A Windmill full of Corpses

Spent much of the weekend down in Busselton at Ryan and Jackie’s place, along with Fabes who was kind enough to drive us both down there and back. Rather than appreciating the natural wonders and relaxing pace of the southwest, we spent all our time indoors playing games. Well, that’s the people we are, what are you gonna do?

The big hit of the weekend was Cards Against Humanity. I’ve been wanting to get a copy for ages and Paula was kind enough to give me one for my birthday, so we tried it out. The results were appalling, which is exactly what they should be. Good taste (and the fear of being raided by the Federal Police) prevent me from repeating the best combinations we came up with, but I can share a few of the slightly less offensive ones that had us in hysterics…

“When I was tripping on acid, an endless stream of diarrhea turned into the cool refreshing taste of Pepsi!”

“Bad life choices + a robust mongoloid = my sex life”

“Here is the church, here is the steeple, open the doors, and here is a windmill full of corpses”

Such fun! We also learnt about Aaron Burr, object permanence and the three fifths compromise, so you can’t say it’s not educational!

Changing course entirely, here’s an unreleased KLF track I stumbled across the other day. It’s from 1989, was the basis for Last Train to Trancentral and Wichita Lineman was a Song I Once Heard, and is awesome! So everyone, Go to Sleep.

Musical Tuesdays – The Inner Life of the Gay Computer, circa 1987

Well, it’s been a while, what with the Christmas Season and interstate holidays and server problems, but Musical Tuesdays is back!

To make up for the break, I’m presenting not two, not three, but four videos this week! Amazing! And the theme? The Pet Shop Boys.

The Pet Shop Boys formed in London in the early 1980s after a chance meeting in an electronics store. They developed a distinctive style of electropop and went on to become the most successful duo in British music history, selling over 50 million albums. In 1987 they also made a rather strange movie, which was really just an extended series of video clips, including the one I’m featuring for their version of Always on My Mind.

Some background – our heroes have just been warned via the radio of a murderous hitchiker who has already slaughtered three people who gave him lifts. They pull over to pick up a young woman, but end up with a very strange man instead…

With the massive success of the Pet Shop Boys it’s inevitable that they’d attract imitators. For example, the KLF who attempted to follow up the ridiculously massive success of their novelty hit Doctorin’ the Tardis with 1989’s Kylie Said to Jason.

It sank without a trace. Probably just as well.

Imitation of course is the close relative of parody, and we close today with two comparatively recent pastiches, one from New Zealand and one American.

So that’s it. Maybe next week I’ll have enough energy to actually write something interesting…

Oh, and credit to John Allison for the title.

Jerusalem

Imagine a train. A steel black, armoured train drawn by a massive behemoth of a steam engine which groans slowly into life, accelerating out of the station and onto the tracks, its whistle howling bleakly into the night. As far as the eye can see is a bleak, post-industrial landscape of broken earth, shattered buildings, and dead chimneys, pierced through by the rail line our train follows, its ever increasing speed turning the piles of collapsed bricks and bent girders into a blur with only the cold, dead hills appearing clear in the distance.

The cabin is occupied by two engineers, their forms concealed by greatcoats,  goggles, rebreathers and caps. One ceaselessly shovels mounds of coal into the roaring furnace while the other types cryptic codes into a worn keypad, frayed and dangling wires carrying his signals back to the carriages behind. A greasy printer mounted on the cabin wall coughs to life and starts outputting a list of towns – the keypad engineer ticks them off as the train hurtles through their broken remains.

A golden light appears on the horizon. As the train climbs the hills it becomes brighter, and brighter still until the engine rounds a curve and a vast industrial complex is revealed, occupying the valley below. The sky is lit by gouts of flame and great searchlights, illuminating the stacks and towers of the refineries and furnaces that stretch to the horizon. The train slows as it comes down off the hills, entering a brightly lit corridor between the stacks. The horns and bells of the complex sound out in welcome and the train whistles back – rolling through the great gates that open in the wall of the largest factory…

Got that? Good. Now listen to it.

Whitney Joins the Choir Invisible

Well, Whitney Houston’s gone. I could try and say something profound, but to be perfectly honest her music never meant anything to me so her passing really doesn’t affect me in any way. Which is not to say that I don’t care that she’s dead – just that I don’t care any more than I would for any random human who’s passed away too young, leaving people behind who’ll now be mourning for them.

Anyway, here’s this…

Kingboy, how do you know?

The porpoise is a mighty beast, black and sleek and wild,

I was (as I commonly am) feeling a bit bored at work the other day and decided that the ideal thing I needed to perk me up was to listen to Porpoise Song from the seminal (and only) JAMS collection, History of the JAMS. I mean who wouldn’t be energised by the sound of a dolphin squawking  Billy Jean? So to YouTube I went!

I quickly located the Porpoise Song and whacked it on. It turned out to be nothing like I expected.

This is a common problem when dealing with the KLF. Their general method of music production was to come up with a song, create a dozen different mixes of it, release half of them on severely limited run vinyl, chop the rest up into samples and build new tracks out of them, release those on various different albums and call all of them by the same name! This means that when you get your hands on a K Foundation track you never quite know if it’s the one you expect.

This was not the one I expected, but it was still awesome – as is to be expected from  anything by the Timelords.

After listening to Kingboy D’s tale of the high seas six or seven times I decided I’d actually like to know what he was carrying on about and did a search for the lyrics. I found them, and discovered that – as is so often the case – the only ones available online were severely deficient. So, I decided the only thing to do was transcribe them myself.

This was no easy task. Sound effects of crashing waves and stormy seas combined with Bill’s thick Clydeside accent make parts of the track almost completely incomprehensible. But I’ve done my best. Parts that I’m not sure of are indicated in square brackets – some of which contain absolute gibberish, but it’s at least gibberish that sounds like whatever he’s rapping. So, enjoy!

