Wednesday, October 18, 1995

"Susanne" parody

(to the tune of Leonard Cohen's Susanne)

Susanne takes you down
to a conference with her lawyer
She hands you a subpoena
Life was hard, but now it's harder
And just when you mean to tell her
She can shove her damn subpoena
She says, "Listen Jack, you owe me
I will carve out every penny,
Every dime"

And she wants to take your money
And she wants to take your time
And you know that she's all crazy
And she thinks that you are rotten human slime

Susanne calls your girlfriend
And tells her you have herpes
She calls you at the office
Screaming "Fuck you" on the fax machine
So everyone can hear it
And the boss says
You will solve this, won't you Jack?


And you want to leave the country
And you want to lose your mind
But there's no nuthouse to go to
Only psychos in the alley
Besides which you have children
That you want to send to college
It's that time


Susanne took you down
When you were young and dumb and horny
You were married, then you broke up
Now she wants to pay you back for all that time
She's like something on Geraldo
Psycho stalking to kill Waldo
Like Simon in the Wayback
You just wish there was some way to undo time

And she wants to get her payback
And she wants to fuck your mind
She is calling, she is calling
And you'll pretend that she's not loony
One more time...

Sunday, October 8, 1995

Never Mind the Sex Pistols, Here's the Bollocks

ANNOUNCER: At last, the band had a name. The Bollocks. What they lacked was an identity. Were they glam rockers, session men, unemployed? Who knew? It would take a serendipitous appearance at an East End club in early 1974 to find their identity -- and give birth to punk rock.

Nasty Chunderton, the seminal Bollock, recalls the events of that night.

NASTY: We hadn't eaten in four months. That cave was badly designed.


NASTY: The exits were not clearly marked. They didn't have those glowing red signs that say "Exit."

ANNOUNCER: Tell us about the club.

NASTY: Shiny place, very trendy. Not at all like a cave. We was behind this, like, vending apparatus, me and me brothers -- right at the back. Nigel and Rigel set about trying to tip the thing for the purpose of nicking a few of them flat marshmallow tasty cakes, whatever the fook you call 'em. Had a picture of the fooking moon on it.

ANNOUNCER: Moon pies?

NASTY: Nah, I don't think that's it. Anyway. So they're rattling, I'm watching the stage.

ANNOUNCER: The first act?

NASTY: Wouldn't call it an act, mate. Strictly amature night. This fooking sing-along contest. They had this, like, new machine from Japan.


NASTY: Nah, that ain't it. Point is, we're professional musicians. But we had to wait for the fooking amatures all done up with glitter on their faces. Lads mostly. Bit of a glam crowd.

ANNOUNCER: Quite an insult.

NASTY: Yeah, well. Into every life some shit must fall. Sometimes you dodge it. Sometimes you eat it.

ANNOUNCER: This was one of those times.

NASTY: Yeah. This was our big break, see. Management -- a balding gent resembling Mr. Toad -- had graciously agreed to put us on after the singalong if we promised not expose ourselves.

ANNOUNCER: That's what he told you?

NASTY: No! That's what he said! Anyway. There we were, behind all these David Bowie clones without the talent. When they shut up, we go on. So we wait. Picture it. Three starving punks -- before there was even a word for punks -- shoved as far to the back as Mr. Toad could shove us. If the universe had an arsehole, we were in it. Like a fooking boozwah singularity, know what I'm saying?

ANNOUNCER: Yes, of course.

NASTY: You do? Or are you just fooking saying that 'cause you're a fooking music critic and you want me to keep talking for your fooking documentary freak show?

ANNOUNCER: The former.

NASTY smashes a beer bottle on the table and holds out the jagged end.

NASTY: What was I saying?

ANNOUNCER: You were a suppository of authenticity in a black hole of social pretension.

NASTY: Yeah. (laughs - a symphony of bronchial damage) Just testing. (drops beer bottle) So, my brothers are shaking the trapezoidal box of insta-snacks, I'm watching the stage -- as much as I could see over the back of all these heads. I'm waiting me turn, waiting for the fooking singalong to end. Then, hello. The lad at the front starts doing that Mott the Hoople song. Y'know? The one Bowie wrote.

