Investigators! Mount up!

It’s a clear black night, a place remote,
Robert Stack is on the corner in a pale trench-coat,
Got the mystery cases that remain unsolved,
Robert Stack is gonna lay out some trails gone cold,

He’s got all the reports, tracked the witness down,
Who didn’t think that it could happen in their own hometown,
He’s droppin’ all the facts ’cause it’s not too late,
For Robert Stack and
Unsolved Mysteries to investigate…

(You can blame Crystal and Robert at Re-Enacted: An Unsolved Mysteries Podcast for this… thing…)

Hello Zero

As is my way, I have once again become utterly captivated by a song. This time around it’s Zero by New Zealand’s own Alastair Riddell.

Now, some may say I’m late to the party, the song in question having been released 41 years ago, but I prefer to think of myself as making a deliberately delayed dramatic entrance. In any case I can hardly be blamed for not knowing a song that was only released in a foreign country and which (completely unfairly by the way) utterly failed to make an impact there. In any case it’s making an impact now, on me, and that’s what matters.

It is also my way to – when captured by a song – want to know the words so I can sing along and possibly even dance in an extremely undignified manner. These days this is pretty easy, as the lyrics to every song you could ever want are freely available online. Except it seems those of Zero. In digital terms the song barely seems to exist. This could not be allowed to stand, so I have done my best to transcribe it myself and present it here for the education and edification of the world.

Zero – Alastair Riddell

Zero has a way, she’s often bad,
Plays round, I’m always sad,
She knows what to do,
She’s a royal pilot too, oh,

She stares into my eyes,
Should see her lover’s eyes,
She’s a light above,
A light to guide,
A light,
What she knows,

Commander Zero,
Hello Zero,
I want you Zero tonight,
Won’t you come in on my airwaves?
Commander Zero,
Hello Zero,
A special feeling today,
Well you ought to see the sparkle in her eyes,

Last night I dated Zero,
I wanted her to see,
That as no one else will do,
The one she needs is me,

She laughed and shook her head,
So foolish and serene,
She looked so beautiful,
Her flight suit was in green,

Commander Zero,
Hello Zero,
I want you Zero tonight,
Won’t you come in on my airwaves?
Commander Zero,
Hello Zero,
A special feeling today,
Well you ought to see the sparkle in her eyes,

Zero,
Zero,
No one knows like Zero,
She’s got the world in her hands,
Zero,
What am I going to do?
(What am I going to do?)

Commander Zero,
Hello Zero,
I want you Zero tonight,
Won’t you come in on my airwaves?
Commander Zero,
Hello Zero,
A special feeling today,
With your,
Strange hair and,
Strange eyes and,
That’s why I love you,

Oh-oh-oh-oh,
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh,

Zero!

Oh-oh-oh-oh,
Oh-oh-oh-oh,
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh,

Zero!

Oh-oh-oh-oh,
Oh-oh-oh-oh,
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh,

Zero!

Oh-oh-oh-oh,
Oh-oh-oh-oh,
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh,

A Meal with God

A dozen turkeys,
Fresh orange peel and some veal,
Well kneaded dough and a dozen turkeys,
Do you want to hear about the meal I’m making?

You,
It’s you and me,

And if I only could,
I’d make a meal with God,
And I’d get him to set our places,
Be chopping up that cod,
Be chopping up that dill,
With no problems,

Come on, baby, come on, darling,
Let me seal this doughnut with you now,

Come on, angel, come on, come on, darling,
Let’s exchange the ingredients…

I’m serious as eczema when I’m playing on my decks!

And, because why not, here’s another attempt at transcribing a Moped track. This time their incandescent version of Abba’s Dancing Queen (including a sneaky shout out to Snap!)

(By the way I’m not terribly excited about the shout out, the band Snap! actually included the exclamation mark in their name, making it rather difficult to discuss them in a calm manner. It was the nineties, we did things differently then.)

Dancing Queen – Moped

Two-thousand and four! You know the score!
Come on people! Let’s get busy with the fizzy!
Insane-ia-ism!

