Picture of a judge's wigThe Judge RAVES!Picture of a judge's wig

Date: 13/05/21

Paste The Lord!

We live in dispiriting days. And the nights aren't too fucking clever, either.

I went to bed last night thoroughly depressed at things which are going on in the world, and I wasn't feeling any better this morning. The prospect of being stuck in the house all day due to the shitty weather didn't exactly help my mood, and so I was in serious need of distraction.

(I may come back to what is bugging me in another day or two, once I've had a better chance to get some perspective on it and possibly acquire a degree of equanimity).

I drifted into adding videos to the entries I'd made at the splendid 45world site - where I have been a moderator for some years - when I came across the one you'll see and hear if you decide to click on the link below.

I mentioned here how I had come across the work of Chumbawamba via that one-man Arts Council John Peel at the start of the 1990s. When their 1992 LP, Shhh, came out, I bought it straight away and was knocked out by it. The opening track quickly became a particular favourite, guying as it did those ridiculous people - mostly but not exclusively American - who claim to have seen Jesus in pizzas, the 'Virgin' Mary in the froth on their coffee, that sort of thing.

Such an act of pareidolia was apparently the experience of an American woman flying in a jet aircraft over Indiana, and Chumbawamba used it as the starting point for their satirical sally. Apart from containing the sound advice, "Have your fun whilst you're alive/You won't get nothing when you die", it introduces a new verb to contemporary usage with the line, "Gobsmacked, Williamshatnered, Meta does a double take...". There is another cultural reference of the time too, suggesting that Jeremy Beadle - he of the tiresome television pranks - might appear on the plane to tell Mrs Battle that she had been fooled. Either way, it's a nice send up of the credulousness of the credulous and - as a long-practising atheist - I was only ever going to approve of the message, especially couched as it is in a jolly romp of a tune with some very pleasant harmony vocals.

The track in itself cheered me up quite a bit, but not as much as something else. However, I'll come to that after you've listened to the song:

YouTube logo

OK, so here's the thing which turned my smile into a laugh.

My secondary school music teacher Mrs Creber once said a very profound and useful thing in my presence. "It doesn't matter how many times you listen to a piece of music; if you're listening in the right way, you'll always hear something in it that you hadn't noticed before.". This has greatly magnified the pleasure music of all sorts has given me over the last forty-odd years.

The trouble can sometimes be that you still don't know exactly what it is you're hearing, and that was the case here.

Go back to the video, and start listening again from about the 4:59 mark. You'll hear the Chumbas (as no-one who appreciated them has ever called them) singing what to me sounded like French:

"Ceci j'aime Carrefour/Ceci j'aime Carrefour..."

That part of the lyric wasn't included on the inner sleeve of the LP, so as far as I've been concerned for nearly thirty years, they were - highly incongruously with all their known political and philosophical positions - singing the praises of a chain of French supermarkets...

(A small digression here; when Carrefour were setting up their first outlets here in the Untied Condom in the early-to-mid 1970s, their television advertising featured the pay-off slogan, "Carrefour - Worth Driving Far For!". It is perhaps indicative of our society's raised environmental consciousness over the last four decades or so that no company in its right mind would use a catchphrase like that nowadays. Anyway...)

...although given that the capital letter was, perforce, implied rather than explicit, it was equally possible that the band was saying that they loved Crossroads, and this would at least have been a little less ideologically suspect.

It was only when reading the comments on this video that I finally realised what that repeated phrase was, namely:

"suseJ em ckuf, hO"

...and that - rather than just sing it the right way round then reverse the tape, they'd decided to sing it backwards, forwards, if you see what I mean.

I suppose I could say that it was a Revelation...