ANNOUNCER: "All the Young Dudes."

NASTY: No. that ain't the one. (sings) "Lalala. All the young dudes. Boogaloo tunes."

ANNOUNCER: Yes. "All the Young Dudes."

NASTY: Oh. Pardon me, sir. I thought I was telling the story.


NASTY: "Lalala." Rattle-rattle-rattle. On and on it went. Had to piss, y'know? Had like three pints in me saying, like, hello, you must return us to the stream of life to renew the cycle of beer. But I'm a right zen master I am. I showed my bladder who was boss. Where was I?

ANNOUNCER: You were describing the birth of punk.

NASTY: Funk?

ANNOUNCER: Punk. Punk rock.

NASTY: Right. Yeah. Anyway ...(thinks hard) So I'm watching the stage and waiting me turn like a fine young idiot. Then ...


NASTY: Yeah then. Not now. Then.


NASTY: Then, (thinks) Yeah. All of a sudden, I notice the robot singalong is going over its allotted time. My blood boils. I'm ready to crack skulls. But me mates are getting nervous. Apparently, they'd just crushed the Maitre D' under the vending machine. Even so, the fooking singalong won't end. On and on it went.

ANNOUNCER: How did that make you feel?

NASTY: I experienced the urge to kill. But in a creative sort of way.

ANNOUNCER: A creative urge to destroy.

NASTY: Not at all. No. The urge to destroy. Creatively. It's not the same thing. Then, out of nowhere, I hear a song in me head. Plain as day.

ANNOUNCER: Ah. And that's the moment you took the stage?

NASTY: No. That's the moment Mr. Toad bursts out of his back room where he's been counting his money. Starts screaming at us, totally hysterical. "You goddamn punks! You killed my Maitre D'!" etcetera. "Punks" he keeps calling us. Repeating himself. "Get out, you fooking punks! Get out of my fooking club -- fooking punks! We don't need your punk rock!" The glam lads agreed. We were beaten, choked and subjected to personal abuse -- and we'd never even played a bloody note! I gave as good as I got but they fooking outnumbered us.

ANNOUNCER: Then what happened?

NASTY: Out in the alley, Nigel looks at me. "Well, he says." "Guess we know who we are now." "Who are we then?" says I. "We're punk rockers," he says. Kinda laughs a bit. Then his eyes rolled back in his head. I set the bar on fire and we got on the bus.

ANNOUNCER: And went on to create your first punk recording.

NASTY: No. We left the UK. That fooking snack machine was badly designed -- but who gets blamed? The bloody engineer?

ANNOUNCER: The band.

NASTY: Exactly mate. Fooking manslaughter, eh? It's bad for your career.

ANNOUNCER: What did you do?

NASTY: What any band would do who'd crushed a restaurant employee beneath a vending machine and angered a crowd of glam rockers. We changed our names and went to New York City. The flight was terrible. We get off the plane at LaGuardia, and there's this thing you sign. Name, occupation. Know what I put down?

ANNOUNCER: Punk rocker.

NASTY: Spot on. Had a bit of a laugh about it. A month or so later we hit the clubs. Imagine our surprise when the term caught on. Some fooker at the airport must've seen what I wrote and blabbed about it. Now they were all fooking punk rockers.

ANNOUNCER: Punk rock was raw. No one had ever cooked it. Punk rock was a statement of rage. Rage and disrespect. And a sense of humor. Humor distinctly British. Clever, sarcastic, cynical, self-aware, bitter and looking over its shoulder for the truncheon that will, inevitably, hit. Rooted in the class system. As British as the Union Jack, the Lion and the Unicorn, or diarrhea.

Unfortunately, punk rock had been born in America.

Nigel remembers.


NIGEL: (still with bandages on his face) Well, there we were in New York. The city I mean, not the state. They're not the same thing, it's very confusing. (takes drag on cigarette) A week later, we were actually living in the factory.

