Chumbawamba – WYSIWYG (2000)

I’m With Stupid

GUESS WHAT? I’M WITH STUPID GUESS WHAT? ‘COS I’M WITH YOU ANOTHER WHITE BOY BAND THEY’RE HAPPY ON DEMAND EVERYTHING IS PLANNED UNTIL THE SINGER GETS A HABIT GUESS WHAT? THIS COULD GET TO BE A HABIT GUESS WHAT? THIS COULD GET TO BE A HABIT GUESS WHAT? I’M WITH STUPID GUESS WHAT? ‘COS I’M WITH YOU I’M GOING OUT OF MY HEAD INSIDE A T.A.Z. YOU WON’T CATCH ME LIVING OR DEAD ON THE HOLLYWOOD A-LIST GUESS WHAT? THE HOLLYWOOD A-LIST GUESS WHAT? COME AND GET YOUR ARSE KISSED GUESS WHAT? I’M WITH STUPID GUESS WHAT? ‘COS I’M WITH YOU

Trying to find the Temporary Autonomous Zone which exists in pop culture’s darker corners. Somewhere away from the global village’s consumer spectacle and its secondhand entertainment package, where we’re encouraged to get excited about everyone’s life except our own. Meanwhile, the Boy Band/Drama School Graduates phenomenon still shocks with its open, brazen shallowness. One quick scratch of the surface and you begin to discover the ghastly and awkward stuff going on in there. The ghastly, awkward stuff that is real life. Scratch, scratch, scratch.

Shake Baby Shake

SHAKE IT SHAKE IT SHAKE BABY SHAKE THE MEMORIES AWAY SHAKE THIS GROWN UP BARBIE DOLL OF A DAY SHE GETS HUGH HEFNER BUT SHE FORGETS THE YEAR SHE JUST SHAKES HER YEAH YEAH YEAH SHAKE THE DIRT FROM YOUR HANDS NOW LISA MARIE SHAKING UP THE FAMILY WITH PAMELA LEE SHAKE THIS FEAR OF GETTING NOTHING DONE IF YOU CAN BAKE A CAKE YOU CAN MAKE A BOMB

Whatever happened to the riot grrls? Here comes another bleedin’ nose job at the Awards Ceremony, clutching the Award For Biggest Entourage. (Thankyou, Thankyou).

Pass It Along

SEND THIS SONG TO TWENTY PEOPLE ADD YOUR NAME DON’T BREAK THE CYCLE PASS IT ALONG BY WORD OF MOUSE SAVE THE WORLD DON’T LEAVE THE HOUSE BECAUSE A VIRTUAL OFFICE IN A VIRTUAL HOME MEANS YOU NEVER HAVE TO DRIVE THROUGH THE WRONG PART OF TOWN PASS IT ALONG BY WORD OF MOUSE SAVE THE WORLD DON’T LEAVE THE HOUSE PASS IT ALONG DON’T LEAVE THE HOUSE SO HERE’S YOUR FINAL RESTING PLACE YOUR HEAVEN IS PROTECTED BY SECURITY GATES SHUT OUT THE WORLD IT’S GETTING WORSE SAVE YOURSELF DON’T LEAVE THE HOUSE BECAUSE A HAPPY FUTURE IS A THING OF THE PAST AND THERE’S ALWAYS ANOTHER REPEAT (REPEAT) SHUT OUT THE WORLD IT’S GETTING WORSE SAVE YOURSELF DON’T LEAVE THE HOUSE PASS IT ALONG DON’T LEAVE THE HOUSE WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO TODAY? SOMEWHERE YOU COULD NEVER TAKE ME BRAVE NEW WORLD POPULATION ONE JUST PASS IT ALONG

Be afraid, be very afraid. Neighbourhood Watch is all that keeps the angry criminal underclass from kicking down the front door and slitting throats. Security-driven logic keeps us locked inside our homes. The wealthy move into luxury enclaves designed for Bond villains, with restricted entry, guards and private roads; while the rest of us rely on a locksmith. The spectre of violent crime is kept at bay with five-bar locks, bolts and security gates. Despite every statistic showing that we’re far more likely to be attacked or murdered by our nearest and dearest, we insulate ourselves against the outside world.

In the US the search for absolute security is a boom industry. In Beverly Hills and Bel Air wealthy home owners are hiring architects whose design details come from military command posts and overseas embassies. No nineties-built Bel Air mansion is complete without a ‘terrorist proof security room’. In the face of urban poverty, homelessness and welfare cuts, investment is ploughed into private security rather than alleviating social conditions. Let’s redecorate the bunker, baby! It’s not lust the rich who are battening down the hatches. British property developers are talking in terms of ‘restricted housing’ for the young as well as the elderly. Developers are beginning to offer child-free environments. Some three bedroom semis are going to start coming with a proviso that homeowners have to sell up and move on if they decide to have children. Kids make noise, play on the street, grow up to be dangerous teenagers. A ‘good’ area is a dead zone with deserted streets from 6pm onwards. Crowds, street life and spectacle are something we see on TV or at the cinema. It’s the privatisation of experience.

