Guest Post: Uptown Funk, The New Years Song that Sunk Strike at Annabel’s

“Wonder how Robin’s enjoying skiing?’ Midge shouted up to Strike as ‘Uptown Funk’ began pounding through the room (IBH, pg. 22, Chap. 3).


It’s New Year’s Eve and Ink Black Heart readers naturally think of Strike’s meeting Madeline at Annabel’s. The music that was playing as he makes perhaps the biggest mistake of his romantic life? Ronson’s ‘Uptown Funk.’ Chris Calderon shares his thoughts below about the song and why he thinks it is a meaningful choice for this scene.

Happy New Year!

In honor of the turning of the New Year, I thought it a fun idea to share the song that was playing at the club in Ink Black Heart, where Strike was foolish enough to let his guard down around Cupid, the god of eros, and thus fell into one of Charlotte’s snares.  I do it for two reasons.  The first is because the song itself acts as a subtle marker to the online nature of IBH.  Much like the adventures of Hearty and Friends, the song Uptown Funk has gained the same sort of internet notoriety and fame due to the influence of fans exerting their will on the work of another artist, or in this case, a whole slew of past artists.

What’s happened is a mere song has been spliced and edited in such a way that allowed the single to become first an overnight sensation, and then, finally, a meme, which is apparently the current format for immortality in the World Wide Web based 21st century.  It isn’t until you go back and read the book again that you realize it is probably the author sending an early signal to her readers about the nature of the upcoming mystery, concerned as it is with the kind of fame that comes with creating online based creative projects.  It signals that the writer knows of this song, and is also well versed in the type of artistic communities that would create the sort of mashup style of video art.

It further signals that she’s established a grounding in what might be termed a new kind of media literacy for the sake of the sixth Strike book.  Along the way, it has allowed her to gain an awareness of the kind of digital shared text that power the type of fandoms that exist both on and off the pages of IBH.  It’s the kind of move I didn’t expect, yet probably shouldn’t have been too surprised once I stopped and thought it over.

The second reason for sharing the vid is a lot more simple.  I recognized the reference when I first saw it on the page, because I’d seen the mashup song video Rowling was obliquely referencing in the opening pages of her book long before I even knew The Ink Black Heart was a thing.  However, it took me until just now to realize how it fit into her satire, and how it hinted at one of the key background contexts of the plot.  With this in mind, the mashup New Year’s playlist song can be found above.  Just in time for New Year’s Eve.


  1. “Gotta kiss myself I’m so pretty
    I’m too hot (hot damn)
    Make a dragon wanna retire, man
    I’m too hot (hot damn)
    Say my name, you know who I am
    Girls hit your hallelujah…!
    ‘Cause Uptown Funk gon’ give it to you (wooh)..
    Don’t believe me, just watch”

    He watched. While Midge stuck a bug in his ear (“wonder if she’s pulled?”) … he watched someone vaguely familiar… and still stinging from that time he himself did not pull, he fell into a trap. A trap set by Her Who He Should’ve Known Was After Him. And the Uptown Funk (a blue Bluey) gave it to her.

    *big sigh*

    Meanwhile it’s finally stopped raining in that state where it never rains so who knows? Anything can happen, right?!
    “It’s one date… Anything could go wrong.”
    I’m smiling my best rictus grin…
    Haud Hogmanay!

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