ANNOUNCER: Andy Warhol's Factory?

NIGEL: No, just a factory. I think they made clamps or catheters or something.

ANNOUNCER: Before too long Andy Warhol, in fact, did notice the Bollocks. He filmed them -- the only surviving film from their New York period. An eight hour and 17 minute sequence.

Black and white footage. It's silent. The Bollocks sing. In the background, Lou Reed, Andy Warhol and Ultra Violet watch. Lou Reed sneers and says something snotty to Andy Warhol, who snickers. Ralph Nasty leaps off stage and they fight.

ANNOUNCER: Sadly, it was an art film. No sound recording exists.

Rigel also remembers.


RIGEL: Impact. You want me to talk about impact? (he hits his head on the table) That's impact.

ANNOUNCER: I'll pay you ten pounds.


ANNOUNCER: New York City, 1975.

RIGEL: Yeah. I was sitting in CBGBs, that's this shitty bar in New York City with great music. Or perhaps the other way around. I dunno. That whole period is a blur in my mind. All I know is ... I had a three-day hangover and a case of the crabs. A woman with breasts like a pre-Raphaelite goddess had given me a bowl of blue pills. I'd been popping them for hours like candy. Turns out they was candy. Three hours later, I come down with a severe case of insulin shock, on account of I'm a diabetic. What was I saying?


RIGEL: Yeah, right. I'm sitting at this table. (thinks) Ralph starts putting his hand in the candle like J. Gordon Liddy. This band starts playing. The Morons or the Ramones or something. I'm thinking, hang on, the lyrics, if you translate 'em into coherent thought, that's the bleeding class system all over. In the name of everything holy, why are these bleeding Mexicans singing about the British class system? I mentioned this fact to Ralph. He started a sodding fight on the spot. Joey Ramone broke my ribs. But he lost three teeth in the process.

ANNOUNCER: Later, that night, the Ballocks returned to their hotel and collapsed. Nigel recalls the incident vividly.

NIGEL: Rigel was passed out on the floor. His head was lying in a pool of vomit. I moved it to a pool of urine. Then I spotted a notebook in the pool of excrement emerging from his trousers. I picked it up, washed it off and dried it with a hair drier. Then I noticed he'd written something.

ANNOUNCER: What had he written?

NIGEL: Lyrics, mate. The lyrics to a song. Bit redundant, I suppose. You say lyrics, by definition it's a song. You don't write the lyrics to a story, do you?

ANNOUNCER: What was the name of the song?

NIGEL: The name of the song?

NIGEL smiles, takes a drag on his cigarette.

NIGEL: "God Sod the Queen," mate.

ANNOUNCER: Yes, thanks to the toxic effects of high blood sugar and a severe head concussion, Rigel Chunderton had written the lyrics to "God Sod the Queen." After recovering from their injuries, the Bollocks returned to the UK. But not to a hero's welcome.

ANNOUNCER: Nigel knew the lyrics were groundbreaking, if incomprehensible. He showed them to his best friend, Johnny Rotten, along with a demo tape. His only copy. Nigel recalls the incident.


NIGEL: Tell me what you think, I asked him. Read it, Johnny. Play it. Sleep on it. If you like, show it to Sid Vicious. But no one else. Know what he said?


NIGEL: "Hey. You can trust me." That's what he said.

ANNOUNCER: Nigel did trust him. But it wasn't a good idea.

NIGEL: Johnny stabbed me in the fooking back. Stole my best material. Johnny was rotten, he was. I suppose that's where he got the name. (takes drag on cigarette) As may be ... I shoulda known better. The demise of the Bollocks is all my fault. Me brothers have never forgiven me for it.

RIGEL: Yeah, it's true.

NASTY: We do sodding hate him. Yeah.

RIGEL: He hands Mr. Rotten the tape. Next thing we know, that sodding "NEVER MIND THE BOLLOCKS, WE'RE THE SEX PISTOLS" is up in every record store from one end of the UK to the other. We're a laughing stock. The fans turned against us, ripped down our posters, smashed our records. Radio stations banned us; the clubs won't touch us -- all afraid of McLaren's lawyers.

