Sunday 15 February 1987

…After I finished tidying my desk I went downstairs to start a recording session.
I taped myself singing All-Time High.
It sounded stupid.
Then I played it on the piano.
It sounded weird…

Still irked by the absence of the theme from Octopussy on my favourite Christmas present, and being now in possession of a James Bond songbook, I resorted to committing the tune to tape by myself.

The results were shocking. All-Time High is pitched, counter-intuitively, in a rather low key. (Here’s Rita Coolidge with a very greasy face bellowing her way through the song in 1983.) But even though this was back when I was still blessed with the pipes of a boy soprano, I had trouble picking out all the right notes. I blame having a gammy ear.

My misguided oral acrobatics were only slightly bettered by my subsequent instrumental version, which proved trickier than I thought thanks to the song being written in the key of A flat.

This meant having to wrap my fingers around slightly more black notes than was comfortable for someone who’d only done their grade 3 piano exam two months ago. Plus the opening saxophone solo didn’t work being bashed out on a keyboard instead of being breathed seductively down a horn.

I’d taken the sensible decision to forbid the rest of the family from coming anywhere near the living room while all of this nonsense was going on. I now took the equally sensible decision to wipe the results before anyone in the world, including me, could hear it again.

But that wasn’t the end of the day’s excitement. It continued into the evening when, according to my diary, the whole family gathered to “watch the title sequence of Antiques Roadshow”.