Thinking about Cliff Richard always makes me mindless with terror, so after yesterday's assorted debacles I decided to vanquish negative vibes by listening to Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots about ah… four times. Fear not for the sanity of my neighbours, flatmates and colleagues - I used headphones.
But there is something about lyrics that boldly strike out for bonkers story-telling territory that makes me happy. Especially when they involve aliens, orcs and denizens of the primal seas at the centre of the earth. I love lyrics that skirt the edge of danger; ever-vulnerable to that one over-wrought line or polysyllabic word that tips them over the precipice and onto the jagged rocks of ridicule. I even love it when they take the plunge, although I'm less likely to play the results on permanent loop.
Perhaps back in the late 60s/early 70s many songwriters didn't give a laughing gnome for vertigo. It's more likely that the mastadon-felling quantity of toasted magic toadstools they consumed had them convinced they could soar like wonky technicolour eagles over the dangerous waters beneath. But man, or rather maaaaannn, did they write a lot of silly stuff. And nothing can cheer me up more quickly than a grown man in a fright wig, platform boots, cape and luminous green tights singing impassioned lyrics about antediluvian druids, Stonehenge and the furry feet of hobbits. Don't knock it, it works.
Part of the fascination lies in trying to decide whether or not they're being serious, since some of the efforts resemble Spinal Tap out-takes. The alternative is marvelling at what might be required to take this seriously. The image forms of hairy people sitting in a circle around a bubbling pot of tie-dye, saying things like, "Wooahh…interplanetary spacecraft…flown by…those are some nice fur leggings maann…maybe with hooves?...uhhh...what rhymes with dolphin?"
Anyhow, in the middle of all of this, it occurred to me that I don't actually have a theme tune for Prague. And it would distress me if I ended up with some hideous or deeply embarrassing default song as a consequence of buying the wrong tape mix or hearing something on the radio one to many times.
Of course now that we have iTunes this is less of an issue than it has been in the past but still, I worry. These things can creep up on a person, and before you know it, "The Horse with No Name"* is irretrievably lodged in some sick, twisted part of my psyche as The Official Theme for This Period of My Life and there's nothing I can do about it.
So obviously as a start I had to google for song lyrics with "Prague" in them somewhere (googling for "Czech" + song lyrics just brings up incomprehensible pop songs and rap lyrics that I'm sure Mrs. Jana would not approve as learning aids). So far, the news is not positive. The best of the bunch is Damien Rice's Prague, but although he does arrangements with a cello (more cello in pop is a good thing, just like there should be more brass in pop too) his style is a little mournful for this purpose. But all this leaves me with so far are:
OMD, Radio Prague
Babylon Whores, Death in Prague
Killing Joke, Jana
Half Man Half Biscuit, All I want for Christmas is a Dukla Prague Away Kit
The Dead Milkman, The Infant of Prague Customized my Van.
Suggestions on a postcard, please.
*Too late for this one - it's already the theme to the summer of '91. Curse you, GCSE music analysis exam. Whyohwhy did you have to pick that year to go all pop-tastic on us?