Public space is becoming a thing of the past. The great municipal parks of the 19th century are all that remain of the egalitarian idea that people need space. Most parks are locked up after dark. We’re allowed to gather in large groups if we’re willing to pay for the privilege. Pop concerts, theme parks, shopping centres and sporting events are more or less the only places where a crowd isn’t met by cops in riot gear. MCA, Universal, Granada and Disney capitalise on our craving for crowds and bustle by supplying sanitised theme park versions of streets. Why bother visiting the real Beale St or Baker St when for a fee you can stroll down a safe tourist version complete with costumed actors? It’s a Junk food version of urban life.

The lack of public meeting places is a measure of repression. In parts of Central and South America and the so-called ‘third world’ people aren’t even allowed to meet up in church, It’s not Jesus Christ who’s perceived as a threat, but the act of gathering together as a group. Whenever there’s a domestic crisis the first thing the authorities do is break up a crowd. The British Criminal Justice Bill gives police the right to disperse groups of more than three people. Three’s a crowd who might lust be planning a revolution.

Bus shelters are now designed without benches so that kids are discouraged from gathering in them, and the homeless can’t use them as shelter. In Britain, the Government-appointed ‘Homelessness Tsar~ Louise Casey, announced moves to sweep the homeless from the streets. Calling for an end to the ‘culture of kindness~ she claimed soup runs and handouts encouraged people to sleep rough. The solution is not to build or provide housing but to punish poverty. The US has long waged brutal, low intensity warfare on the homeless. According to Mike Davis in ‘City of Quartz:

“The City (LA) is engaged in a merciless struggle to make public facilities and spaces as ‘unlivable’ as possible for the poor… adopting the idiom of the urban cold war, it promotes the ‘containment’ of the homeless in Skid Row along Fifth Street east of the Broadway, systematically transforming the neighbourhood into an outdoor poorhouse.”

Even places that have been used as common land for centuries are under threat: Glasgow Green’s long history of being the spot where generation after generation gathered to debate and air their political grievances didn’t stop Glasgow’s Labour Council from trying to sell it off to private developers. The Green’s political significance can’t have escaped the council. In the absence of human contact we’re supposed to turn to business culture as a panacea for our isolation and loneliness. The delivery of interactive media and virtual reality means we can work and shop from our own homes. Actual space has been replaced by virtual space, but only for those who can afford it. MCI promises a world without race, gender or age: “Is this a great time or what?” IBM offers “solutions for a small planet” while Microsoftr asks us, “Where do you want to go today?”

What sounds like an offer of limitless freedom is a short cut to ending up with a load of old Bill Gates software. The language of choice gives the illusion of diversity; but the communications giants aren’t offering us liberty, or the promiscuous feeling of being among strangers, or excitement, adventure, and the thrill of human contact. Oh no. We’re being offered isolation from society… the chance to stay at home, stay paranoid and keep buying things.

Buy-buy, buy-buy.

Hey Hey We’re The Junkies

HEY HEY WE’RE THE JUNKIES! STICKY PAGES IN HELLO WITH HOPPER AS HERO IN ROME SEE THE SOCIAL BIG GUNS GOING BANG BANG BANG HEY HEY WE’RE THE JUNKIES! SO FASHIONABLY BLUE WHO PUT THE U IN THE WAMBA?

We don’t have friends, we watch Friends. Religiously. Entertainment is something not to take part in, but to consume. Collective working, sharing ideas, getting drunk or dropping a pill together isn’t sold as the way to achieve empathy… common ground is watching the same soaps, supporting the same few football teams, buying the same CD’s and wearing the same labelled shirt (Nike Operates Sweatshops Worldwide, And All I Got Was This Lousy Tshirt’). Sitcoms and celebrity profiles provide the adrenalin rush that used to come from active experience, not passive experience. We’re media junkies, alienated from the people that live around us but knowing exactly what the inside of Noel and Meg’s Supernova Heights looks like. Able to recite obscure lines from The Fall’s back catalogue to help us articulate our own expenences.

Fixing up on celebrity weddings, vomiting headlines, turning blue in the corner.