RALPH: All our best stuff was essentially illegal. We couldn't sing our own fooking songs! Except we did. Fook the law eh? "God Sod the Queen."

ANNOUNCER: And when was your first UK performance of God Sod the Queen?

NASTY: 1978, I think. With the Clash. It was part of that film he was making, Joe Strummer, you know. Outdoor concert thing. Some bits about a roadie. I forget the name of the film.


NASTY: Nah, that ain't it. They cut our scene before they even released the sodding film -- just cut the Bollocks right off! That movie went out with no Bollocks at all! Legal difficulties, eh? Malcolm McLaren sussed it out and put his lawyers on 'em. Sodding McLaren. It was our best performance ever, mate. We were touched by God.

ANNOUNCER: Now, tonight, you can judge for yourselves. For the first time on television, we will show this lost performance footage in its entirety. Be advised that this sequence does contain obscenities. Parents and sensitive viewers may wish to shield their ears from the fucking bad words.

Black and white footage with subtitles.

The Bollocks perform spastically --

"God Sod the Queen"

God sod the queen
She's older than Michael Caine's schween

God sod the queen, she ain't 18.
She watches "Monty Python" while England screams

I'll tell you what to do. Don't be told what to do.
Your only future is airplane glue.

God sod the queen. You know it would be keen.
Wrinkled figureheads of state. Make the Man upstairs cream.

No future for me. No future for you.
No future for the man.
Flashing monkeys in the zoo.
No future, no future, though possibly an eternal present.
But no future.
According to Einstein, the past might exist.
As a theoretical reference frame.
On a four-dimensional axis
But getting back to my original point.
No future, though that might change in the future.
God sod the queen.

ANNOUNCER: "God Sod the Queen." It could've been the rock anthem of a generation. It wasn't.

NIGEL: No future. Bit of a laugh. For us, that was true. (takes drag on cigarette) Knock-knock. Who's there? A summons.

NASTY: Yeah. They fined us and charged us for all our illegal performances of our own material. $20 million pounds! I didn't own a sodding toothbrush! McClaren, that fucker. He ruined our fooking lives.

RIGEL: Ralph tried to kill him.

RALPH: Allegedly. (smiles) McLaren, that sodding rip-off artist. "God Sod the Queen" weren't the only thing he stole. That bastard snuck a miniature tape recorder in the cave and captured our whole session. Hid the fooking device in a stuffed bear. Very much like this one.

He holds up an eviscerated PADDINGTON BEAR, stomach ripped open, stuffing spilling out.

ANNOUNCER: You never attacked Johnny Rotten?

NASTY: Nah. He's a little shit. But that's just the way he was.

ANNOUNCER: But -- to set the record straight -- you did try to murder Malcolm McClaren?

NASTY: Well. Trying ain't good enough, is it?

ANNOUNCER: Tragically, Ralph Nasty attacked Marshall McLuhan by mistake. The noted Canadian media critic survived. Ralph Nasty spent ten years in prison and was released. He immediately tried to kill Canadian stop-motion animator, Norman McClaren, and was sent to prison for another ten years. Paroled again in 1993, Nasty went on to write his best-selling memoir, "Bollocks to You," followed by "Swift Kick to the Bollocks" and "Cooking with the Bollocks."

RIGEL: Nigel and me got straight jobs. I pursued a career in particle physics. He became a dentist.

Nigel smiles toothlessly.

ANNOUNCER: Today, the Chunderton Brothers have moved on. But they remain bitter. In their hearts, they remain Bollocks. And the Bollocks are sore. They're angry Bollocks, filled with throbbing pain.

RIGEL: That whole period of our lives. The punk era. The movement we bloody created. Like a dream it was. Total sodding waste.

NIGEL: Nah, not a total waste. We did cut a record.

NIGEL holds it up.


ANNOUNCER: How many did you cut?

