Apr 182012

I’ve been a bit quiet around here lately because I’ve just landed myself a new job in as a technician in a town planning department, and I’ve been in a bit of a panic brushing up on (and learning from scratch some of) the things I will need to be able to do the job.

I ran my own business for a few years, but managed to get out just at the tipping point before heavy depression gave way to a nervous breakdown, and somehow in the midst of this found myself working for the local council.

This was about a year before the recession hit, and I spent a year being mocked for describing how people had simply stopped buying stuff from me and predicting that the mother of all depressions was about to happen. My father was self-employed all his working life and has described to me how he was a day away from bankruptcy several times, so I grew up knowing what recessions felt like, and also that they happen even if politicians tell you that this time they’ve brewed the snake oil to stop it from happening.

The three of us who had been taken on to do the most mindless task ever created by local government were sat just by the toilets, which gave ample opportunity for breaking off what we were doing to chat to people, or “network” as it is known these days according to Mrs H (MBA), and one day I was conversing with a town planner who has since become one of my best friends about music.

It transpired that neither of us had ever met another human being on the planet or any of the other planes we inhabit who admitted to enjoying An Evening With Wild Man Fischer, and certainly never met anyone else who owned a copy, before moving on to discover that both of us owned the record and that it had given both of us a great deal of pleasure, but that neither of our spouses would let us play it while they were in the house. Or the street. Or under any circumstances ever.

A few weeks later he told me that his administrator had walked out and asked if I might be interested in applying to be her replacement. I asked him what an administrator did and he told me he had very little idea, but thought that it was just “doing stuff.” I told him I could probably “do stuff,” so they sorted out the paperwork, and I’ve been “doing stuff” ever since. Before he moved on, we spent many happy minutes singing Larry duets at the start of our working day, until asked politely but firmly to desist by our colleagues.

I have often found myself humming this song since (although to be truthful I often found myself humming it before I became one). John Peel used to play it quite often, and I was always extremely fond of it.

Anyway, I’m not going to be a government administrator any more, but will have to think of myself as on the way to being a planner.

As a leaving present for the gang, I’d like to make a compilation of appropriate songs for planners, and also have some tunes in my head to hum when I’m thinking hard in my new job.

So I’ll start with the obvious: XTC, “Making Plans for Nigel”


  48 Responses to “Last Man Standing: Planning”

  1. There’s an implied element of planning in Sham 69’s “Borstal Breakout,” but I don’t want you starting out a new job with that thought on your mind. Let me think about this. This is a worthy challenge for us, and good luck with the new job!

  2. tonyola

    They Might Be Giants – “No One Knows My Plan”

  3. Ugh, now I’ve got Thin Lizzy’s “Jailbreak” on my brain. What is wrong with me tonight?

  4. trigmogigmo

    guilty pleasure… Blue Oyster Cult’s “The Marshall Plan”

  5. Somewhat off topic, but I too enjoy the Wild Man Fischer record, both for the rhythmic stylings of Art Tripp on the “hit”, Merry-Go-Round, as well as the gripping audio-verite drama of Larry’s psyche.


    My oldest friend on the list, Al, who I’ve known for well over 40 years, is a very big fan of Wild Man, and I’m certain will chime in here soon.

    Congratulations on the planning job. It sounds like you’ve really found your niche.

  6. ladymisskirroyale

    Are we talking City Planning? If so, you could choose a track from the band Life Without Building such as The Leanover.

  7. For those looking to relocate it’s hard to ignore the planning in Talking Heads’ “Cities.”

  8. ladymisskirroyale

    Attica Blues – “Blueprint”

  9. ladymisskirroyale

    I also like the Wild Man Fischer record – it would have fit very well on a mix Mr. Royale made me years ago, entitled “Geniuses, Crackpots and Visionaries.”

  10. ladymisskirroyale

    Sorry to keep Bogarting this, but here’s the dance that the mopey people do:

  11. Talking Heads – “Don’t Worry About the Government”

    “I see the states, across this big nation
    I see the laws made in Washington, D.C.
    I think of the ones I consider my favorites
    I think of the people that are working for me

    Some civil servants are just like my loved ones
    They work so hard and they try to be strong
    I’m a lucky guy to live in my building
    They own the buildings to help them along”

  12. ladymisskirroyale

    Well…the obvious response is “make a new plan, Stan” from “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover.” Surprised no one’s come up with it yet.

  13. Happiness Stan

    Thanks Mr M!

  14. Happiness Stan

    I don’t think that we need necessarily restrict ourselves to town/city planning, although I think it would be helpful if the words “plan” or “planning” were to appear somewhere.

  15. Happiness Stan

    Good one! I’ll revise my earlier proviso that “plan” or “planning” should appear to add “or with a heavy planning subtext”

  16. Happiness Stan


  17. Happiness Stan

    Thanks Geo!