You can dance, you can dance,
Party people!
Having the time of your life,
I wanna see you shake your booty with a significant degree of confidence tonight! Yes!
Ooh, see that girl, watch that scene,
Digging the dancing queen,

In dancing queen!

Oh yes!

That’s right!

Friday night and the lights are hot,
Hangin’ with Moped give it all you got,
Little bit of fresh flavour, I’m gonna make you dance,
We’re in the mood for some trance,

Only Moped could be those guys,
I’m quite small while the other two are high,
Bumping in your disco, we’re coming in your ears,
In brand new underpants,

And when you get the chance,
You are the dancing queen, young and sweet only seventeen,
It’s not eighteen but it’s legal!
Dancing queen, feel the meat from a tangerine, oh yeah!
Arrr-aargh!
You can dance,
Yes!
You can jive, having the time of your life,
You’re twisting the lemons man!
See that girl,
My lemons!
Watch that scene,
Whip it!
Digging the dancing queen,
Arrr-aargh!

Urrrrrrrrrrrrr!

You’ve got to push the groove and pump it up to the max,
We’re like a train to your brain laying down nineteen fresh tracks,
We’ll always run to the rhythm, get down with the flow,
We’re bigger than the Beatles! You do it – Darius!
Duh-uhhh,

Yes! That’s right!
I’m serious as eczema when I’m playing on my decks!

Huh!

You are the dancing queen, young and sweet only seventeen,
Dancing queen! She’s bootiful! Really bootiful!
You are the dancing queen, young and sweet only seventeen,
Inhale! Exhale! Don’t forget to breathe!
You are the dancing queen,

Thank you! I love your English face!

And your butt,

Sweet Child of Moped

It is, in my opinion, a great crime that the lyrics to Moped’s various reinterpretations of rock and pop classics do not seem to be available online.

To understand Moped there are a few things you need to be aware of. For instance, the existence of Scooter – a German dance group who specialise in taking samples of other people’s songs, putting a dance beat behind them and then shouting random nonsense over the top.

It also helps to know that Scooter had a mainstream hit in 2002 with a piece based around Supertramp’s Logical Song.

And the final piece of the puzzle is that in the wake of Scooter’s Logical Song, some fun loving British lads created a parody group named Moped and sent a pastiche of Scooter’s style – based around Coldplay’s Clocks – into the popular Chris Moyles radio show, which inexplicably decided to play it.

And then Moped kept doing it, and the rest is history.

Anyway, I find their stuff hilarious and thought it was abut time their unique interpretations of the modern dance form got some love, so here’s my best attempt at the lyrics of their spectacular cover of the Guns N’ Roses classic Sweet Child of Mine.

Sweet Child of Mine – Moped

Yes! Moped are back, going back in time like Doctor Who! But we don’t have a TARDIS. But we do have a Talbot Horizon…

Oh-wo-wo-wo sweet child of mine!

This time we’re rocking for the UK Posse. Cream! Gatecrasher! Nexus Wine Bar! Crystal! And Joker! In between the kebab shop and the taxi rank!

Guns n’ Roses are hot, and it seems to me,
That we’re back on the remix in 2003,
Yes, Moped are phat! It’s satisfaction guarantee!
(Moped are subject to status, terms and conditions apply, ask for written details)

Now and then when I feel the base,
It takes me away to that raving place,
And if I rave too long, I’ll probably miss my last bus and it’s a long walk back to Battenburg let me tell you…

Yes!

Oh-oh-oh sweet child of mine,
Irritation for the nation!
Oo-oo-oo sweet love of mine,
Mmmmm-nice!

She’s got flavour and she’s all gravy,
But I’ve absolutely no idea what that means, and, and now I’ve missed my place in the verse, and, I’ll catch up, it’s coming up in a little bit there, eh, here we go!

Her hair reminds me of the one safe place,
Like Ibiza or Clacton-on-Sea,
We go there all of the time you know,
To get fresh with the Moped Posse,

Here we go!

Oh-oh-oh sweet child of mine,
Fresh with the flavour!
Oo-oo-oo sweet love of mine,
Freestyle! Key-change!

Oh-oh-oh sweet child of mine oh-oh-oh!
Bring back thats beats!
Oo-oo-oo sweet love of mine,
Moonshanka!

