“wot” – captain sensible (1982)


I have been spending the last few weeks packing and preparing to move to a new apartment.  I moved into my current place about two years and it again felt the right time to find a new one.  I never really liked my neighborhood, so I put the time and effort to find a place in a neighborhood that was more my style.

I am a meticulous planner and I do not procrastinate.  So, I packed mostly everything that weren’t essentials a few weeks ago.  Sadly, these included my records and CDs.  Many would say those are essential, and I would agree, but they had to be boxed up.

When I’m doing any kind of work around the house, I love listening to music.  Since all my music was boxed up and not very accessible, I resorted to listening to various podcasts I subscribe too.  Listening to Jim and Greg share their sound opinions, Rachel Maddow fill me in on the previous night’s news, and Terry Gross interview interesting people have kept me company.  With those shows, I have to actively listen which is nice.  I am enjoying the show and it keeps my mind from thinking about how much I hate packing which would encourage me to put it off.

Fortunately, a few years ago, I migrated my entire music collection to digital form and store it on Google Play.  With it’s handy mobile app, I can access up to 20,000 songs and stream them over Wi-Fi.  While I have more than that, I made sure to prioritize.

When podcasts and talking heads start becoming a bit droll, I open up the Google Play app and browse the library on my phone.  Now, this is the hard part.  What do I play?  For me, that perfectly symbolizes modern American culture; the freedom to have too many choices.  Think about it.  Even when watching Netflix, how much time do you waste just exploring your options?  Usually when I’m looking through Hulu, Netflix, HBO, or any of the other channels on my Roku, I get bored and end up not watching anything.

A lot of my music is organized into playlists based on a number of categories.  Lately, I’ve been on a huge New Wave kick and put that playlist on shuffle; 773 classics and obscurities that draw in punk and electronic music influence that either defined pop radio in their time or lived on the fringe.  As I’m listening, I hear songs almost everyone knows, songs that I love, and even songs I completely forgot about.

One track that has been on my mind since rediscovering this playlist is the 1982 single “Wot” by Captain Sensible.  Captain Sensible, otherwise known as the Damned co-founder Raymond Ian Burns, is an eccentric figure who blends punk, psychedelic, and electronic music and all done while sporting his signature red beret.  “Wot” is such an incredibly fun song for me.  The Captain is singing about being disturbed by construction workers outside his flat, but then the lyrics become vague and lacking a narrative.  But, it doesn’t matter.  With a funky backing track and the repeated chorus, the song is very danceable and funky.  Mirroring the song, the music video also features the Captain’s humor and absurdity as he roams the building and streets while various antics ensue.

Captain Sensible isn’t a very well-known artist and Raymond Ian Burns’ more notable work is with the Damned.  But, I always end up listening to the Captain more than the Damned.  “Wot” always lifts my spirits and makes any mundane task or aggravation so much better.  Even the Captain found himself dancing in the street after being woken up by a jackhammer.  Don’t take things so seriously and enjoy how funny life can be.


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