21
May 12

SAINT ETIENNE – “Popular”

FT155 comments • 10,119 views

Huge weepy thanks to Bob, Pete and Sarah for immortalising us in song. And thanks to commenters past and present for making it worth immortalising.

Comments

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  1. 31
    swanstep on 23 May 2012 #

    Has anyone got the lyrics to ‘Popular’ yet? I can’t make out the listy bits at all, and it sounds like Sarah C. sings ‘f***ed my heart in two’ at the beginning (which would be a good line!), but I may just be imagining things.

  2. 32
    Drew on 23 May 2012 #

    “Broke”. But I think I’ll imagine it your way too.

  3. 33
    Mark G on 23 May 2012 #

    #30b) as Abba sang, “Anybody could be That Guy”..

  4. 34
    Mike Atkinson on 23 May 2012 #

    Alas, no lyrics with the CD. I can work out most of them, but there are still a few areas of vagueness.

    Verse 2:
    There’s Tim, ??? (sounds like “nascent tailor man”)
    Here’s Kat, Mark and Pete Baran
    And meet Tom, the nabob of the scene
    There’s Cis, down from Oxford way
    And here’s me, with such a lot to say
    Baby, jump into my dream

  5. 35
    Erithian on 23 May 2012 #

    If only we had somebody who posted on this site who might know… :)

  6. 36
    Tim on 23 May 2012 #

    I think this is a reference to my place of work, excitingly: http://www.masonandtaylor.co.uk/

  7. 37
    Erithian on 23 May 2012 #

    – and the final venue of last December’s pub crawl too!

  8. 38
    pink champale on 23 May 2012 #

    #34 I heard it as “Kat mocking Pete Baran”, which would also be good!

  9. 39
    Mark G on 23 May 2012 #

    No it wouldn’t.

  10. 40
    Chewshabadoo on 23 May 2012 #

    I’d forgotten you used to be at freakytrigger.com before it got nicked.

    Good to see it’s now “Blog with rich informations you needed.” ;D

  11. 41
    LondonLee on 23 May 2012 #

    Not been commenting lately because at this point in the Popular timeline I was living in Florida* and well out of the chart loop, but this is indeed a great honour. Can’t wait for the new album. The map on the sleeve, by the way, can be bought as a rather fine poster here. I have one and it’s luverly. Not sure what came first, the poster or the record.

    *Funnily enough, we’re close to the time that I bought my first copy of ‘So Tough’ on cassette at a shopping mall in Clearwater, FL.

  12. 42
    Mike Atkinson on 23 May 2012 #

    There are also tea towels! I bought one last night.

  13. 43
    Tom on 23 May 2012 #

    I heard it as “mocking Pete Baran” too – funny the tricks one’s subconscious plays.

  14. 44
    Mark G on 23 May 2012 #

    oh well. Never mind…

  15. 45
    Kat but logged out innit on 23 May 2012 #

    I would never mock Pete Baran.

  16. 46
    admin on 23 May 2012 #

    some here mocked him in his mocks

  17. 47
    punctum on 23 May 2012 #

    On close listening I’d say it was definitely: “Kat, Mark and Pete Baran,” and sadly for Grouty they might be thinking of Mr p*nk s S*nk*r.

    Then again I initially thought she was singing: “There’s Tom, who made the prophecy” so who can say?

  18. 48
    Crag on 23 May 2012 #

    Brilliant- you should be v v proud, Tom m’boy!

  19. 49
    Mark G on 23 May 2012 #

    I’m sure it’s more likely to be himself, but it’ close enough for me..

  20. 50
    swanstep on 24 May 2012 #

    Is ‘Nabob’ the ideal word in this context anyway? Without ever looking the word up specifically, I’d always gathered that a Nabob was a corrupt ruler of some kind, so that ‘Nabob”s more like ‘demagogue’ or ‘dictator’ than it is like, say, ‘Duke’ or ‘Sultan’ or ‘Governor’. I’ve mainly, in fact, heard the term used in the Spiro Agnew condemnatory phrase ‘Nattering Nabobs of Negativity’ from which it always seemed clear that nobody would describe him- or herself as a ‘Nabob’.

    Looking up the term now, wiki says (idiotically, ungrammatically – so very sic.):
    A Nabob is an Anglo-Indian term for an East India Company servant who had become wealthy through corrupt trade and other practices.

    But other on-line dictionary resources seem to plump for a more neutral, ‘Governor’-like meaning. At any rate, the term at least leaves room for ambiguity that’s unhelpful I would have thought (perhaps inviting the Alex Petridis’s of the world to miss or skew the song’s affectionate tone).

