29 April 2009

Second Hand Record Dip Part 31 - Double Diamond Continental Promotion

Double Diamond single


Who: Various session musos
What: Double Diamond European promotional single
Label: Double Diamond
When: unknown
Where: Music and Video Exchange, Camden High Street
Cost: 50p

There are numerous moments in my life where I've wondered if I've been in the wrong career. As things stand at present, if I have a half-arsed idea on a Wednesday morning like, for example, deciding to hold a flash mob to salute the shrine of Tony Hancock which sits all forlorn in a pub in Soho, it generally doesn't get executed for the pure and simple reason that it's a half-arsed idea. If I worked in advertising or marketing, however, not only would my whim be allowed free reign, I'd also be given a budget to see it through, and paid too. Imagine that.

Equally, I'm sure there have been rather damp midweek days when all of us have dreamed about creating jukebox singles in tribute to crap mass-produced English ales to give as gifts to continental bar landlords, but have never been given the means to see this through. Luckily for us, other people are out there living the dream for us, as you can observe from this perplexing item I picked up in a second hand store recently. The "Double Diamond" jukebox single appears to be going to great pains to describe the River Trent as glamorous to the Belgian market, and comes covered in quaint English rustic pub images, including a heart-bleedingly wonderful photo of a stained glass window of a cat enjoying a foaming pint of beer.

The music contained on the single is some Lieutenant Pigeon styled honky tonky piano instrumentals interspersed with pub "banter", which largely consists of chirpy exclamations of "A pint-a Double Diamond, please!" - a phrase I must confess I seldom heard in any pub I frequented in Britain, never mind anywhere else, which is probably why they stopped making the stuff in 2003. To borrow a phrase from Stewart Lee, I believe the pubs which exist on this recording could exist only on the continent known as "the imagination".

I don't have any record of the Belgian populace's response to this campaign, or the German's (whose language is catered for on another fold-out part of the sleeve) but I suspect it was probably weak. I can't imagine many landlords or bar-owners tearing to the jukeboxes in their tavernas to place "authentic" honky tonk English noises on their musical playlists, and nor can I imagine many punters actually paying money to listen to the advertising campaign*. I also have no idea how much of the budget went up in smoke before anyone saw the flaw in this particular plan, but still... why worry when it gave somebody in marketing a job to do, eh?

Download it here, if you must

The first person to say "Slender pickings in the budget section at the Music and Video Exchange this week, was it?" wins a lifetime's subscription to the most rubbish and intrusive junk mail marketing campaign I can find.

*And yes, I know some jukeboxes have random play when no money has been put into them, but you still can't fool me into thinking that this particular piece of work is anything other than ridiculously flawed.

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