The Beat, ‘Mirror In The Bathroom’ and Another Shower Room Update

Regulars around here might remember that many months ago I shared a picture of our little shower room which was about to be upgraded and transformed by my plumber friend. Ironically, on the 23rd March, just as the old plumbing was fully stripped out, we were plunged into lockdown. Nothing else for it we thought except to tidy everything up and wait the three weeks or so until we could get the job finished.

All through lockdown

Except the three weeks became twelve weeks, and even then it wasn’t easy what with social distancing and mask-wearing. I really wasn’t even supposed to offer the plumber tea or coffee, but I’m afraid I broke that rule, and we’ve lived to tell the tale. Anyway, after a bit of dithering about what floor covering to put down and which accessories to go for, we have finally got the job finished, only five months after we started. The louvery doors (as Del-Boy Trotter used to call them) will have to go at some point but in the meantime we’re just glad it’s now fully funtional.

Post-lockdown

The final piece in the jigsaw was the mirror, and in the end I had to go for a boring old rectangular one, as the one that matched the set was out of stock – Having waited all that time, I just couldn’t wait any longer. When shopping for bathroom mirrors, this song naturally came to mind.

Mirror in the Bathroom by the Beat:


Mirror in the Bathroom by the Beat reached the No. 4 spot in the UK Singles Chart in 1980, just as the ska revival was really taking hold. Although signed to 2 Tone Records my memories of the band are a little sketchy and they were not part of the tour (written about here) which took place that year. They were however one of the most prolific ska bands of the time and between 1979 and 1983 had five Top Ten hits, two of which were successful covers, Tears of a Clown and Can’t Get Used to Losing You.

As for Mirror in the Bathroom, it apparently came about when Dave Wakeling, the songwriter, was in the bathroom one morning shaving. He started to talk to himself whilst looking in the mirror, and it got him to thinking about how self-involvement turns into narcissism, narcissism turns into isolation, and then isolation turns into self-involvement again forming a vicious circle (he was a deep-thinking chap). To quote: “So then I just started thinking about different situations where people would ostensibly look like they were doing something, but in fact they were checking their own reflection out. And you’d see it perhaps on Saturday afternoon with people window shopping, half the time they’re actually just looking at their own reflection. Then this restaurant opened, and it was a big deal at the time because it had glass tables, and I was like, oh, you can watch yourself.”

As for me, any opportunity not to catch my own reflection in a shop window is a bonus nowadays. In our heads we think we are still 21, so a pleasant shopping trip can be ruined when the harsh reality hits home, no matter how good we thought we looked when we left the house.

I was saddened to hear that band member Ranking Roger had passed away last year aged only 56. Roger officially joined the Beat as a teenager in the late ’70s after having appeared on stage with them many times, toasting and singing. His energetic style and Jamaican-influenced vocals, paired with Dave Wakeling, were crucial in distinguishing the Beat from other ska bands.

RIP Ranking Roger

So, “What’s It All About?” – I seem to have been particularly productive around here this week but all because we have a new editor around here at WordPress and I wanted to get to grips with it. The verdict is…. , so far so good. I’d been putting off moving across for some time, but as I now have no other option it was time to bite the bullet, and not as scary as I had suspected. This blog will live to fight another day.

Until next time….

Mirror In The Bathroom Lyrics
(Song by Dave Wakeling)

Mirror in the bathroom
Please talk free
The door is locked
Just you and me.

Can I take you to a restaurant
That’s got glass tables
You can watch yourself
While you are eating.

Mirror in the bathroom
I just can’t stop it,
Every Saturday you see me
Window shopping.

Find no interest
In the racks and shelves
Just ten thousand reflections
Of my own sweet self, self, self…

Mirror in the bathroom
You’re my mirror in the bathroom
You’re my mirror in the bathroom
You’re my mirror in the bathroom…

Mirror in the bathroom
Recompense
For all my crimes
Of self defense.

Cures you whisper
Make no sense
Drift gently into
Mental illness.

Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days - I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 50 years ago the song "Alfie" was written by my favourite songwriting team Bacharach and David - The opening line to that song was "What's it all about?" and I'm hoping that by writing this blog, I might find the answer to that question.

12 thoughts on “The Beat, ‘Mirror In The Bathroom’ and Another Shower Room Update”

  1. Glad you finally got it finished.

    And keep us posted on how the new WP editor goes, because I’m still thinking of switching if the new blogger is forced on us. (For now I’ve reverted to the old one again, but if they scrap that, a move may be forced.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, got there in the end and as the plumber said, I now have great pressure.