Arrr-agh!

I’m the wide runner, I’m the big hitter,
You can’t get better than quick-fit fitter,
Up, fork, you know the score,
Don’t leave towels on the bathroom floor,
Clunk, click, Chas and Dave,
UK Posse gonna hear me rave,
I’m the rhythm police, the baseline protector,
When I say ‘bo’ you say ‘selector’,
Hick, schlep, bacon and eggs,
Guns N’ Roses, they have legs,
I’m the lord of the dance, I’m hung like fire,
This Moped vibe gonna take you higher,
I-I-I-I can’t find my way out of the recording studio, where do we go now?

Arrr-agh!

Real mega-nice!

Where do we go?

Get fresh with this!

Where do you go kids?

Sweet child! Of moped!

Urrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

We Didn’t Start the Cryptids…

Sea monk, Dobhar-chú,
Globster, Loup Garou,
Goatman, Grassman,
Beast of Gévaudan,

Morag, Wampus Cat,
Nandi-Bear and Spring Heeled Jack,
Momo, Gambo,
Mantis-Headed Man,

Kongamato, Tatzelwurm,
Grootslang, Lambton Worm,
Mothman, Trunko,
Thylacine and Shōjō,

Hodag, Hoop snake,
Creatures in Tianchi Lake,
Lizard Man of Scape Ore Bog,
Jackalope and Loveland Frog,

No Sleep ‘Till Nairobi

And yet another lyrics post, this time to the song No Sleep ‘Till Nairobi by the band S’ who seem to have gone out of their way to make their name impossible to either conjugate or Google. No matter, the song – from the far off days of 2006 – stands as perhaps the best invocation of the loneliness of the long distance traveler ever penned.

No Sleep ‘Till Nairobi

S’

No sleep ’till Nairobi,
I’m sorry to leave,
But honey, you know me, and you know that I need,
To shake off this laugh track,
And wander alone,
But I’m always half back here at home,

Where we’re running frantic,
Trying to move,
Above the Atlantic, I got nothing to prove,
I’m solving this cocktail,
While you’re on the run,
And I’m watching this rock sail round the sun,

No sleep ’till Nairobi,
These weeks are too long,
But as the days go, we sing traveling songs,
To hum throughout Heathrow,
Yeah, it’s duty-free,
Are you using that seat?
No, I guess it’s just me,

Yeah, I guess it’s just me,

Oh, I guess it’s just me,

Out on the tarmac,
Boarding a plane,
Staring at stars that, I cannot name,
Everyone’s weary,
What time is it now?
Well ready, ’cause here we go somehow,

No sleep till Nairobi,
The credit card’s cashed,
Sick of this so we, slowly get smashed,
When we don’t feel well we’ll,
Say our goodbyes,
But I can call from my cell, ’till the battery dies,

We find ourselves, in cheap hotels, wondering why we cannot sleep,
We sit and stare, just outside where, strangers straggle through the streets,
And up this late, we compensate, with hot black coffee and CNN,
Until it’s clear, that though we’re here, it doesn’t mean we see an end,

To lonely drives, and drinks in dives, and anxious rides to who knows where,
(No sleep ’till Nairobi, I’m sorry to leave,  But honey, you know me, and you know that I need,)
Propeller planes, and Amtrak trains, and soaking rains in summer air,
(To shake off this laugh track, and wander alone, but I’m always half back here at home,)
And since that’s so, it’s time to go, so grab your clothes from off the floor,
(No sleep ’till Nairobi, I’m sorry to leave,  But honey, you know me, and you know that I need,)
I think we might, just chase this night, that’s passing right outside the door,
(To shake off this laugh track, and wander alone, but I’m always half back here at home,)

Where we’re running frantic,
I’m trying to move,
Above the Atlantic, I got nothing to prove,
I’m solving this cocktail,
While you’re on the run,
And I’m watching this rock sail round the sun,

Not Worth Hiding

Fadades notwithstanding, I haven’t done a lyric transcription in ages, so I thought I’d get back in the saddle by getting down the lyrics of Alex the Astronaut’s beautiful new track Not Worth Hiding. Definitely going to be in my Hottest 100 list this year for both its message, and for just being a really sweet song. So here we go…

