Looking Glass Language

a word bird reflects on life & language

just let me staple the vicar

From femidoms to pork pies, stapling the vicar to swimming in amen, it’s amazing what you hear being sung about on the radio.

All of us mishear lyrics, even those who sing for their living like my friend Rachel Mathews. (404005_185174974948910_105211750_nRachel and I used to sing together in a gospel group called Many Rivers, doing regular Sunday brunch sessions at the Oxo Tower on the South Bank and the 606 Jazz Club on Lot’s Road.) A talented singer / songwriter, with her own band, Rachel is also a founding member and soloist for Urban Voices, who came to prominence performing at the closing ceremony of the London Olympics. It may be that Rachel’s gospel background was behind her mishearing ‘Change is coming round real soon, make us women and men’, as ‘Change is coming round real soon, make us swim in Amen‘, in John Mellencamp’s ‘Little ditty about Jack and Diane‘. But how could a talented songwriter who knows a good lyric when she hears one have gone for years believing that Madonna was singing level crossing, rather than Let the choir sing, in Madonna’s “Like a Prayer”?

It’s like a dream, no end and no beginning
You’re here with me, it’s like a dream
Level crossing

Really Rachel? You thought it was a song about road safety?

Even if you’ve always sung the right words to a song, hearing someone else’s misheard lyrics somehow elbows the real words out of your head, and once that’s done they drown out the real words. Peter Kay does a brilliant sketch about misheard lyrics: seven minutes of comedy genius, included below for your viewing pleasure, though I’m not sure that Sister Sledge would appreciate singing about giving love in a femidom, and stapling the vicar…

Incidentally, I don’t understand what he’s referring to at 2.44: any ideas? Is it just a comment about the inappropriate sniggering from earlier, or a more subtle nod to Michael Jackson, RIP?

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9 thoughts on “just let me staple the vicar

  1. “I’ve got a verandah over the toy shop.” Oh my I can hardly breathe. Ha! Naughty Mr Kay.

  2. “I don’t understand what he’s referring to at 2.44: any ideas?”…
    Apparently it references Michael Jackson dying just before he was due to play at the O2. Hence Peter Kay saying, “He should have been on here”.
    Thank you for the giggles, Chris.

  3. Ah, that makes sense! Thanks for the elucidation. The ‘verandah over my toyshop’ line left me rolling on the floor…

  4. Just let me staple the vicar! He’s so right.

  5. A favourite of mine has to be The Police’s So Lonely which sounds like ‘Sue Lawley’ when you listen to it!

  6. And who could forget when Jimi Hendrix said, “scuse me while i kiss this guy”…

    before going on to incinerate his Stratocaster

  7. Like a bit of Hendrix, but have been wracking my brain and can’t work out which song you mean. We need youtube references and timings please!

  8. Pingback: Jimmy Fallon mondegreen | Looking Glass Language

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