(NB Title of this post is to be read out, even if just in your head, in the booming style of the Muppet Show’s Pigs in Space.)

Last week I had lunch with a friend and her 4-week-old baby. It was all going swimmingly. Nice gastropub, goat’s cheese salad on table, ultra-cute babe on tit – what could possibly go wrong? And then it happened. Wafting over from the loudspeakers behind the bar came one of the worst pop songs known to man, but especially to woman. Oh yes, it was bad. Reader, it was none other than The J. Geils Band with the objectification-fest that is My Angel is the Centrefold.

Now I happen to know this song rather well, since it appears on a cassette of no. 1s from 1982, which I bought from Woolworths in 1998 (Jesus, I am old enough to have double-layered nostalgia trips). In my defence, I only chose said cassette because another of the songs on it is an absolute classic, at least for anyone who adores hilariously serious, tremendously overblown lyrical extravaganzas (hint: I do). That song is of course Africa by Toto. In case you have somehow missed out on its glories, here is the best bit, i.e. the second verse:

The wild dogs cry out in the night
As they grow restless longing for some solitary company
I know that I must do what’s right
Sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti

Isn’t that just fantastic? It’s not just the sheer incomprehensibility of the dogs and their desire for “solitary company” – that last line is a work of pure genius. I have in fact tried to get it into common parlance:

MY BOSS: Are you sure we’re going to make those margins on a project like this?

ME: Yes, of course. Sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti.

Alas, it hasn’t worked so far. But that’s probably because we did not in fact make those margins after all. I’ll try it with another project.

Anyhow, back to J. Geils and his band. Theirs is a tale, not of wild dogs and mountains that look like cameras, but of having dated a wicked woman who dares to switch sides between the virgins and the whores. The first verse sets the scene:

Does she walk, does she talk, does she come complete
My home-brew, home-room angel, just pulled me to my feet
She was pure like snowflakes, no one could ever stain
The memory of my angel could never cause me pain
The years go by I’m looking through a girly magazine
And there’s my homegrown angel on the pages in between.

SLAG! SLAG! Where are your homegrown snowflakes now, bitch? I mean, what were you thinking? Years ago, sometime in the late seventies, you let this poor man cop a feel and now you’re acting as though your body’s your own, to do with as you please? Don’t you see the effect this is having on his peace of mind? Just listen to the chorus:

My blood runs cold, my memory has just been sold
My angel is the centrefold.

Now see what you’ve done! This poor man’s in shock, so much shock that he can’t even take the opportunity to form a decent pun (something along the lines of “mammaries have just been sold”. Well, that’s what I’d have done).  Anyhow, be thankful that by the final verse he’s pulled himself together a little, at least far enough to see a future in which he buys the magazine nonetheless and still deigns to shag you, albeit in a nice, personal, totally non-sleazy hotel-room context:

It’s OK, I understand, this ain’t no never never land
I hope that when this issue’s gone I see you when your clothes are on
Take your car, yes we will, we’ll take your car and drive
Take it to a hotel room and take ‘em off in private
A part of me has just been ripped, angels from my mind are stripped
Oh no I can’t hide it, oh yes I guess I gotta buy it

At this point words (nearly) fail me. Ladies of OBJECT, I am not normally one for censorship, but please can you get them to do something about this fucking awful song being played in public places, particularly places in which women are getting their own baps out and four-week-old girl babies are trying to have a feed in peace without their entire future as virgin-whore being laid out before them? THIS NEEDS TO STOP NOW. If we only ban one song from 1982, please let it be this (I really mean this. You’re getting a free pass, Renee and Renate).

Of course, let’s not pretend that pop songs about slags getting their tits out ended in the early eighties. In the nineties we had The Beautiful South with the utterly dire 36D. The Beautiful South are all serious and political, and have names like Dave and Paul, so it’s not quite what you get from The J. Geils Band. Oh no, with The South we have, in embryonic form, the ponderously “thoughtful” sleaze that finally came to full fruition in 2012 with the Good Men Project. But wait, I’m getting way ahead of myself here (and also a tad obsessed with the Good Men tit thing). Let’s first take a look at the opening verse of 36D:

Close your legs, open your mind
Leave those compliments well behind
Dig a little deeper into yourself
And you may find

Now this isn’t a typo – they don’t actually say what “you may find”. But anyhow, close your legs, ladies, and have a bit of a ponder. After all, you’re in polite company.

Come over here just sit right down
Needn’t comb your hair, needn’t pout or frown
I hear you’ve turned our young men

Into dribbling clowns

Right. Now, is it just me, or is this all getting JUST A TAD PATRONIZING? No, I WILL NOT come and sit next to you, Dave Rotheray. I’m busy with my straighteners. Look, I know you’re just concerned (The men who run the business that you sell, they screw you too). And I know you find my availability somewhat disconcerting (you’re Steven’s, you’re Andy’s, you’re Ian’s, your Paul’s ). But I do not need any of this “poor little slag-whore” business, particularly given the chorus you’ve then come up with:

36 D, so what, D, so what

Is that all that you’ve got?

What’s all that about? 36D may not seem massive to you, mate, but Bravissimo do bras in that size, and that shop’s exclusively for “women who love their curves”.

The fact is, so often people claim that pop music’s too sexualised, but I think we need to remember that there’s a rich vein of pop music by men freaked out by women getting their tits out, particularly if said women are getting paid for it. Not long after The Beautiful South we get Babybird with “You’re gorgeous”:

You said I wasn’t cheap
You gave me £20
You promised to put me in a magazine

On every table in every lounge

I have to say, I’ve done far worse for less. Cleaning tables at Tebay Services, for instance (£1.60 an hour! Even in 1989 it was shit! If I’d had tits back then, I’d have been straight to the walk-in freezer to rub some ice-cubes on them in the hope that someone, anyone, would snap me till it hurts).

I was about to claim that we should leave tit-songs to women only. Milkshake by Kellis is a tit-song, for instance. It’s hard to identify this in the lyrics, but you just know it is. It’s not “milkshake” bringing all the boys to the yard; it’s tits (but let’s not confuse this; I don’t think these are breastmilk milkshakes, although actually, I suppose they could be). On the strength of Milkshake, I was on the verge of saying that women are the masters of the tit-song, on account of having tits. But then I remembered Fergie and My Humps (my humps, my humps, my lovely lady-lumps). No. Let’s not go there. Let’s stay well away.

So where do we go from here, in what has become an interminably long post on a subject I wasn’t even aware I cared so much about? Well, here’s my proposal: moob songs. Lots of songs in which women tell men that yes, they love them, but for their minds, and they should really put those moobs away. Especially with summer coming. It’s not what we want on a hot summer’s day, ice-cream dripping and moobs-a-dangling. And so, to the tune of 36D:

Come over here, just sit right down
Forget the comb-over, needn’t pout or frown
I’ve found you a nice T-Shirt
Would you prefer it in brown?
[chorus]
I’ve got the receipt, so what, receipt, so what
Shall we go back to the shop?
etc. etc.

Well, look, it’s a start. I didn’t say I was a lyrical genius. But I’ll come up with something even more catchy, believe me, I will. Sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti.