My flatmate crashed in through my cat flap
And in one smooth motion they unfurled from the floor and presented a cassette tape
He said “I have here the finest compilation of lounge jazz background music ever assembled”
I was aghast, this tape was recorded in 1996, by a deaf jazz aficionado, and they manually transferred the music onto the tape himself with a magnet.
What makes it really special is that it was 100% background music, some lounge jazz music makes the mistake of being too noticeable, this was BACKGROUND music, a delicate relaxed blandness, collated from things like airport departure lounges, telephone call hold music, instructional video tapes that came with hair clippers between 1989 and 1993, in the cracks between an event and a moment, the lounge music thrives as the wallpaper.
My friend wiped the drool of their collapsing face and said “We finally have this glorious sound wallpaper, now we must find the right wallpaper paste”
“It’s quite simple, we get to a lounge, put this music on and… Full Relaxation.”
“If we had brassieres on, we’d take them off, if we had a pacemaker, we’d turn it off, if we had a pager, we’d switch it to silent… full relaxation”
I got my pager out and switched it to silent while licking my lips.
We both searched for a lounge, but we only found bars, pubs, clubs, no true lounges.
We ended up at a compromise, we went to a waiting room as it exhibits lounge like characteristics, we chose the waiting room at the local Accident & Emergency department. I picked up the pile of worn out magazines on the table, rubbed my hair on the magazine covers, using the film of accumulated finger grease to style my hair into a very relaxed position.
My friend slammed the cassette tape player onto the table and screamed "My recently injured and maimed friends, are you ready to relax?"
Someone in the waiting room got up and was fuming, "how dare you, I am not injured or maimed, I only came here to... RELAAAAAAX"
My friend pressed play on the cassette and froze listening to the syncopated throbbing wonder of the first track, the background music to a 1994 documentary about continuously variable transmission.
I felt the space between my brain and my skull fill with cool thick lounge and slumped over a woman with a bleeding eye cavity.
My friend laid down on the floor and started to make friendly and relaxed eye contact with each individual strand of carpet fibre in succession.
I slinked over to the reception desk and leaned at a 45% degree angle on the counter.
The nurse told me that maintaining such a steep angle probably needed a lot of muscle strain and was not very relaxing.
And I said to her that "sometimes relaxation is geometric and not physical", before slurring about 70 words afterwards for the rest of that sentence.
My friend finished befriending the carpet and got out their phone and dialed a number and then said "Hello, we require a Snooker Table and some misty air for our relaxation to lounge background music, St Mary's Accident & Emergency, no no smoke, just misty air, this is a hospital that would just be inappropriate"
I nodded at him whilst slightly drooling from loose mouth muscles, then the next track played, the music was of such backgroundedness that I could literally hang my coat on it.
The snooker table arrived, we shifted a hospital bed out of the way and placed the table in its place.
I was set to take the first shot, and I hit the cue ball and then followed through so much that I basically walked with my cue across the A&E waiting lounge and crushed into the wall in a relaxed and gentle manner.
My friend gave me 5 points for relaxation and then said "It's so lyrical and groovy"
"The tree known by its fruit, you cannot judge of a tree by it's bark"
"When the bricks leaving for winter, the sun comes up"
We were at a stage of relaxation that we had heard was only possible from listening to that cassette tape compilation, the relaxation of grammatical rules.
Full relaxation was not far, but just then I noticed the coat that I had hung up on the background music was in-fact a security officer who shook off my coat and said to us, "This is no lounge"
We asked him well what was it?
"This is an Accident & Emergency department, please take your snooker table and leave the hospital"
"HEY, this is not just a snooker table, it's a rental"
We pushed the snooker table into the conveniently snooker table sized lift and left the hospital, being noticeably NOT RELAXED
I pulled on my flatmate’s belt to get their attention, and I said.
“Maybe there are no lounges in London anymore, maybe we have to find the lounge… in ourselves”
My flatmate looked at me shocked at the epiphany and pulled some smelling salts out of their pocket and shoved them under their nose, then they fainted, but the smelling salts kicked in while they was mid fall and they bolted back upright and they said “YES. Full relaxation, in ourselves.”
After trying out the smelling salts myself we pushed the snooker table back to the warehouse where it came from, my friend told me they never had been here before.
The woman who delivered it to us was at the entrance, we gave her the snooker table and she asked us what we meant exactly by lounge jazz background music.
My friend got out their cassette tape and waved it around.
She gasped in immediate recognition and said we were welcome in the warehouse at any time if we brought that music.
Me and my friend looked at each other 14 times and then asked her why we would want to go to the warehouse.
She led us through the door into the main warehouse, and we saw it.
45 Snooker tables and 124 deep soft plush sofas scattered around.
"I forgot to tell you that we also rent out sofas" she said, in a way that indicated we were about at the end of this particular episode of occurrences.
I got out my pager and my friend got out their pager, and the warehouse woman got out her pager, and we clinked them together and said "Cheers", before pretending to drink out of them.
Then my friend pressed play on the cassette player, and I was slightly terrified at just how relaxed I was going to get.
We have never found the lounge in ourselves to this day, but we have experienced.