The Health & Happiness Show

IT’S A NO-NO I HAVE TO HEAVE-HO I’VE GOT NO STOMACH FOR A DUMBED-DOWN TOMATO GENE GENIE ROGUE SOYA BEANIE GET THEE BEHIND ME PATENT MARGARINIE

From the same studio that concocted Agent Orange, Astro-Turf and Nutra- Sweet comes another lethal cocktail of chemistry and commerce. The mountebank, the quack, the charlatan; selling his cure-all remedy from a suitcase, only now he wears the scientists’ white coat. Listen to Hank Williams’ Health And Happiness 1949 Radio Shows where the songs are punctuated by “a few words from the sponsor.” You can hear the death-rattle in Williams’ voice ss the potions the sponsors gave him for his crooked back brought forward his sell-by date.

The politics of the twenty first century will be the dispossessed against the Disneys. There’s a duty to confront and challenge the transnational companies putting pro fit before people; Monsanto are currently considering selling off all their GM food companies as a direct result of the plummeting share prices of stocks in those companies, as a knock-on effect of the massive and popular outrage against GM foods and the attempt to foist them upon us unawares.

They got rid of the plastic pitch at Preston, too.

I’m Coming Out

I’M COMING OUT AAH LET’S KISS AND MAKE UP AAH LET’S DIG THE GRAVE UP AAH LET’S HAVE A SHAKE UP AAH LET’S KISS AND MAKE UP I HAD A FLING WITH DORIS DAY I ALMOST GOT HER IN THE FAMILY WAY I’VE GOT TO SEE WHAT THE PAPERS SAY ALL DRESSED UP IN DRAG INSIDE A GUCCI BODY BAG I’M COMING OUT AAH LET’S KISS AND MAKE UP AAH LET’S DIG THE GRAVE UP AAH LET’S HAVE A SHAKE UP AAH LET’S KISS AND MAKE UP MY SELF-DENIAL COULDN’T GET ANY WORSE FIRST CONFESSION SECOND VERSE I FORGET MYSELF BUT I REMEMBER THE WORDS ALL DRESSED UP IN DRAG INSIDE A GUCCI BODY BAG I’M COMING OUT AAH LET’S KISS AND MAKE UP AAH LET’S DIG THE GRAVE UP AAH LET’S HAVE A SHAKE UP AAH LET’S KISS AND MAKE UP THE SNIFFER DOGS ARE COMING ROUND MY HOUSE AGAIN

Buffy Buffed Me! George Licked Chocolate From My Gusset! There’s nothing like a scandal to keep newspaper proprietors happy… and a hefty dose of pop star self-denial ensures that a banal story of pharmaceutical or sexual preference becomes a tale of “smut” and “shame”. As Rock Hudson lay dying of AIDS in a Parisian hospital in 1981. the papers speculated about his ‘secret gay past’ and whether or not it had caught up with him in the form of AIDS. Escorting Doris Day to an industry shindig was no longer enough to keep the sniffer dogs at bay.

Ten years on, the tabloids published pictures of a six-stone Freddie Mercury in the back of a cab, looking like he was about to expire at any second. The Has He Got AIDS? headlines were met with a denial from the Mercury camp. Years of tabloid ‘investigations’ into Freddie’s sexual preferences had been countered by Freddie holding a public engagement to his ‘childhood sweetheart’ Mary. When the fiancée fiasco didn’t work, Mercury allowed himself to fall into the: “I’m saying nothing” category of “might be bisexual”.

After Hudson and Mercury had both lapsed into their final AIDS- induced comas, statements were read out which said that in the name of ‘raising public awareness of the disease’ they were finally admitting they had the disease. If the tabloids which vilified them could have somehow managed to bring them back from the dead, both men might possibly have grinned for the cameras, and very probably have denied themselves three times. Honesty might alienate fans and affect record sales. There’s no business like show business! I’m ready for my close- up now Mr DeMille.

Like Hoover keeping his frilly panties in a lead-lined filing cabinet marked ‘smutty secrets~ the stars guard their sexual preferences. Gay ends up in the same drawer as paedophilia because some ‘stars’ are too afraid of falling box-office receipts to challenge the media’s homophobia. Few of them come out of the closet without a crowbar, and when they do they often find, as George Michael did, that most of the public don’t care about what two consenting adults get up to in bed.

I’m In Trouble Again

NORMAN ROCKWELL COME ON IN HANG YOUR DIRTY COAT ON THE DOOR DON’T YOU WORRY ‘BOUT THE COPS DOWNSTAIRS THEY’RE JUST DIGGING UP THE CELLAR FLOOR I’M IN TROUBLE AGAIN I’M IN TROUBLE AGAIN TRIED TO BE SO SQUEAKY CLEAN BUT I’M IN TROUBLE AGAIN OH YEAH PEOPLE SAY I’M NASTY MEAN BUT I’M IN TROUBLE AGAIN OH YEAH I’M THE GIRL FROM STARS IN THEIR EYES BUT I WALKED INTO A LIFE OF CRIME NOW I TURNED WATER INTO CORPORATE POP AND DANBERT IS A FRIEND OF MINE I’M IN TROUBLE AGAIN I’M IN TROUBLE AGAIN TRIED TO BE SO SQUEAKY CLEAN BUT I’M IN TROUBLE AGAIN OH YEAH PEOPLE SAY I’M NASTY MEAN BUT I’M IN TROUBLE AGAIN OH YEAH I GOT A PLASTIC TOY WITH MY HAPPY MEAL I FEEL SICK TRIED TO BE SO SQUEAKY CLEAN BUT I’M IN TROUBLE AGAIN OH YEAH PEOPLE SAY I’M NASTY MEAN BUT I’M IN TROUBLE AGAIN OH YEAH

