Saturday, 1 June 2019

Nee Naw


Maybe it’s weird, but I’ve developed a bit of a thing for police sirens.  I know it’s not a sound you really want to hear most of the time but I can’t help finding it very exciting.  It must just be tapping into something deep, an  association with danger and illicit thrills. It conjures up flashing lights and cityscapes, neon signs, speed, edginess, exhilaration, a rush of blood and a racing heart.  That must be it….   

There are a good few songs with sirens in that I like too.  The Clash’s ‘White Riot’, of course, and the Equals ‘Police On My Back’ spring to mind, but both are from the time before we here in the UK replaced our rather reserved ‘nee naw’ sirens with the far more rousing American style wailing ones.  It’s those wailing sounds that really get me now though, especially when they speed up. Ohh!  This would explain why a song by Jungle has become a bit of a personal indulgence, because whenever I want that little sonic thrill, something to make my eyes flash and my skin tingle, I no longer need to go out and smash the window of the local jewellers.  I can just listen to The Heat and tune my ears into the siren in the background instead.  Ah, if only it was much higher in the mix and went on for longer! 



21 comments:

  1. Absolutely LOVE that video, you think that guy is such a great dancer (both of them, I remember thinking it was the same guy over edited at first until you see them closer) then you realise that they are on roller skates!!!! You would love working at my office, right next to a major junction where every Friday some big time Crim gets his police out rider escort from prison to the Court House for the duration of the trial.... once that one is done it will be someone else's turn. The sirens are multiple and deafening!

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    1. Yes I love it too - the roller-skate dancing is totally captivating, isn't it, how on earth do they do that?! Your description of your Friday sirens has me quite excited from here!

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  2. Yes, it's weird.

    I hate it when bands insert sirens into songs. I'll be driving along, quite innocently, obeying the speed limit precisely, and then terror strikes just because Indiana Wants Me comes on the stereo.

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    1. So it's weird, but I'm not the only one, surely?

      I was wondering you had a Top Ten of siren songs, Rol. That'd be good. When I first heard The Heat on the radio I thought there was something kicking off too and had to turn it down to prove to myself that it wasn't outside, so I do get what you mean. Maybe it's all a cunning ploy to get us to keep to the speed limit...

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  3. Whoop whoop

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZrAYxWPN6c

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    1. Oh yes, thanks for that!
      (I should've called this Whoop Whoop too really, rather than Nee Naw.)

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  4. This post has made me think of a song I haven't heard since the '80s. My younger brother was really into hardcore punk when we were growing up, and he used to play this song by the Exploited called I Hate Cop Cars that used to be a good laugh. The singer would scream "nee naw nee naw throughout the song. I just found it. Ah, youth.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ixj_xKfDX98

    Rol is right about hearing songs with sirens in the car. My wife won't let me play the Best Jewel Thief in the World by Prefab Sprout. If Paddy had used the UK siren it would have been fine in my neck of the woods.

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    1. Well I just gave that a listen and it took me right back, although I wasn't a fan of the Exploited at the time, and I seem to remember they had a few spats with the bands I did like... but they even made it onto 'Top Of The Pops' in 1981 (with Dead Cities) which is quite hard to believe now! Yes, nee naw nee naw all the way through, but I love the thought that in reality the lyric was 'I hate pop tarts'...

      Thanks for the tip-off about Best Jewel Thief In The World, another great siren. Even just playing it now though, at home, I couldn't help checking out the window for blue flashing lights, it's like a reflex action!

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  5. Me, I like a 1960s French inspector Clouseau style siren.

    It's an obvious one, but the James Taylor Quartet's cover of the Starsky and Hutch theme kicks off with some classic 70s American sirens...as well as pushing some nostalgia buttons.

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    1. Oh that version of the Starsky and Hutch theme is brilliant Martin, and had actually passed me by at the time so thank you.
      We need a top 10 (or 20) I think....

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    1. Oh John, well of course! It's so much a part of the song and so familiar, that I almost don't hear it as a siren any more at all!

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    2. Nice footage. Vehicles have changed so much haven't they?

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  7. Yes, that's a great video/song and the blokes seem to make it all look effortless.

    I know what you mean about sirens and probably why we like watching crime dramas etc, we are experiencing the siren vicariously and it's not going to impact our lives. That said, whenever I hear a siren in town and it belongs to an ambulance I get really quite sad, as I just know that for some family, they are about to go through their worst nightmare.

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    1. I could watch the video over and over. Amazing stuff.

      I know just what you mean about ambulances (fire engines too). Always a horrible thought about what they are going to. With sirens in songs like this you're right, it's vicarious, I separate it out in my head from any harsh reality. But I always remember how my mum could never hear an air-raid type siren in any form without anything but a feeling of horror, as she could never disassociate it from her childhood experiences during the war. She even had trouble with the sound of low flying aircraft for that reason.

      Do you watch the 'Ambulance' documentary series by the way? I am so in awe of our ambulance staff, it really shows just how brilliant and caring they are.

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    2. Yes if you lived through the war years in a built-up area, the horror would live with you long afterwards.

      There were just so many hospital dramas around for a while, Mr WIAA got fed up of them and now refuses to watch anything hospital related. I am in awe of these people however and will forever feel embarrassed that I spent most of my working life behind the scenes crunching the numbers and not on the front-line at all. I recently read Adam Kay's book This Is Going To Hurt however and am going to see him at our local theatre later this month. I am in awe of the work done and hours put in by our junior doctors - Total respect for them and thank goodness some our our brightest and best still choose that career path.

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    3. Yes, so many hospital dramas and all awful as far as I can see! The other night we watched Ambulance - full of wonderful, kind, grounded people doing their job and making me feel I'd be in safe hands if I ever needed them - then by stark contrast stumbled upon an episode of Casualty and in just one scene it gave completely the opposite impression, a horrible doctor saying loads of weird stuff to a patient, god it was dreadful, enough to put you off ever having to go to hospital!
      As far as your work went I think it's just that some people have that calling to be on the front line and it certainly isn't for everyone. I'd be hopeless in those situations, I'm just so glad there are those special individuals who have what it takes!
      Enjoy the theatre show, you'll have to tell me more some time :-)

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    4. You should seek out "Bodies" on the iPlayer...

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  8. The siren noise from Ghostbusters (1984) fills me with nostalgia. On the other hand, the police siren when driving fills me with fear!

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    1. One simple sound - but one that can trigger such mixed responses!

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