Primary School Careers Advisor


“When I grow up
I want to be a pirate,
With a cutlass
And a patch over my eye.
I’d be the scourge of the seven seas
And everyone would turn and flee
When they saw my pirate galleon go by”.

But the primary school careers advisor said
“Son, you’d better listen to me.
Despite what you believe
There’s only so much you can achieve.
You’d better start living realistically”.

So I said “Fine…

When I grow up
I wanna be a secret agent,
Like Ilya Kouriakin
Or James Bond.
I’d be a top international spy.
I’d always get the bad guy.
And I’d sleep with all the ladies that I want.”

But the primary school careers advisor said
“Son, you’d better listen to me.
Despite what you believe
There’s only so much you can achieve.
You’d better start living realistically”.

I went down to the shopping centre
To see if I could see my future.
When I was there I saw a guy
In a green waistcoat and a smart green tie
And suddenly it dawned on me
That I’d just seen my destiny.
Now when I grow up
I want to work at ASDA,
Pushing trollies in the rain
For minimum wage.
I’d start work at the crack of dawn
I’d look dashing in my uniform
And I’ll work there ’til I reach retirement age.


Ah, Primary School Careers Advisor. I’ve got a real soft spot for this song. I’m not sure why – possibly because it’s a sweet flight of fancy (sort of – more on that later); partly because it’s got a jaunty yet interesting (by my standards) chord progression – the F major to F minor change stands out in particular; partly because it’s got a punchline of sorts; partly because it’s got rhythmic changes in it – a flippin’ REGGAE section, no less; and partly because my old pal Si Genaro once said that it ‘captured the zeitgeist of a generation’. It doesn’t, of course, but those words stuck with me.

This song was inspired by a conversation with a chap I worked with. He told me that his young niece (or nephew* – I can’t remember which) had been going around Sainsburys and had announced that when he/she grew up, she wanted to work as a baker there. I loved the idea that a child would have such unashamedly realistic ambitions. I remembered the conversations I’d had with the careers advisor at school and it made me chuckle to imagine a careers advisor working at a primary school, with children who hadn’t (yet) had their hopes and dreams crushed. And the song just sort of happened.

It helped, of course, that I’d worked at ASDA for some years. It was, I should add, a wonderful experience. I made some great friends and had some wild times.

The reggae bit was originally more of an acoustic, slower kind of breakdown. I can’t remember how it became reggae. I’d imagine we were being stupid at band practice one day and it just stuck.

Another bit of silliness that stuck was Dave’s “Arr!” and “Miss Moneypenny!” bit. If it happens at band practice and it makes us laugh – it’s in. There’s  also a *very* subtle nod to our buddies The Bonsai Pirates during the pirate bit of the song. See if you can spot it – Cap’n Bob couldn’t. Even when I told him where it was. That’s not the only Bonsai Pirates reference on the album. You’ll have to read more of these to find the other one.

I don’t think there’s ANYTHING of note about the recording of this one. We’ve played it so many times that we just…played it. And it was done. I’m over-simplifying it, of course. It actually took weeks to get everything in the right place. But essentially that’s what happened.

The only other thing to add about this song is that, after naming it, I saw an advertisement for a bank which used the word ‘Advisers’. As opposed to ‘Advisors’, with an ‘o’, like I’d written. I had a moment of panic. Either the billboard was wrong – which was highly unlikely – or I was – which was…well…more likely. I preferred my spelling, for no discernible reason. So I stuck with it. I later looked it up and both are acceptable, apparently. So now you know.

*Fun fact – the word for nieces and nephews collectively is ‘niblings’. And that’s true.



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