Life in a pop group is all sugary sweet and primary colours; Chumbawamba rehearsals really do have a Norman Rockwell niceness to them. We ring up our record company and they tell us what sort of thing the kids are listening to these days, so that we can construct our pleasing and melodic tunes with one ear to the marketplace. Then at lunchtime we lump into the band van (much like The Monkees) and drive down to McDonald’s for a Happy Meal. Sometimes we like to listen to the music being played in the restaurant, taking notes before amending the tunes we were working on earlier, It’s all so pleasant that we can’t understand why some hurtful, hateful people think that we’re nasty and mean.

Social Dogma

I’M JUST SCRAPING THE SOCIAL DOGMA FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY SOUL

“For every TV-advertised Burger Clown/ There’s half a thousand complete unknowns / Sure I believe in Santa Claus / He’s a fading actor who’s going bald / There’s mass perjury in every street / Because nobody tells the pollsters the truth /All the market research is deeply flawed / And Josephine Public becomes an outlaw.”

(Extract from D.Dogg’s ‘My Social Disease Was Incurable~ 1983)

WWW Dot

WITH A W AND A W AND A W DOT OOH MR. MURDOCH CAN I SHOW YOU AROUND? A NEW RELIGION NO BEAT NO RHYTHM JUST WAL-MART WALL TO WALL A KODAK BABY IN THE LAND OF PLENTY HONEY I BLEW UP THE WORLD! WITH A W AND A W AND A W DOT

Rupert Murdoch once dismissed the internet as a passing fad. Now he’s realised that his fear of new technology has put him at a disadvantage to the other entrepreneurs who are talking about the world wide web as the electronic equivalent of colonising a continent full of money trees. The company which Murdoch has set up to carve out huge portions of the web is ePartners. He’s handed it a fund of $400m dollars to spend on emerging internet companies:

“I want China and I want cyber space and I want it now!”

Mike Butcher, editor of business magazine New Media Age, sees Murdoch’s move into e commerce as an attempt to create a platform from where he can challenge Bill Gates. Expect to see two pasty-faced Battling Robots fighting over the profits from cyberspace. Two triumphs of the embalmer’s art circling each other for territory.

Like Murdoch, a lot of entrepreneurs recognised the profit potential of the internet relatively late. Right now millions of people are chatting, uploading, downloading, linking, flirting and making copies of whatever they want for absolutely free. Despite capitalism’s assertion that everything worth having has to be paid for, the internet is still a vital place to head for free information and software. It remains to be seen whether capitalism can block the egalitarianism which has characterised much of the web; this crucial transitional phase will determine whether the net retains a dissipated, unruly soul of organised chaos or becomes a bland shadow of its former self as the world’s biggest supermarket.

New York Mining Disaster 1941

We decided to record this Bee Gees song after hearing a version of it on Martin Carthy’s last album, ‘Signs Of Life’. A beautiful song written in 1967, before the brothers Gibb discovered white suits.

I’m Not Sorry, I Was Having Fun

BY THE TIME I GOT TO WOODSTOCK IT WAS GOING UP IN FLAMES “IN JUNE UNDER A SILVERY MOON” WHY DO ALL YOUR SONGS TURN OUT THE SAME? GOT GOT GOT GOT NOT GOT GOT GOT GOT GOT NOT GOT I’M NOT SORRY I WAS HAVING FUN I’M NOT SORRY I GOT THAT OLD TIME RELIGION WHERE WE STILL DON’T CROSS THE PICKET LINES YOU GOT RUSH LIMBAUGH ON YOUR SIDE I GOT RICKY TOMLINSON ON MINE GOT GOT GOT GOT NOT GOT GOT GOT GOT GOT NOT GOT I’M NOT SORRY I WAS HAVING FUN I’M NOT SORRY

Woodstock 2, a festival for the advertising generation. In the queue for the pizza and burger vans the spirit of free love, free food, and free anything is trampled into the mud. I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing – but it’ll cost ya! From counterculture to hand it over the counter. The organisers are counting the profits before the first band play, but they don’t bank on the kids turning it into a burnt-out imitation of the first time round.