NIGEL: One. Like I said, we cut a record. This is it mate. The only copy. It's extremely valuable.

ANNOUNCER: No it isn't.

NASTY: Yeah, it is. And you're gonna sodding buy it, mate. (slams a stack of paperbacks on the table.) And me fooking books as well. Get out your sodding checkbook.

He does.

ANNOUNCER: This is Alastair Rathbone for the BBC.

Saturday, October 7, 1995

Meet the Bollocks

Montage of photos and clips from the punk era.

ANNOUNCER: Patti Smith, the Ramones, Richard Hell and the Voidoids. We remember these names. There is one name many still don't remember: The Bollocks. Who were they? Tonight, we're going to find out. Join us now as we ...

TITLE: (cut up letters) Meet the Bollocks.

Jangled, edited footage of punk musicians and clubs from the mid-1970s. Blaring, full-throttle music.

ANNOUNCER: The Bollocks defined the punk rock era. The era destroyed them, then forgot them. The Bollocks remain controversial to the few insiders who still remember. Just mention the name "Bollocks" to the giants of punk rock. You will definitely provoke a reaction.


BILLY IDOL: They ... No. I want to start over. Tell him to get my good side.

PATTI SMITH: Ghosts, you know. What's a ghost? Maybe the dead speak to you or maybe it's just your subconscious. Or maybe the dead are haunting your subconscious. I checked, but they're not in there, man. I'm sorry to hear they died.

ANNOUNCER: They're not dead.


JOHNNY ROTTEN: You got a lot of fucking nerve, man. Those books are fucking lies. Get that thing out of my face! (smashes camera)

JOEY RAMONE: They were lousy musicians but they could fight.

DEE DEE RAMONE: (O.S.) Ask how come there's three Bollocks. (snickers)

JOEY RAMONE: You ask him, man. Don't be a pussy.

JOHNNY RAMONE: I always considered myself the fourth Bollock. (laughs)

JOE STRUMMER: They had no class. It's the ultimate assault on the class system.

Hold on still photo of Marshall McClaren. Audio continues over.

ANNOUNCER: To legendary Canadian punk rock music performer Marshall McClaren, the Bollocks are especially painful. He declined a face-to-face interview. Here's what he told us on the telephone.

MARSHALL MCCLAREN: (audio only) Documentary? "Alastair Rathbone," my ass. What's your real name?

ANNOUNCER: That is my real name.

MARSHALL MCCLAREN: You think I'm stupid? You're working for Ralph, right?


MCCLAREN: Bullshit. OK, "Alastair." You can tell Ralph I don't want any trouble anymore. I'm not going to sue him. You can also tell Ralph I got the best security money can buy. If he breaks the restraining order, they shoot to kill. One more thing?

ANNOUNCER: Yes, Mr. McClaren?

MCCLAREN: Tell Ralph he can go fuck himself.

ANNOUNCER: Sid Vicious refused to comment.

Shot of Sid Vicious' grave.

ANNOUNCER: Ralph Nasty's recent series of memoirs have fanned the flames of this long dead controversy. Today, the Bollocks are on everyone's lips. But who were they, really? Let's go back to the beginning.

Montage of black and white photos of London clubs in 1973.

ANNOUNCER: In 1973 London was sleeping. Not quite burning yet. But definitely asleep. Then a band burst on the scene: The Bollocks. Lead guitarist, Nigel Chunderton, his twin brother, Rigel, the bass player and their half brother, Ralph Nasty, the lead singer. They were the original punk rockers. They turned the rock world upside down.

Nigel Chunderton remembers.


ANNOUNCER: How did London respond to your music?

NIGEL: They didn't hear it, not at first I mean.

ANNOUNCER: In Ralph Nasty's latest memoir --

SHOT OF BOOK: The Bollocks: More than a mouthful.

NIGEL: Ah, that. Those books of his. (snorts) Ralph like to make things up.

NASTY: Are you calling me a liar?

NIGEL: No. (whispering) Christ, he's here?

NASTY: Are you calling me a fooking liar?