Not Worth Hiding

Alex the Astronaut

I learnt to drive to school when I was sixteen,
And I was happy with my friends and we skipped class for time to breathe,
We learnt about the stars and the trees,
I cried when I found kissing boys wasn’t for me,

So I tried every trick in the book,
I tried talking to the pretty boys, and changed the way I looked,
But wearing dresses to impress just left me lonely and upset,
And the boys could tell when I looked at her I wasn’t interested in them,

It’s not worth hiding if you’ve got something to say,
And it’s not worth smiling if you’re feeling in pain,
And it’s not worth hiding if you think you might be gay,
Or different in another way, you’re perfect just the same,

I opened the paper and it left me in shame,
Said that these contagious gays aren’t safe and you should keep your kids away,
But I grew older and bolder, and my friends caught on slowly,
Nineteen and withdrew the weight from my shoulders,

We sang,
It’s not worth hiding if you’ve got something to say,
And it’s not worth smiling if you’re feeling in pain,
And it’s not worth hiding if you think you might be gay,
Or different in another way, you’re perfect just the same,

So tell me, anyone?
If you love them as a daughter, could you love them as a son?
We all smile at different faces, we all blush at different names,
But holding someone’s hand should never make you feel ashamed,

Your story might not be at all like mine,
I don’t mean to simplify, this should be in your own voice and your own time,
But the cages that they’ve made us, should soon just rust away,
And this song just won’t need singing, but for now I’ll let it play,

It’s not worth hiding if you’ve got something to say,
And it’s not worth dying for the people who will smile at your name,
And it’s not worth lying if you’re feeling in pain,
And it’s not worth hiding, ’cause happiness could be on your way,

Bad Contamination

The Worst of Perth has recently alerted me to the fact that Bayswater Councillor Sally Palmer has of late been peddling some truly atrocious poetry on the subject of a concrete plant being constructed on Collier road.

I know nothing about Ms Palmer’s politics, and while I have not been aware of plans for a concrete plant on Collier road I can see why such a proposal seems like a bad idea. One thing I do know however is what makes for a half decent poem, and I can say with certainty that “Black Cockatoo Calling” is probably the worst bit of poetry foisted on the people of Bayswater since Gina Rinehart defiled Morley with her poorly composed plea for less government regulation on the activities of disadvantaged mining billionaires.

It is a basic rule of English poetry that you can’t rhyme a word with itself – it’s cheating. Yet Ms Palmer rhymes “lands” with “lands”, “accord” with “accord” and “earth” with “earth”. Another rule is that of meter and scansion – lines should follow a uniform pattern of syllable count and stress. While not as bad as Ms Rinehart in this respect Ms Palmer still breaks meter all over the place. A basic understanding of grammar is also expected – I don’t think the construction “to do contamination” would pass muster in any high school English class, let alone “to do bad contamination”.

The horror engendered by reading Ms Palmer’s poetic burp got me wondering – how is it that apparently intelligent people can spew up the kind of doggerel that would embarrass William McGonagall but then be proud enough to put it on display for all to see? After some thought I think I’ve figured it out…

We all wrote poems in primary school. And almost all of them were awful. Awful, terrible atrocious poetry. But because we were young and just learning how to write and compose, our teachers encouraged us. A poem like “Black Cockatoo Calling” would get any 10 year old a gold star and maybe a special certificate from the school principal, despite its many obvious faults. And there’s nothing wrong with that whatsoever.

The problem arises when the 10 year old internalises the message “I’m a good poet!” and goes on through high school, and maybe university, without ever writing another poem. They never have cause to write more poetry, and never get any feedback that would let them know that their poetic skills have failed to grow beyond the levels of that 10 year old, and are – in a grown adult – simply an embarrassment. Throw in a desire to express strongly held beliefs about mining regulations or concrete plants and the stage is set for a horrible, poorly composed screed to be vomited out into the world, generating untold suffering and trauma.

If I get the time I may rewrite Ms Palmer’s poem into something more acceptable. But then again I may not. I am rather busy at the moment.

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