the crown of thorns

This is a snippet from the Incredible String Band's 'Queen of Love' - I won't bore you with it all. There is much in the same vein as it lasts a whole 8.06 minutes. I suspect I was quite a fan of theirs though the vinyl is long gone. Seen written out and after a gap of nearly 40 years it does seem like vapid unfathomable tosh, but back in those heady days however, how profound and mystic.

I am of course immediately transported back to then, to summer days in north Oxfordshire when the sun was always shining and if it rained, what the heck - we got wet and danced in it.

Enough of this - a more scholarly person might have come up with references to classical Greece rather than a season of peace and love. None of which answers any of the questions posed by the Glam Ass or satisfies my passing curiosity about the relationship between Pan and a fairy.

Am I missing a trick somewhere? Enlightenment welcome.
Out of curiosity I've just gone and looked at the ad again. The provider is O2. I've googled O2. Our goat-legged friend and his fairy are there as well. More mysteriously the goat-legged one, still in his cricket sweater, also offers fantastic tariffs and deals from a speedboat...to a squirrel. 

Worse still, I now feel an 'ear-worm' coming on.


Fennie said...

What the little fellow with the thunder thighs is missing is his pipe, or pipes even - on which to play the lilting haunting melody that transfixes and enraptures and makes all human spirits - particularly of the female persuasion - lose their willpower and follow him in abject submission wanting only him and non other for the rest of their days and nights.
A powerful and a dangerous fellow indeed. But a Pan without pipes is like a sailor without a boat, or a windfarm without wind - in other words, pretty useless. So what this has to do with O2 I cannot think. Pan would have no need to call anyone and if you were to hear his calling the first thing you would discard would be your mobile. Look for goats on the mountain behaving capriciously and plug your ears.

rachel said...

You were a fan of the Incredible String Band???? Me too!!!!!! A real concert-going fan, I was. I haven't encountered another since I was about 19..... And as I have a couple of their CDs, I think I'll dig them out now and play them on my computer.

Sad, or what.....

Pondside said...

I think that I'll have to side with your Glam Ass on this one - I'd say 02 must have had either a minuscule advertising budget, or perhaps no talent and a large budget.

Cro Magnon said...

I saw an ad' featuring this numpty on TV recently, and my reaction was exactly the same (although I didn't bother to do further research).

I still have all my old ISB albums (but with no record player). Did you know that Licorice went 'missing'. It is thought she might have joined some wierdo cult in America, and just cut all ties.

Everyone sing along...'My father was a lighthouse keeper.....'

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Pan has a speedboat ? And wears cricket jumpers ?
What with that , psychedelic music played by young men in ponchos and my complete ignorance of O2 and its function , I'm now feeling totally unable to help .

Frances said...

Oh Mountaineer, look what this post of yours has started.

Over here in New York, I've no idea what that advert might be hoping to link into, but ... when you mentioned the Incredible String Band, I knew a comment must be submitted. Way back when I did love their records, and still do have those records, even if I no longer have a record player.

Way back then, my roommates hated those records. Years later, I did see one of the duo...was it Robin something, perform a sort of stand up, story telling act on a New York City college stage. I thought he was pretty funny. Gosh, how long ago was that?

Let me just say how much fun it is to come across a post like yours and realize that someone somewhere actually shares some little bit of a memory of yore.


elizabethm said...

I had to read this aloud and snort. Wonderful.