The British summer is supposedly a time when you can kick back, relax and enjoy yourself. Foreign beaches, music festivals and exciting sporting events all vie for your attention and business. But if we're honest, British summer time is also the source of many a niggly irritant that won't exactly be life-threatening, but will give you the opportunity to have an industrial-sized moan.
You know the kind of thing: defective air-conditioning on trains, residues of sand that get into places they shouldn't, and clandestine weavers burrowing in rock pools waiting to shoot a spine of poison up your unsuspecting foot. Here are nine songs that Brits enduring the summer months will surely be able to relate to...
Madness - The Sun and the Rain
"It's raining again," sings a crestfallen Suggs on Madness's 1983 Top 5 hit. Or is he crestfallen? "I feel the rain falling on my face," he suddenly warbles triumphantly during the chorus, "I can say there is no better place."
While you might not be a fan of inclement weather during the summer months, at least if it pours consistently you know what to wear when you leave the house. The sun and the rain tend to be interchangeable in the UK, which usually means getting soaked without a coat or burnt to a crisp in a bomber jacket. Ideally one would like to be singing Mr Blue Sky by ELO every morning, though you're more likely to be quavering along to Here Comes the Rain Again by Eurythmics as you attempt to shake off the shivers. But you know, first world problems...
Wiley - Heatwave
And then comes the moment we've all been waiting for - a heatwave! - which kicks off the World Cup of Moaning precisely three hours after it graces us with its unremitting hot blasts. People wilt and trees become allies, social media creaks under the strain of groaning, and the only people who seem to be enjoying themselves are the ones the tabloids photograph splashing in municipal fountains. Thankfully it's all over quickly and people soon go back to complaining about where the summer has gone. Wiley had his first solo No.1 with Heatwave in 2012. It stayed at the summit of the charts for a fortnight, which is a few days longer than the British summer normally lasts.
Billy Idol - Hot in the City
Cities are an exciting place to be in summer, though the closeness can become insufferable at times - a fact that wasn't lost on pop-punk star Billy Idol. In the 1987 video of the re-released 1982 song, the Generation X singer is so flustered that he takes his shirt off and punches a hole in the wall, which leads to some spying on his neighbours (a regular trope in videos from the 80s. See also: Walk This Way by Run-D.M.C. and Aerosmith). When summer in the city becomes all too much, it's advisable to get out to the country where you'll get attacked by bugs and tree pollen instead.
The Kinks - Hay Fever
The Kinks are as synonymous with summer as ice creams and heat rash, with Ray Davies so often painting pictures with words that evoke bittersweet summer days. Sunny Afternoon is a sweet song about laziness and ennui in the face of adversities and adversaries, while Hay Fever is mostly bitter. "I've got hay fever blocking up my head!" wails a persecuted Davies on one of his most unambiguous lyrics. With the UK experiencing its hottest May on record, the Met Office has warned that more than 20 million people could be blighted by hay fever this year, as Sky reported, with pollen levels in the UK hitting a peak not seen since around 2005-2006. If your sinuses are under attack then you might take cold comfort from the fact the lead singer of The Kinks is suffering too.
Ellie Goulding - Burn
"They gonna see us from outer space," sings Ellie Goulding on Burn, presumably referring to some epic sunburn she and a friend have picked up after falling asleep down the park. More than a billion people have watched the 2013 video for Burn, and statistically its likely that more than 700 million of them have recently stayed out in the sun for too long without adequate sunblock. In 2015, the Independent reported that while eight out of 10 of us were concerned about melanoma, an incredible 72 per cent of those surveyed admitted to getting sunburn within the last year. Despite what The B-52s sang, being a lobster doesn't rock.
Faithless - Insomnia
"I can't get no sleep," uttered Maxi Jazz in his familiar South London sprechgesang on Faithless' somnambulant mid-90s dance anthem. Those living in northern latitudes will experience many more daylight hours during the summer, so it stands to reason with sunshine pouring through the window at hours traditionally associated with bedtime that many will spend less time in bed. Then there's the heat, summer parties, and football fans walking noisily past your window after games to worry about. Although, thankfully no England fan will be tossing and turning wondering why Harry Kane is taking the corners at this World Cup.
Elton John - Heavy Traffic
Don't Let The Sun Go Down on Me sang Elton John, first on his own in 1974 and then again in 1991 with the help of his pal George Michael, in case the first time wasn't emphatic enough. But with sunshine comes inevitable heavy traffic - the name of another Elton song from his 1988 album Reg Strikes Back. You can't have it both ways, Reggie.
Last year the BBC posted an information film from the RAC demonstrating ways to beat the mid-July holiday gridlock as 8.7m cars took leisure journeys over the weekend of the 22 and 23 of July (spoiler: get up early). RAC traffic spokesman Rod Dennis said: "The Great British summer holiday getaway begins with an initial rush for the roads this weekend as that's when the majority of schools break up." I guess that's why they call it the summertime blues.
Vengaboys - We're Going to Ibiza!
Survive the traffic and you will eventually be off on holiday. Nearly 20 years on from the once ubiquitous We're Going to Ibiza!, the likelihood of hearing Vengaboys on holiday now is slim, but fear not, there's always an insistent Eurodisco earworm that'll sneak in your luggage and continue to pester you on radios throughout the summer in the UK when you get back. We're Going to Ibiza! is an adapted cover of Typically Tropical's 1975 hit Barbados, and while the location has changed, the protagonist in both songs is a disaffected bus driver. For Vengaboys, going to Ibiza is clearly something of a busman’s holiday.
Kenny G - Going Home
Muzak maestro Kenny G may be derided, but the Seattle saxophonist has sold more records than legendary fellow Washington State acolytes Jimi Hendrix and Pearl Jam. G's soothing sounds were designed to chill people out back in the 80s and 90s, whether in the caring space of a masseur or spiritual healer, or at home after your team gets knocked out of the World Cup.
The English national side will be going home sooner or later, and the likelihood - if recent tournaments are anything to go by - is sooner. Gareth Southgate's boys may yet prove that assumption wrong, but you probably shouldn't put your house on it. And when they do (and provided you're an England fan), mop your brow, pour yourself a stiff drink, kick back and let Kenny weave his magic.