June 1999, and the Reclaim The Streets philosophy of seizing back space and partying in it has taken over the city of London for the day. f4m worth of damage later and its obvious that the kids have read the book, seen the film, and now they’re ripping up the t shirt. (Got, got, not got, twicer, swaps…)

In Seattle, December 1999, they’ve imposed a curfew to try to stop the anti-World Trade Organisation protesters. As night falls there’s a huge screening of the fight of the century. In one corner there’s Rush Limbaugh, right-wing US radio evangelist. Rush is out of condition, a flabby thinker in a pair of Ian Paisley’s outsize shorts. In the other corner stands British film and sitcom star Picky Tomlinson. (More Danny Devito than Jean Claude Van Damme). Tomlinson is drawing on his own experience for the scrap against Limbaugh – he remembers his time as a building worker and as one half of The Shrewsbury Two, who were arrested and jailed for leading flying pickets during a building strike in 1972. A wildcat then and a wild card now. Blacklisted by the building trade on his release from prison, Tomlinson turned actor and used most of his career to breathe life into the words of left-wing writers. Asked if he thinks Limbaugh has a chance of winning a bout, Tomlinson raises his fist and shouts:

“My Arse!”

Jesus In Vegas

I AM THE LORD OF THE VERY LAST DANCE I’VE GOT ‘TOMMY’ ON THE LEG OF MY PANTS I’VE GOT THE AUDIENCE IN THE PALM OF MY HANDS MY GOOD FRIEND SINATRA ON MY RIGHT ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER IS DOING THE LIGHTS IT’S TWICE A NIGHT FOR TWENTY-FIVE NIGHTS ONE MORE LITTLE LINE THEN EVERYONE BACK TO MINE JESUS IN VEGAS! “I’LL PULL YOUR GODDAMNED TONGUE RIGHT OUT BY THE ROOTS!” I’VE GOT BASIE CONDUCTING THE BAND I GOT A PENTHOUSE SUITE AT THE SANDS AND MY FEET NEVER TOUCH THE GROUND ARE THERE ANY BRANCH DAVIDIANS IN THE HOUSE? HERE’S JIM JONES AS A PANTOMIME HORSE THAT SHOWBIZ GETS RIGHT UP YOUR NOSE ONE MORE LITTLE LINE THEN EVERYONE BACK TO MINE JESUS IN VEGAS! “I’LL PULL YOUR GODDAMNED TONGUE RIGHT OUT BY THE ROOTS!”

History collides with itself (“Don’t I know you?”) and is re-written before it happens.

Like cancer coming back, the script is littered with corpses, sinking deep into two thousand years of shifting sand. A carbon copy of a likeness, the greatest story ever told turned in on itself and devouring its own. Even Jesus doesn’t know who he is supposed to be anymore.

The sponsors aren’t as slow and spot a window of opportunity, inventing some mad crazy cousin only once removed to lay waste to some school children on a bus; and it’s okay because Life Is A Cabaret Old Chum, like the Pope shaking hands with Hitler, like Elvis shaking hands with Nixon. (But whatever you do, don’t dare suggest the King is doing pills – “I’ll pull your goddamned tongue right out by the roots!” was Presley’s onstage outburst at Journalists who had suggested he was on drugs.).

In the name of the Father, The Son and Saint Augustine with a golden gun, still the franchise persists, doling out 57 varieties of ruthlessly Christian values and telling the networks what will and won’t be seen on primetime TV. Here’s the predominant culture: every show is an advertisement disguised as entertainment.

And the re-writing of history begins with “In the beginning was showbusiness…”

The Standing Still

ONCE UPON A TIME DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES AND SMUG SUBURBAN SWINE SAME OLD SONGS, SAME OLD CABARET A FAIRYTALE IN NOTTING HILL TAKE YOUR PARTNERS FOR THE STANDING STILL ONCE UPON A TIME NOT SO HAPPY ENDING FOR THE MERSEY AND THE TYNE WHO SAID THE STORY HAD TO END THIS WAY? A FAIRYTALE ON BEESTON HILL TAKE YOUR PARTNERS FOR THE STANDING STILL

The Notting Hill New Labour cliques, smug in their rose-tinted glass- fronted verandas, writing self-obsessed columns for the Sunday supplements and wishing they’d authored Bridget jones’ Diary. A toast to democracy! The best system money can buy.. here we go again, same poison in a different coloured bottle.

