Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I wouldn't normally do this kind of thing

Been listening to the Pet Shop Boys' recent Radio 2 show, which opens with 'Left To My Own Devices'; as always, that line, surely their most celebrated, leaps out: "Che Guevara and Debussy to a disco beat".

It's memorable, but does it actually mean anything? There's an implication that Neil Tennant is announcing his own aesthetic manifesto, a fusion of politics (Che) and high art (Debussy) in the guise of apparently throwaway pop fluff. Although maybe these are just words that sound good. But if not, why choose these particular indicators? Apart, of course, from the fact that Che and Claude don't look entirely unalike, as can been seen from the attached pics. It's a linguistic formula ("A and B to a C beat") that could incorporate any combination of unlikely bedfellows as 'A' and 'B', where 'C' signifies a specific musical form; although I reckon the word would have to have more than one syllable: "...to a ska beat" sounds oddly abrupt.

So...

• Architecture and pessimism to a rocksteady beat

• Pogle's Wood and Julie Burchill to a foxtrot beat

• Darwinism and mumbling to a trad jazz beat


Some of which sound like the sort of thing that Nietzsche might doodle in the margins while trying to get his head round a difficult Sudoku; or maybe they're just candidates for the space under the blog title.

The only potential downside is that constructions inevitably become clichés: think of "X is the new Y"; or the profoundly tired "M is like N on acid". So we'd better have fun with it before the wheels fall off. Over, as ever, to you.

24 comments:

Christopher Campbell-Howes said...

Oh, Tim.

Hornby and Barlow on the black pool beat.

Accipe hoc, O Pesvir.

Boz said...

Thora Hird and Kylie to a samba beat

WV: 'welike'. Too true.

patroclus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
patroclus said...

(Sorry, wrong way round)

Tony Benn and Popeye to a hard house beat.

Alistair Fitchett said...

Charles Manson and Madonna to a Tweepop beat.

FirstNations said...

i get as far as 'toulouse lautrec' and 'wife in the north' and collapse laughing.

Chris said...

Doctorin' the Tardis to a Glitter Beat.

And I think what it means is - 'Anyone can have a Christmas number one with an Elvis cover, let's try and smuggle in some culture this year.'

dh said...

This is what happens when I stop blogging for a while. All the best comments get taken.

oyebilly said...

Antonio Gramsci and John Dowland. To a dubstep beat.

(I thought far too hard about this)

garfer said...

Marx and Engels chill out to that triphop beat while discussing the internal contradictions that will lead to the demise of capitalism and the triumph of the downtrodden lumpen proletariat.

Betty said...

Tennessee Ernie Ford and Ben Volpeliere-Pierrot to a Bernie Clifton dressed up as an ostrich beat.

Annie said...

Gurning and limping to an unsteady beat.

Annie said...

Er, did it have to be people?
*slinks away, shamed*

Pisces Iscariot said...

god and the devil to an atheist beat

rockmother said...

Mark E Smith and Bez to a HolsteinSpeed Beat

Tim Footman said...

A splendid selection of nonsenses. Keep 'em coming.

(And Annie, it doesn't need to be people. Look, Betty picked Ben Volpeliere-Pierrot, and he's just a figment of the collective late-80s imagination. His hat was real, though.)

patroclus said...

Hahahahaaa, Ben Volpeliere-Pierrot. I wonder where he is now.

Tim Footman said...

Here he is!

Apparently he's "looking forward to another chart return" in er, 2007.

Ward Hardman said...

more gayness in the anus from baldy tim

Murph said...

Chris Martin & Coldplay to a Satriani Beat.

Robert Swipe said...

I tried to incorporate something similar (e.g. "think Conway Twitty having an argument with Ned's Atomic Dustbin about Britney Spears' drum programmer while the Phil Spector wrecking crew play the complete works of Cornelius Cardew on a thimble and rubber band underneath the M25...") as a way of describing what the songs sounded like in an abandoned autobiographical rock and roll novel I was working on sometime ago.

Good job too, by the sounds of it. That I abandoned it, I mean.

xxx
Bob

p.s.: kraut morlockifification: bedgehor

I *promise* I didn't make that one up...

Robert Swipe said...

Just out of interest, is Ward really a Hardman? Seems it from his queer-baitingly macho comment...

xxx
Bob

rind syndivindification: cultrati

Could have been written with Tim in mind, couldn't it listeners?

Tim Footman said...

I suspect he is quite hard, Bob. You remember what it was like when you got that first glimpse of the support garments section in your mum's Grattan's catalogue?

Ward Hardman said...

teehee, Bob, teehee.