Exam time. And I'm reminded of the range of career options that once lay before me. Do I regret not having joined the World Health Organisation and engaged in the struggle to eradicate diseases, from obesity to zoonoses, around the globe?
But, like Michael Jackson, we all can strive to make the planet a better place. Free from pollution, pestilence and pimpjuice on the turn. So instead of schlepping around the jungle whacking bugs and shit, I hammer out mosquito nets for your ears.
When Macy Gray arrived 14 years ago with On How Life Is, she reminded us that real soul music came from a dangerous place and could be more than wedding party karaoke or Blues Brothers tomfoolery. Macy was contrary, which was refreshing at a time when every hustler beamed phoney corporate politeness.
Tragically, that day is gone. Macy has joined the ranks of the pop undead, reheating songs by other people in the most pointless musical exercise since Milli Vanilli learned to break wind and lip-synch at the same time.
Hearing Macy's dirge-like take on Eurythmics' Here Comes The Rain Again I was reminded how adventurous young artists, anxious to push boundaries when rediscovering old songs, can sometimes make listeners sit up and take notice. For example, S.E.E.K., a young Irish band with a belting singer, recently played an impromptu version of Dave Stewart's Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) that made Marilyn Manson seem as insightful as Leo Varadkar.
But on Covered, Macy sleepwalks through Radiohead's Creep, sounding as if she only picked the song so she could indulge in gratuitous swearing. Sounding more like herself on the novelty item Smoke Two Joints, it's a wonder her advisers didn't advocate a duet with Sinead O'Connor. That way two babes could have shared some remedial airplay. Despite tampering with My Chemical Romance's Teenagers (silly), Metallica's Nothing Else Matters (ludicrous) and Colbie Calliet's Bubbly, the only song to remain immune to the mediocrity is Arcade Fire's Wake Up.