Dog dilemmas – driving and listening..

I spend quite a lot of my time driving – I have an eighty mile round trip to and from work most days (sometimes more) and live a bit in the sticks so often drive to gigs or social gatherings.  Generally in the car I listen to music, I use my phone for this (which is also sometimes acts as a sat nav) and whether I choose specific things to listen to or have it on shuffle there’s quite a lot of Ferocious Dog music on there.

So you’re always likely to encounter them on any particular trip with me in the driving seat.

Having just checked there’s 68 Ferocious Dog tracks on there.  Admittedly there’s a lot of duplication – I am sad enough to have both the UK and German versions of the album on my phone, as well as the previously released mini-album, the acoustic album and two EPs, the iTunes Hell Hounds release, a recording of Too Late being played on The Beat on the BBC and a couple of live tracks I had kicking around.  So there are many tracks that appear more than once.

In the run up to a Ferocious Dog gig I will normally just entrust Siri to control my musical selection – so I’ll summon her and say “Play music by Ferocious Dog” – normally she understands me and basically that means she’ll shuffle through any music by that artist in a random order – ideal!  But as I spent the last week to-ing and fro-ing from work it inspired a few dilemmas or pit-falls (ha, pit-falls, I had a few of those on Saturday night in the Hairy Dog!!) that can crop up when driving whilst listening to Ferocious Dog.

Maybe you can think of a few more?  Frustratingly I couldn’t come up with final one to make a top ten!

  1. Getting caught speeding
    Listening to pretty much any track makes you want to drive really fast and run the risk of being done for speeding.  The worst for me are Mairi’s Wedding Part II and Lyla once it kicks into the violin solo bit which almost puts me in a bit of a trance.  Mercifully I’ve yet to pick up a speeding ticket in these circumstances – but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time!
  2. Hoping above hope that you can avoid a gear change for a few minutes
    This one is specific to Freeborn John – because you can’t help but go for a one-armed rendition of Dean’s surfboard routine with your left hand as it blasts out.  But then comes and irritating build up of traffic ahead that means you need to reach down and change gear just as you were about to do the ‘free-thinkers and the levellers‘ bit.  What a nightmare!
  3. Terrifying fellow motorists
    You only have to have a look through Waggy’s photo albums from gigs to realise that bellowing along to a Ferocious Dog song can unleash some pretty fearsome facial expressions.  Imagine what some poor buggers must think if they glance in their rear-view mirror on the M42 in a traffic jam to see me having a good ol’ sing along to Blind Leading the Blind!
  4. Accidentally ‘listening to the west winds’ when you have a passenger
    Quiet Paddy is the next track up, ‘Listen to the west winds..’ sings Ken through your car stereo speakers and you instinctively reach up and cup your left hand to your ear like in t’mosh pit.  Then have to feign an itchy head as you realise there’s somebody sat in your passenger seat who might not fully understand your urge to enhance your ability to hear the west winds.
  5. Hell Hounds / On The Rocks version roulette
    This is going to make me sound really sad.  No, even sadder than you already think I am.  The single of Hell Hounds that was released on iTunes along with a b-side of On The Rocks are actually slightly different recordings to the ones on the album.  It basically involves presumably a bulk-buy of ‘Hey!’ samples as both the tracks on iTunes have them whereas the album tracks don’t – at live gigs there’s usually a few ‘Heys’ in both songs.  Please tell me someone else has noticed that!
  6. Counting in the band for Mairi’s Wedding Part II
    I don’t suppose this really matters unless you have a passenger again.  Indeed, it doesn’t really matter even then in truth – but certainly for the encore of Mairi’s Wedding Part II I’m very partial of yelling “One! Two! One Two Three Four!” before the furore kicks in.  It can get you some funny looks from unsuspecting passengers.
  7. Shuffling means that Lee’s Tune doesn’t follow The Glass
    It messes with your head, and there’s nobody to blame but your own tendency to use the shuffle feature of your phone rather than playing things in their released order means it’s actually very unlikely that out of all the tracks available in the selection it will choose the right order.  So you get that jarring moment when you expect Ellis’ banjo mastery to carry on only to find you’ve gone to a completely different track.  On the flip side – you can experience moments of unexpected delight when by chance the shuffling does follow The Glass with Lee’s Tune!
  8. The Sat Nav interruption
    My phone acts as a sat nav too, so will quieten the music a little bit and tell me stuff it thinks I need to know about my journey over the car speakers.  It can be invaluable, but also it can be a bit of a buzz-kill if you’re enjoying a particularly good singalong moment or even just enjoying listening to a song.  Sometimes it can be unintentionally humourous though – being a regular user of the M42 hearing Freethinker interrupted to the effect of “A millions years of TRAFFIC JAM REPORTED AHEAD” felt cruelly goading!
  9. Forgetting about an open window near other people
    A car can feel a bit like a cocoon – a safe place for tonally challenged people like myself to sing merrily away without fear of being overheard.  Of course if it gets a bit warmer and you’re on the open road you might pop the window down a smidge and carry on – if that’s still the case at the next junction where, for example, the car next to you might have their passenger window down or there might be folk walking around on the pavement, they might wonder why you’re shouting about wearing corduroy breeches or pulling switches at the top of yer lungs.

Does anybody else have issues with music in the car or I am a little more strange than I first thought?  (Which was really rather strange indeed, so I can cope with a bit more).  If nothing else you’ll at least be thinking about it now when you’re bouncing along to Ferocious Dog whilst driving in the future.  Some of these situations haven’t actively befallen me yet (or not to my knowledge), but some have.. and I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before I can tick the remaining ones off the list…

hot hot hot off the press, I’ve been treated to some roughcuts of seven tracks from the new album to have a listen to, so will be posting a few thoughts about that over coming days when I’ve had a chance to digest them properly.  First impressions are just as good as hearing them live… we ARE in for a treat when the album drops.



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