  21. 51
    Erithian on 24 May 2012 #

    The first context in which I heard the word (and there haven’t been many since) was in the part-work magazine “The Story of Pop” circa 1974, which refers to Johnnie Ray having been dubbed “the Nabob of Sob”. I know from previous discussions on here that Marcello collected “The Story of Pop”, and since Bob is only a few months younger than him, it’s reasonable to suppose Bob might have read it himself. Makes sense for a pop obsessive to have got the word from there, or from subsequent knowledge of Johnnie Ray’s career.

  22. 52

    Who, or why, or which, or what, Is the Akond of SWAT?
    Is he tall or short, or dark or fair?
    Does he sit on a stool or a sofa or a chair,
    or SQUAT,
    The Akond of Swat?

    Is he wise or foolish, young or old?
    Does he drink his soup and his coffe cold,
    or HOT,
    The Akond of Swat?

    Does he sing or whistle, jabber or talk,
    And when riding abroad does he gallop or walk
    or TROT,
    The Akond of Swat?

    Does he wear a turban, a fez, or a hat?
    Does he sleep on a mattress, a bed, or a mat,
    or COT,
    The Akond of Swat?

    When he writes a copy in round-hand size,
    Does he cross his T’s and finish his I’s
    with a DOT,
    The Akond of Swat?

    Can he write a letter concisely clear
    Without a speck or a smudge or smear
    or BLOT,
    The Akond of Swat?

    Do his people like him extremely well?
    Or do they, whenever they can, rebel,
    or PLOT,
    At the Akond of Swat?

    If he catches them then, either old or young,
    Does he have them chopped in pieces or hung,
    or SHOT,
    The Akond of Swat?

    Do his people prig in the lanes or park?
    Or even at times, when days are dark,
    GAROTTE?
    O the Akond of Swat!

    Does he study the wants of his own dominion?
    Or doesn’t he care for public opinion
    a JOT,
    The Akond of Swat?

    To amuse his mind do his people show him
    Pictures, or anyone’s last new poem,
    or WHAT,
    For the Akond of Swat?

    At night if he suddenly screams and wakes,
    Do they bring him only a few small cakes,
    or a LOT,
    For the Akond of Swat?

    Does he live on turnips, tea, or tripe?
    Does he like his shawl to be marked with a stripe,
    or a DOT,
    The Akond of Swat?

    Does he like to lie on his back in a boat
    Like the lady who lived in that isle remote,
    SHALLOTT,
    The Akond of Swat?

    Is he quiet, or always making a fuss?
    Is his steward a Swiss or a Swede or Russ,
    or a SCOT,
    The Akond of Swat?

    Does like to sit by the calm blue wave?
    Or to sleep and snore in a dark green cave,
    or a GROTT,
    The Akond of Swat?

    Does he drink small beer from a silver jug?
    Or a bowl? or a glass? or a cup? or a mug?
    or a POT.
    The Akond of Swat?

    Does he beat his wife with a gold-topped pipe,
    When she let the gooseberries grow too ripe,
    or ROT,
    The Akond of Swat?

    Does he wear a white tie when he dines with friends,
    And tie it neat in a bow with ends,
    or a KNOT,
    The Akond of Swat?

    Does he like new cream, and hate mince-pies?
    When he looks at the sun does he wink his eyes,
    or NOT,
    The Akond of Swat?

    Does he teach his subjects to roast and bake?
    Does he sail about on an inland lake
    in a YACHT,
    The Akond of Swat?

    Someone, or nobody, knows, I wot,
    Who or which or why or what
    Is the Akond of Swat!

  23. 54
    punctum on 24 May 2012 #

    The first time I ever saw the term “Nabob” was in Frank Richards’ Greyfriars School books, as applied to Hurree Jamset Ram Singh, one of the many reasons why these books are difficult to find today (the Nabob of Bhanipur IIRC).

  24. 55

    In which we all discuss nabobs and nawabs and billy bunter (till the gunpowder ran out of the heels of our boots)!

  25. 56
    punctum on 24 May 2012 #

    Mostly we seem to have discussed Julian Cope there.

    It would be interesting to hear a Cope remix of “Over The Border.” “Roky Erickson. Roky Erickson from the 13th Floor Elevators.”

  26. 57
    Tom on 24 May 2012 #

    Yes when I hear “nabob” I think “the nabob of sob”!

  27. 59
    Mike Atkinson on 24 May 2012 #

  28. 60
    swanstep on 24 May 2012 #

    Heh. Thanks to everyone for setting me right about ‘nabob’. It seems like its neutral reading predominates, so SE are right on. (I’d have voted for ‘Sultan’ though in any band meeting on the topic! If only I’d been at all fastidious about lyrics in my wretched-pop-song-writing youth.)

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