(2015 Edit: Thanks to BeeblePete for his suggestions which have been incorporated below)

PORPOISE SONG
The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu

Kingboy Kingboy,
Kingboy, what’s it all about?
You talk in riddles, talk in rhyme,
Make no sense to the dumb and blind,
When you gonna learn?
That it’s time to go?

For fourteen days and fourteen nights we’d trawl those northern seas,
Six of us and a [galley pot and night in front of us],
I was just nineteen, a boy aboard, Jack London was my stuff,
The rest of the crew were all bucky men but the skipper was named MacDuff,

In the cold and wet, the dark and rough, the work was never done,
For every four hours the chain bell rang with another catch to run,
Then knee deep in fish that were gasping their last and us with our blades in hand,
We’d slit their throats and clean their guts and laugh at those on land,

One night alone and up on deck beyond Bill Bailey’s Bank,
Just me, my soul and the roar of the [scuds] and the swirling black below,
Wet with spray and numb with cold and fresh bile in my throat,
I was counting the hours back to Peterhead and the youth years lost afloat,

The draw of the deep has a mighty strong arm and me, I was playing to win,
As we wrestled there on the starboard [side my soul was relieved from sin],
And through the chunder of diesel power and crumbling cliffs of [search],
I heard a cry and a sweet lament, a clarion call so strange,

Kingboy, Kingboy,
Kingboy, what’s it all about?
You talk in riddles, talk in rhyme,
Make no sense to the dumb and blind
When you gonna learn?
That it’s time to go?
It’s time to go,
It’s time to go,

The porpoise is a mighty beast, black and sleek and wild,
And there that night I chanced to meet far from the banks of the Clyde,
And this is what he sang to me as he leapt from wave to wave,
“Claim your crown and join the JAMs the world is there to save”,

Kingboy, Kingboy,
Kingboy, what’s it all about?
(Yeah, sometimes I know, it’s all so clear…)
You talk in riddles, talk in rhyme,
Make no sense to the dumb and blind
When you gonna learn?
That it’s time to go?
(Go? Where?)
It’s time to go,
(I’m already there…)
It’s time to go,

So here we are at the end of the year like monkeys to perform!
With an neat scratch here and a sample there and a [stand] to match your rhyme,
The twists and turns and [choice] of fate has left us what we are,
Well I’m a king! I’ve made my choice! Now let’s get tae the bar!

Kingboy, Kingboy,
Kingboy, what’s it all about?
You talk in riddles, talk in rhyme,
Make no sense to the dumb and blind,
When you gonna learn?
That it’s time to go?
(Are you takin’ me?)
It’s time to go,
It’s time to go,

Kingboy, Kingboy,
Kingboy, what’s it all about?
Kingboy, Kingboy,
Kingboy, what’s it all about?
Kingboy, Kingboy,
Kingboy, what’s it all about?
Kingboy, Kingboy,
Kingboy, how do you know?

Interesting footnote: Whereas the English pronounce “porpoise” and “tortoise” as “por-poys” and “tor-toys” we Australians say “por-pus” and “tor-tus”. Hmmmm.

Listen and Learn

I’m talkin’ to you baby! I’m talkin’ to you sugar!

All you people listenin’ tonight! Yes I’m that preacher everybody’s talking about! I’m Doctor Williams givin’ out them red hot lessons, ten dollars, New York and New Jersey every week, all the way down the east coast! From Boston clean down to Atlanta Georgia last week! I told down the east coast!

Do somethin’ to help you, do somethin’ to help yourself!

Come get your mojo hey! Go down Atlantic City and be a winner! Go down to Atlantic City come back fat as a rat! Why should you be a loser when you can be a winner? Yes ma’am, yes sir!

Brooklyn New York! Brooklyn New York! Get ready! Doctor Williams will be in Brooklyn New York, tomorrow evening, Monday evening, 6 pm until 8 pm. I’m talkin’ to the hot red hot big money blessing straight! And you be there 6 o’clock tomorrow evening!

Bronx New York! Get on the telephone and call 50 of your friends! Tell all your friends who need some help! Doctor Williams is comin’ to the Bronx New York! Doctor Williams is comin’ to the Bronx New York!

Doctor Williams will be in the Bronx New York with a straight, straight hot! Hot hot hot hot! Red hot! Big money blessing! Can’t nobody can stop me! Not even the dead in hell can’t stop me!

I’ll get ready to leave tonight! I want you to know, I love you! I’m talkin’ to you baby! I’m talkin’ to you sugar! Listen, Doctor William’s car comin’ down man! I love you! I love you!

I have a special phone number, where you can call me, so that I can send you a special gift…

(Listen)

Foolish Musical Ideas

If I had the tools I’d do it myself.

Back in ancient historical era known as the 80s, British House giants Cauty and Drummond (perhaps you remember them as the KLF – also known as the Justified Ancients of Mumu, and furthermore known as the JAMs) sat down to create a House remix of the Doctor Who theme.

After messing around with it for some hours and getting nowhere they realised that it’s in triplet time, and you can’t do House in triplet time. So they threw the House idea out the window and just mashed the theme up with perhaps the most famous triplet rock song ever – Garry “I want to touch your children” Glitter’s Rock and Roll Part 2.

The result was one of the most successful and annoying novelty tracks of all time – Doctorin’ the Tardis – which transformed them into millionaires almost overnight.

The reason I mention this is that in the shower yesterday morning I realised that Marilyn “Oo! I’m so Evil!” Manson’s Beautiful People is also in triplet time. Which means you could easily do a Doctor WhoBeautiful People mashup!

Go on! What are you waiting for?! 😀