      As for WP it seems fine to me but then not too different to what I’ve been using all along. I suspect once you’ve chosen your “look” and set up your sidebars etc it wouldn’t take long to start posting. I couldn’t leave all my archived stuff behind though, so think carefully and look before you leap so to speak. What about Saturday Snapshots, the Hot 100 Countdown, Randy Tuesdays and Kenny Wednesdays?!

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    2. Rol – no offence to WordPress users, but I do hope you’ll stick with Blogger, the new one seems hardly any different to me, and I’ve adjusted v quickly even though I’m crap at technology! In fact I’ve found some improvements. But I do have difficulty navigating my way around WordPress blogs sometimes, and now I have to sign in with a different email address to leave a comment on Alyson’s and others (and thus can’t link it to my blog either), because even though I shut down a WordPress account I once set up, it still won’t let me continue to comment in the way I used to before I did and I had to jump through hoops just to get commenting here again! I think both platforms have pros and cons….

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Good point from C and yes she has had a bit of bother leaving comments at my place, so not always seamless. I am managing fine with the new editor but only because my site is already in place – Still probably easier to adapt to the new bells and whistles than starting from scratch, AND having to learn new bells and whistles somewhere else. Up to you though at the end of the day.

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  2. So pleased you got your shower room finished at last (and it looks lovely). Who’d have thought at the beginning of the year that it would have been held up for the reason it was – just glad it wasn’t your only facility! I still like Mirror In The Bathroom after all these years and bought the single at the time in its lovely ‘Go Feet’ paper sleeve. Everything about it – the sound, the graphic design, the way they looked – sums up that period perfectly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, some people will have been “caught short” so to speak in that their only bathroom might have just been ripped out the day lockdown was very suddenly imposed (although still a week or two too late probably). Glad it’s finished at last.

      I’ve loved listening to old Beat songs this weekend and reading up about them. Somehow everyone knew a bit more about Madness and the Specials because they went more mainstream but not so much with the Beat. Great graphics on the record sleeves as you say and such a great sound. Didn’t know what toasting was until this weekend, but now I do.

      When writing about Bananarama recently I worked out that most of their big hits were covers of 60s songs, just 17 years later. It seems to have been the same with the whole ska revival thing – It happened 17 years after the original movement and it definitely worked for the Beat and some of their most successful covers.

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  3. With brilliant timing (I’d laugh if I wasn’t crying) my own shower packed up last week. It went bang spectacularly and needs replacing (I live an area with very hard water and limescale blockage is a big problem) – fortunately I have the bath option open to me. Unfortunately I’ve sold the house, so it looks as though I’ll have to spend money I don’t have on replacing something I’ll barely use. I’m trying to get hold of my buyers to find out if they are intending to rip the bathroom out and start again when they get here, which could let me off the hook. The footnote to my tale is that the survey for my new gaff came back last week noting only one potential problem – the shower doesn’t work properly….and this time there is no bath option. I wonder if I can get a discount on two shower installations?
    Your shower room looks lovely, I’m glad you can finally enjoy it. And The Beat? Fantastic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is bad timing but it’s always the way isn’t it. We’ve twice had to deal with such things just at the point of sale. I put up with an old fashioned gas fire type thing in my first flat then had to replace it with a new one after selling as it was condemned. Before moving to our current place we had just put in a great new boiler, but ended up back at square one with a clunky old one. Hopefully you will get off with having to repair the current one but yes, if it comes to it you could go for a “twofer” deal. Good luck with it all – You’re almost there now and good to have sold ahead of the fallout that will probably happen once millions of people come off the furlough scheme.

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  4. Glad you finally got this finished. Don’t worry, we won’t tell about the tea & coffee. 😉

    Funny thing, for us on this side of the Atlantic, they were known as the English Beat. I hear in Australia they are called the British Beat. I guess some bright souls on every continent decided to call their band “The Beat!” Love the tune. Loved when they used it in Grosse Pointe Blank.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for dropping by Bill – Yes, many people were in the same situation being right in the middle of a house project that then had to be put on hold. Got there in the end!

      I noticed they were known as The English Beat in the US – If you are a band it seems to be a popular name, for obvious reasons. There were once 4 lads from Liverpool who came up with a very clever use of the word for the name of their band – Don’t know whatever happened to them!

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