Beeston Hill is in Leeds. Being just a close mile south of the newly- gentrified city centre, it can only look on as the retail centre of Leeds is showered with desirable flats and loft conversions, Harvey Nichols coffee shops and trendy wine bars. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

She’s Got All The Friends That Money Can Buy

SHE’S GOT ALL THE FRIENDS THAT MONEY CAN BUY SHE’S THE APPLE OF HER DADDY’S EYE THE FAMILY MONEY HAS A MAGNETIC PULL HER SOCIAL DIARY IS ALWAYS FULL AND BOTH HER FACES SO EASY ON THE EYE AND EVERYONE WORTH KNOWING IS KISSING HER BEHIND SHE’S GOT ALL THE FRIENDS THAT MONEY CAN BUY SHE’S THE APPLE OF HER DADDY’S EYE STYLE HAS A PRICE WITHOUT MUCH CHANGE IF YOU HAVE TO ASK THEN IT’S OUT OF YOUR RANGE AND BOTH HER FACES SO EASY ON THE EYE AND EVERYONE WORTH KNOWING IS KISSING HER BEHIND SHE’S GOT ALL THE FRIENDS THAT MONEY CAN BUY SHE’S THE APPLE OF HER DADDY’S EYE VERSACE AND PRADA MEAN NOTHING TO ME YOU CAN BUY YOUR FRIENDS BUT I’LL HATE YOU FOR FREE SHE’S GOT ALL THE FRIENDS THAT MONEY CAN BUY SHE’S THE APPLE OF HER DADDY’S EYE SHE JUST SHAKES HER YEAH YEAH YEAH

Mum and Dad are landowners and her hairs coordinated with her teeth. Harvey Nick’s is the corner shop, and in her immediate circle there’s only one person with a less than double-barreled surname – and that’s Charles Windsor.

Take two. Mom and Dad are Hollywood movers and shakers and her bank account’s coordinated with her social circle. Her belly button piercing is a passport to the alt-rock playboy’s scene and all the people she knows are hiding their embarrassing-hippy-parents names and ‘getting back to nature’. (Taking a bodyguard and a personal trainer along of course).

She’s the old/new establishment in kitten heels and Hello magazine. The debutante has-been reinvented as a Media Commentator. She’s the It Girl, spewing out a list of parties, openings, and celebrity friends; and every day her story fills the world’s magazine stands.

We’re all being forced to stand in IT, and IT stinks.

Ladies For Compassionate Lynching

WE’RE THE LADIES FOR COMPASSIONATE LYNCHING WE FIGHT FOR ALL THE THINGS WE BELIEVE WE SPEND ALL OF OUR TIME ON YOUR TALK SHOWS WE PUT THE STICKERS ON YOUR RECORD SLEEVES

Parental advisory; explicit lyrics.

Celebration, Florida

THE GOOD FOLKS PULL TOGETHER IT’S JULY FOURTH FOREVER DOWN IN CELEBRATION, FLORIDA THE NEIGHBOURS BRING YOU COFFEE AND EVERYONE’S ALWAYS HAPPY DOWN IN CELEBRATION, FLORIDA THERE’S A BAKE SALE AT THE SCHOOLHOUSE AND THEY’RE SELLING INNOCENCE THEY’RE KEEPING OUT THE DEVIANTS TO PROTECT THE RESIDENTS OF CELEBRATION, FLORIDA THEY’RE BUYING UP NOSTALGIA FOR A TIME THEY CAN’T REMEMBER DOWN IN CELEBRATION, FLORIDA THEY’RE SHARING HOMEMADE CORNCHIPS EVEN THE DOGS GET FACELIFTS DOWN IN CELEBRATION, FLORIDA THERE’S A BAKE SALE AT THE SCHOOLHOUSE AND THEY’RE SELLING INNOCENCE THEY’RE KEEPING OUT THE DEVIANTS TO PROTECT THE RESIDENTS OF CELEBRATION, FLORIDA THERE’S NATION FIGHTING NATION THERE’S KIDS WITH MALNUTRITION BUT NOT IN CELEBRATION, FLORIDA SOCIAL ENGINEERING IT GIVES YOU THAT FUZZY FEELING DOWN IN CELEBRATION, FLORIDA THERE’S A BAKE SALE AT THE SCHOOLHOUSE AND THEY’RE SELLING INNOCENCE THEY’RE KEEPING OUT THE DEVIANTS TO PROTECT THE RESIDENTS OF CELEBRATION, FLORIDA

From Those Wonderful People Who Brought You Mi Lai: Social architecture as constructed by closet white supremacists, where the over-eager security guards look like Grandpa Walton. You know the town in The Truman Show and Pleasantville? It already exists, built by Disney upon the myth of accurate and proper research into the kind of town where the average person would like to live. It’s a closed community built to echo those apple-pie towns you only ever see in Disney films, and franchises are available to those who can prove they’re suitably ‘average’.

