Song for the day

Song for the day 26/06/21: Little Boots, “Remedy”

It’s Glasto weekend – except there’s no Glasto this year, of course – but here’s a memory from a Glasto of years gone by.

For someone as music-obsessed as me, it’s a little embarrassing to disclose that I have never attended Glastonbury festival. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to, but rather the fact that I tend towards solo gig-going making this festival’s compulsory camping element feel like it might be a bit unsafe for the solo female. So all my Glasto memories are from watching the footage on telly, and twelve years ago today, Little Boots came along with a set that was exactly the remedy I needed.

The 26th of June 2009 started in a resoundingly okay way. I’d been diagnosed with gallstones earlier in the year and had been feeling pretty awful for much of it, but this sunny summer Friday I wasn’t feeling quite so bad as usual. However, up until that point I had not experienced a prolonged episode of the cataclysmic, world-obliterating pain that happens when a gallstone decides to go on an adventure down your bile duct. This day was my introduction to that very special version of hell, right in the middle of my working day. From my diary:

At a quarter past three, the Pain came. I’ve had it before, the pain that feels like a knife through your middle, and it’s evil incarnate but usually passes after ten minutes or so. So I sat in my office and waited, and after twenty minutes the pain was still there like a bastard from hell and I was in serious trouble. It went from my centre to throughout my right side radiating up into my shoulder, and even breathing made me cry with pain.’

I was lucky, in this case, that I worked in a hospital, for I was able to send an SOS call to my friends in the outpatients department, who found an empty consulting room for me to languish in and procured a doctor to come and poke at my abdomen. It was decided that I wasn’t dying, and a few painkillers later I was feeling human enough to wobble down to main reception and ask them to call me a taxi home.

Home, managed some toast and low fat digestives, and watched Glastonbury on BBC3 with Lady Gaga and Little Boots.’

I enjoyed Lady Gaga’s set, an early evening pre-megastardom showcase of her poptastic debut album. But Little Boots’ late night set was the real highlight for me. She just threw out song after song of effortlessly catchy, shamelessly melodic pop, and I was quite frankly in awe.

And the highlight of the set was “Remedy”, which would go on to become my anthem of 2009. Its dark, sinister synth motif merging into that defiant, joyfully optimistic and brain-searingly catchy chorus felt like a shot of adrenaline to my weary soul. Every time I listened to it for the next few months I would imagine myself, in some not-too distant future point, restored to full strength and dancing my heart away to this song, and it certainly helped to power me through the pain-soaked months until that day came.

It may seem strange to relate now, but I actually think back quite fondly on that evening, lying depleted in bed watching Little Boots. I had a dreadful summer of ambulances and A&E visits, doctors and drugs ahead of me before my equilibrium would finally be restored by the surgeon’s scalpel (as it turned out, cholecystectomy rather than dancing was my remedy). But that sweltering night, as I discovered the many fab songs that Little Boots had to offer, was a precious oasis of calm – and amazing tunes – before the apocalypse hit.

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