  18. Happiness Stan

    I’d be interested to know who else was on that tape, and indeed to listen to it!

  19. trigmogigmo


  20. I confess, I have no idea what the plan actually is but Bob Pollard lays one out in Ester’s Day:

    “now here’s the plan…

    scenes from ester’s day
    of running backward courses
    with a horse of different forces
    lying wings of films
    that seem to never see the screen
    couldn’t bear to face their dreams”

  21. And congratulations on the new job.

  22. ladymisskirroyale

    To tie together HS’s comment about having “met another human being on the planet or any of the other planes we inhabit,” may I recommend the soundtrack (if it’s available) of this movie? Perfect to listen to right before going in to a town council meeting (or whatever the word is for them over there):


    My brother is a city planner, and I hear all sorts of stories about these meetings. I think he would agree that he often feels like the undead when he leaves them. I hope your new job doesn’t entail attending too many of them!

    Re. the “Geniuses, Crackpots and Visionaries” mix, if you coordinate with Mr. M on the side about details, I would be very happy to email you or mail you a copy of the mix.

  23. hrrundivbakshi

    I would think “The Planner’s Dream Gone Wrong” by the Jam would be cautionary, if a bit of a blunt instrument.

  24. Steve Earle’s plan is much more clear in Copperhead Road:

    “I done two tours of duty in Vietnam
    And I came home with a brand new plan
    I take the seed from Colombia and Mexico
    I plant it up the holler down Copperhead Road”

  25. And of course I will. Geo is being modest in that Larry is just one in a long list of great music that he introduced me to.

    An Evening With Mild Man Fischer may, I think, be the only album left on my personal not-out-on-CD yet list. Wonder if it’s on iTunes?

    I also have an original, bought-at-the-time copy of the first ever release on Rhino Records, that being Wild Man’s “Go To Rhino Records” 7″.

    Geo, was it necessary to include the phrase “well over 40 years”? And what was the name of that foppish teacher back in freshman social studies class?

  26. 2000 Man

    Hey, if you can see if you can just post it here. I like crackpots, too!

  27. I smell another guest Saturday Night Shut-In edition! (Let me know what you think, LMKR.)

  28. Happiness Stan

    I read in a couple of obituaries of Larry that Gail Zappa is fastidious in blocking its re-release in any format. She really didn’t like Larry at all.

  29. Happiness Stan

    Thanks CDM!

  30. Happiness Stan

    The one that keeps coming to mind is Nanci Griffith’s “There’s a Light Beyond These Woods Mary Margaret”, with its line ‘You know we made such great big plans for ten year olds’

    Whenever I think of it I can picture our daughter and her friend plotting in one another’s bedrooms.

  31. Happiness Stan

    either would work for me, but a SNSI version would be fun and more democratic.

  32. tonyola

    Gail tossed Larry out of the Zappa home because Larry threw a jar at her daughter, Moon Unit.

  33. tonyola

    There are some Fischer songs on iTunes, and An Evening With can be found for (illegal) downloading. Naughty, naughty.

  34. misterioso

    The Jam, “The Planner’s Dream Gone Wrong.”

  35. misterioso

    Dammit, as I clicked “post” I saw hrrundivbakshi hrrundivbakshi’s comment above.

  36. misterioso

    And then as I clicked “post” again I saw I had pasted his name twice. Someone make me stop.

  37. He’s a real nowhere man
    Sitting in his nowhere land
    Making all his nowhere plans for nobody.

    Even though they’re “nowhere plans,” he’s still planning.

  38. Mr. Mod, I think I did a Hear Factor on My Favorite British Eccentrics that can be a template.

  39. ladymisskirroyale

    Mr. Royale and I will craft a new and improved Geniues, Crackpots and Visionaries mix for a SNSI. Shall we shoot for next weekend?

  40. So it is written, so let it be done!

  41. BigSteve

    The Jam – The Planner’s Dream Goes Wrong


  42. BigSteve

    Richard Hell & The Voidoids- The Plan


  43. Dusty Springfield, “Hopin’ and Prayin”. It’s kind of sexist.

    Wishin’ and hopin’ and thinkin’ and prayin’
    Plannin’ and dreaming each night of his charms
    That won’t get you into his arms

    So if you’re lookin’ to find love you can share
    All you gotta do is
    Hold him and kiss him and love him
    And show him that you care

    Show him that you care just for him
    And do the things he likes to do
    Wear your hair just for him, ’cause
    You won’t get him
    Thinkin’ and a-prayin’
    Wishin’ and a-hopin’

    Just wishin’ and hopin’ and thinkin’ and prayin’
    Plannin’ and dreamin’ his kiss is the start
    That won’t get you into his heart

  44. tonyola

    Pince-nez alert: the song is actually titled “Wishin’ and Hopin'”.

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