Who are these ‘average persons’? Residents of exclusive housing regimes where you have to drive past the security check point to get in…? Who swim in personal swimming pools, oranges falling off the trees and rolling around in the dust, so they go and buy ‘fresh’ polished ones from the supermarket? Who wear their Grecian 2000, but look at you with disgust if you have dyed hair?

Celebration, Florida is the whole glazed biscuit. Make sure you follow the strict colour code when painting the outside of your house, and be sure to use the complimentary white spirit to wash away any evil thoughts. And yes, now your dog really can get a facelift.

Moses With A Gun

OH CHARLETON HESTON YOUR FATHER’S FAVOURITE SON WALKS IN WHISTLING CASEY JONES MOSES WITH A GUN OH CHARLETON HESTON YOUR FATHER’S FAVOURITE SON ROUND AND ROUND AND AD INFINITUM

The rampant primeval morality of Norman Mailers novel Why We Are in Viet-Nam? suggests that if you are going to eat deer then you should be prepared to kill it. If one is willing to have a cop risk his life in the apprehension of a burglar, then one should also be prepared to gun that burglar down. Following this line of thought, in the wake of the Colombine High School shootings, Mr Heston (as chairman of the National Rifle Association) reassuringly suggested that in future teachers should be armed, and pupils should be banned from wearing trench coats.

The Physical Impossibility Of Death In The Mind Of Jerry Springer

DAMIEN HURST SAID IT CAME IN WITH THE TIDE NOW JERRY SPRINGER HE’S IN FORMALDEHYDE

In which Mr Springer is pickled during a particularly overlong ‘final thought’, musing on the blurring of distinctions between reality and entertainment.

Smart Bomb

RAIN ON ME O FRIENDLY FIRE ME N’ AUDREY GONNA SING IT FOR YA A HEADACHE PILL TO DIE FOR FROM ALL PARTICIPATING STORES SMART BOMB! SHINE ON ME O BENIGN VIRUS URANIUM FROM ARMS-R-US HERE’S SOMETHING FOR YOUR FIRST-BORN GEORGE BUSH JUNIOR SING ALONG… SMART BOMB!

Today’s school science project. Praise the Lord and pass the industry award for the most innovative use of waste product; it would be smart if it wasn’t the sickest thing you’d ever heard. Take some depleted uranium (aka radioactive waste) from nuclear power plants and dip bullets in it. Tried and tested, as fired by US and British planes during the Gulf War and the Kosovo War. Uranium being a heavy metal apparently means that the bullets, if fired at sufficient velocity, can rip through tank armour. Nearly one million rounds fired in the Gulf War, and Iraqi babies born in the surrounding areas showing increased rates of cancers on a scale comparable to Hiroshima, and what a welcome wagon for the refugees returning to Kosovo…

Knickers

THERE’S A HOLE IN YOUR KNICKERS DEAR CALVIN DEAR CALVIN THERE’S A HOLE IN YOUR KNICKERS DEAR CALVIN A HOLE

The brilliance of the advertising “hit” is yet to be fully appreciated. Yesterdays cute idea of goods = respectability has been replaced by the far cleverer harpoon of products = rebellion. We can buy into an underground subculture by nipping into town or going to a mall. Revolution, once the catch phrase of change, is now only what the ad man’s offering.

Embracing “the world turned upside down” philosophy as a marketing tool, we have ads for cigs with no smoke and the underlying assumption that we’re not buying a brand but putting on an irreverent snarl. We dare to be different, we buy Y fronts that say so. And if the black pants with the white elastic don’t change your life, then try the blue G string and stretch vest. An ever-accelerating production line of different styles and attitudes is on offer.

Last week’s hip is today’s obsolete. No rebellion but the pre-programmed search for new products and kicks. Climbing into the right underwear is apparently a pre-requisite to having sex followed by funky conversations with Kate Moss lookalikes; luxury products are no longer a sign of wealth but of belonging to a sub-group which our neighbours are too ugly or too dumb to belong to.

Except that the folks next door are wearing exactly the same underwear as us and suffering from the same spotty angst.

Lie Lie Lie Lie

LIE LIE LIE LIE LIE LIE LIE LIE LIE LIE I FAILED THE AUDITION FOR CELEBRITY SQUARES YOUR LIFE IS A DREAM THEN YOU WAKE UP YOU WATCH FRIENDS TOGETHER THEN YOU BREAK UP I COULD WIN AN OSCAR I COULD BE SO SINCERE LIE LIE LIE LIE LIE LIE LIE LIE LIE LIE MY PSYCHIC MAKE-UP IT’S ALL OVER THE PLACE YOUR LIFE IS A DREAM THEN YOU WAKE UP YOU WATCH FRIENDS TOGETHER THEN YOU BREAK UP I’D LIKE TO THANK YOU ALL THROUGH THIS FLOOD OF TEARS LIE LIE LIE LIE LIE LIE LIE LIE LIE LIE (CRIES… THANKYOU, THANKYOU) LIE LIE LIE LIE LIE LIE LIE LIE LIE LIE

Thankyou, Thankyou, Thankyou. Thankyou to the wheelers and dealers and sellers and buyers and spinners and traders and all my family and most of all to God. Thankyou. Without you I am nothing. Nothing but an over-publicised airhead whose only context is gossip, hype and the lure of the superficial. Thankyou.

