well, thought i,
what if y'take songs from another's repertoire
and make 'em allude to bw's oeuvre in their particular stylee...?
why not pick an artist i've admired throughout his career.
yes, step up mr john lydon and his band p.i.l.
not psychedelia, more punk-pantomime-art-rock.
and, if anything, the antithesis of the beauty of bw's work.
they've played some blinding music and some unforgettable live performances.
- we were fortunate to get tkts to their new york gig at the ritz may '81
as we were visitng nyc and saw they were playing.
it's the gig they played behind a screen,
with deep shadowy figures of the band up on screen, never apearing out front,
with johnny taunting the audience to the point where seats were thrown off the balcony
and a riot ensued, with the show stopped after20 odd minutes of fracas.
an excellent piece of wind up performance art!
- then, when i took my baby bruv, george, along to their first uk gig in several years
in a club in brighton, nov '83.
ashley refused to come along, after the previous debacle..
so, there we were by the merch. stall and it was rushed by three heavy-looking chaps,
hassling the guy behind the table,
intent on trashing it and stealing albums/ t shirts, whatever.
being a stalwart with a good sense of justice, what did i do?
well, i stepped in, did i not?
politely, i suggested that they back off and not cause trouble.
(not exactly the batman, vigilante stylee).
well, not exactly...
one of 'em took a swing at me,
and socked my bruv right in the eye
this surprised everyone, not least george,
who was intent on getting right away from any ruckus.
our refusal to retaliate in any way caused consternation amongst the malfeasants
and, meekly, they then backed off and the goodies were saved, unlooted.
but, did the stall holder reward us in any way?
nope - not a thankyou even!
and i got the sharp end of ashley's tongue for my effort and bruv's injury
- he thought i was some kind of perverted hero!
bloomin' great live show though.
but i digress...
i'm not about to reproduce 'smile'
(though my original idea was to illustrate the different sections of that album
and it was feasible).
looking through the numbers,
however, what about some parallels with 'pet sounds' ?
who'd think johnny rotten capable of suchlike?
but, here goes:
- ah, wouldn't it be nice, but...
'drive to the forest in a japanese car,
the smell of rubber on country tar.
hindsight done me no good...
the cassette played poptones.
i can't forget the impression you made
- you left a hole in the back of my head...'
'tie me to the length of that'
- a pet memory?
'when i was born the doctor didn't like me.
he grabbed me by the ankles,
held me like a turkey.
why'd you let him hit me?
this was wrong
- i knew you didn't love me!'
'the flowers of romance'
- a song of not fitting in,
one's own changeable emotions
and thwarted tender advances:
'now in the summer
i could be happy or in distress
depending on the company...
we're in a mess,
whatever i intended
i sent you flowers
- you wanted chocolate instead.
i can't depend on these so called friends...
start all over again''
- it's really not going to work out, is it?
you may still believe in me, but...
'getting rid of the albatross,
sowing the seeds of discontent,
i know you very well - you are unbearable...'
'this is not a love song'
- a scathing, cynical view of making good / 'free enterprise''
'happy to have and not have not'
could also fit back the other way,
into the context of an ambivalent human relationship,
love is here today, but on my terms...:
- you know there's... or is there?
'think you know the answer?
think you got all the problems?
well, why not try and solve them
instead of sitting on them?'
- love seeps away:
'seeing in your eyes
words can never say the way...
silence in your eyes,
never really know
until it's gone away...
words cannot express...'
- and, to end the album,
how about a song that is alludes to travel,
with an irish fond farewell to someone
('may the road rise with you')...
here's some examples of p.i.l. in various incarnations over the decades: