20
Jan 05

Day 8: Desert Island AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 LOUSY TUNES

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Day 8: Desert Island
AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 LOUSY TUNES

I was awoken the next day by a small furry creature nuzzling up against me. Leaping back in fear in case it was a member of ZZ Top without the name beard, i discovered it was some kind of muskrat. Well to be precise, it was a large rodent of a type I had never seen before. But I am not rodent collector.

I shooed the thing away and cleared my eyes. Sunlight was streaming into the container, and the far door was swinging open in the breeze. Tentatively I took a look out and then emerged on to the sandy shore. (Not Sandy Shaw, who I would have jumped up and down on in hobnail boots if she had turned out to be underfoot). Blinking in the harsh but chilled sunlight I took stock of the situation.

I and my bright red container appear to have washed up on a deserted, and hence I suppose, desert island. Not all that warm, I was glag for the chunky sweater Captain Jack had given me before locking me in the makeshift cell. A wind was whipping up as well on the beach. It was a natural cove, bordered by rocks at both ends and a somewhat foreboding coniferous forest at the perimeter. It appears that this situation may well cause me some impediment to traveling around the world. My first priority must be survival and rescue.

After some time taken to gather flotsam to set a fire (a girl never travels without a box of matches, if only for lighting flaming spoons of absinthe), I took stock. The Jonah, was missing, potentially sunk. I thought about my own Man Friday, Crispian, who no doubt would have been urging kit-off Blue Lagoon excesses if he had been here. I was alone on this island, and island where strange noises were coming from the interior. And when examined the container again I made a startling discovery. It appears that the door had not come open by itself. Rather someone, or something tremendously strong had levered the door open, leaving large claw marks behind.


XTC: Desert Island

There are few things more soul destroying than being shipwrecked on a desert island with next to no hope of escape. Few things, but one of them is bonus tracks on reissues of already appalling albums. Desert Island is track sixteen on the re-release of Mummer by XTC, the last of the extra tracks. Which logically means that not only is it worse than anything else on the album, but it is the worst of the worst things on the album. And this is an album that has a track called Funk Pop A Roll on it.

If you have ever seen the Agony and The Ecstacy you may have some idea about how XTC misappropriated their name. Surely better titled AGNY, XTC were a punk band that never really did punk, a post-punk band that did not do really do post-punk, and some sort of maypole fetishists. Certainly by the time Mummer came out the band had given up touring (too much abuse) and were almost exclusively writing songs about going scumping and fancying the lass from the farm down t’road. XTC were often a band accused of being too clever for their own good, which I find surprising considering that would mean the perfect state of affairs would be for them to be single celled organisms.

Desert Island is one of those “clever” songs which suggests that Great Britain is a desert island. The lack of desert would be the first thing I would point out to them, plus the large number of supermarkets – which Andy Partridge seems to rail against. A political song without any ostensible politics, this is just a rant which the world could have done without hearing. Or being re-released as the worst track of the worst tracks that were not released when they made Mummer. Don’t say you were not warned.

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