On our next album we’ll do away with sleeve notes, filling the space instead with a gigantic list of thankyous, respects and shouts out. Thankyou.

Dumbing Down

ARE YOU HAPPY HERE IN THEME PARK UK/USA? DO YOU SOMETIMES WISH THAT YOUR LIFE WAS PLUG AND PLAY? AND ARE THE WORDS TO THIS SONG CONCISE ENOUGH TO FOLLOW? IS YOUR SMART FOOD SIMPLE ENOUGH TO SWALLOW? WE’RE DUMBING DOWN DUMB-DOO-DUMB-DUMB DUMBING DOWN DUMB-DOO-DUMB-DUMB ARE WE ONLY EATING WORMS FROM A CAN JUST BECAUSE WE CAN? AND IS DISNEYLAND ALL WE UNDERSTAND? WILL OUR HISTORY BE WRITTEN OUT IN HEADLINES? DIANA DOLLS MIRACLES AND LANDMINES? WE’RE DUMBING DOWN DUMB-DOO-DUMB-DUMB DUMBING DOWN DUMB-DOO-DUMB-DUMB

The Virgin Mary made out of Elephant Dung! What’s the world coming to?

Mayor Giuliani of New York recently stopped the funding to the Brooklyn Museum of Art showing Chris Offili’s ‘sacrilegious’ piece, and in so doing placed himself in a tradition of cultural morons who fear what they don’t understand. The old battalion champions only an ‘art’ which defends their collapsing culture.

All power to the Focus Groups! For now Peter Mandelson, spin doctor supreme, gathers around himself a think-tank of buffoons who try to guess what ‘the people’ would like. What would we like? A huge Dome, with Disneyland inside it. We’d like Pat Boone, Cliff Richard and Puff Daddy to sing three part harmonies at the opening. MC Hammer could dance, Britney Spears and a troupe of pre-pubescent girls could sing to old men about sex. We’d like soaps, Titanics, and sliced white bread. We want Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ in a clip frame, and our football goalposts made bigger so we get more goals. And we want our political experiences distilled into three-minute pop songs by Chumbawumba. (That’s with a ‘U’).

There’d be no Elephant Dung – but a lot of shit art.

What You Get

Recorded at Shabby Road, Pudsey; Woodlands, Castleford; and The Chapel, Lincolnshire

Mixed at Woodlands, Castleford, November 1999

Mastered at The Townhouse by Geoff Pesch December 1999

Chumbawamba on this recording are:

Lou ‘Husky’ Watts: Vocals, keyboards
Harry ‘Terrier’ Hamer: Drums, vocals, programming
Danbert ‘Bloodhound’ Nobacon: Vocals, banjo
Dunstan ‘Bulldog’ Bruce: Vocals
Jude ‘Chihuahua’ Abbot: Trumpet, flugelhorn, vocals
Boff ‘Beagle’ Whalley: Guitar, vocals
Alice ‘Retriever’ Nutter: Vocals
Neil ‘ Dalmation’ Ferguson: Bass, keyboards, mouse

Even the dogs get facelifts…

Produced by Chumbawamba with Neil Ferguson

All songs written by Chumbawamba except “New York Mining Disaster 1941” written by Barry and Robin Gibb

All songs published by EMI Music except “New York Mining Disaster 1941” published by BMG Music Publishing Ltd 1967

We nicked some stuff from Negativeland’s ‘Helter Stupid’ album. Ta!

Also appearing on this record:

White Child Rix (Gunshot): Scratching
Simon: Trombone
Toby: Saxophone
B J Cole: Pedal steel guitar
Simon Lanzon: Additional vocal
The Complimentary Peanuts: Vocals on ‘Health & Happiness Show’
Wayne The Postie: Technical assistance
Armley Community Orchestra: Strings, woodwind
One Minute’s Silence: Snare drum
Steve: Assistant engineer at Chapel Studio
Seething Wells: “That’s it”
Brian Layng: Late-night technical assistance

Sleeve design by Baader-Meinhof
Eye & arse photography by Casey Orr

Thanks and love to Paul J Greco

Where You Get It

Chumbawamba can be contacted at:
P O Box TR666
Armley
Leeds
LS12 3XJ
UK

Up-to-date news, opinion, information from:
http://www.chumbawamba.net

A splendid time is guaranteed for all who can afford it

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