NIGEL: Not at all Ralph, no. Good to see you, mate.

NASTY: No, it ain't.

NASTY hits NIGEL with a chair.


ANNOUNCER: You were saying?

NIGEL: Well. (looks around to make sure NASTY isn't there) We were playing at the cavern.

ANNOUNCER: Ah, the legendary ...

NIGEL: No. Not the fooking bar in Liverpool. A proper cavern with stalactites and bat shit and whatnot. Our manager got us the booking, so we went. Ours is not to reason why, eh? We played our sodding hearts out that night. There was no one there. There was no electricity. But we played anyway.

ANNOUNCER: According to noted music critic and stuffed animal Paddington Bear, despite the lack of an audience, a movement was born in that cave.

PADDINGTON BEAR: It was very loud. Dear me. That cave was very echoey.

ANNOUNCER: And the echoes continue to this day?

PADDINGTON BEAR: No. I think it stopped.

ANNOUNCER: Musically.

PADDINGTON BEAR: I don't hear any music.

ANNOUNCER: A musical movement?

PADDINGTON BEAR: I suppose they did move. A little.

ANNOUNCER: The punk rock movement, you stupid bear! It was born in that cave! That's what you said before I turned this thing on.

PADDINGTON BEAR: Don't hurt me! I'm only a stuffed animal.


NIGEL: We lived on guano for the next four months. Then we left and paid the manager a visit. "Who are you," he says. "The band," says I. "The one what you sent to that cave." "What band," he says? I know a lot of bands. What do you call your band, anyway?" The question had never occurred to me, to any of us really, but I made up an answer on the spot. "Bollocks," I said. He replied, "Bollocks to you too, mate." I said, "Bollocks. No, seriously. The Bollocks. That's the name of the band." He laughed. Ralph ripped his head off and then he stopped.

MANAGER: (a ring of stitches around his neck) I told them to get lost and play in a sodding cave. I never dreamed they'd take me seriously.

ANNOUNCER: I suppose you gave them their start.

MANAGER: I suppose I did.

Sunday, October 1, 1995

Magic Beaners

An oafish looking farmboy comes leading a cow. A salesman in a loud, checked suit studies him. Yeah, I know it's an anachronism.

SALESMAN: Say, farmboy. That's a fine looking cow ya got there.

SIMPLETON: Duh, thanks.

SALESMAN: Where you headed.

SIMPLETON: To market.

SALESMAN: You selling the cow?

SIMPLETON: Duh, yeah.

SALESMAN: For money?

SIMPLETON: I guess so.

SALESMAN: (snorts) Money's for chumps, son. What you need are these here magic beans!

SIMPLETON: Duh? Magic beans? C'mon, mister. There's no such thing as magic beans.

SALESMAN: Sure there is! See?

He holds out the sack. The sack is labelled "Magic Beans." The SIMPLETON reads this out loud.

SIMPLETON: "MA-GIC BEAN. ZIZ." OK. How do they work.

SALESMAN: How do they work? That's science talk! Don't you believe in God?

SIMPLETON: Duh, yeah.

SALESMAN: Well, there you go! These beans work the same way!

SIMPLETON: What way is that?

SALESMAN: Believe, kid! You just gotta believe! If you believe in the beans, they work!

SIMPLETON: What do they do?

SALESMAN: You name it! These beans'll cure cancer, regrow hair and improve your sex life.
If you got one leg shorter, it'll make it grow longer. Or make the other leg shorter! Whatever you want!

SIMPLETON: I don't know, mister.

SALESMAN: You don't gotta know! Just believe, kid! That's all you gotta do. These beans'll turn your life around, kid. These beans are jam packed with the rich choclaty goodness of est, Eckankar, Scientology and Oral Roberts combined. They got the power of visualization and all seven chakras. You put em in the ground and they'll grow a giant beanstalk. You can climb up to the clouds and come back with a talking harp, a sack of money and a chicken that menstruates golden eggs.

SIMPLETON: You mean like God's magic chicken?

SALESMAN: Nah -- the beanstalk don't grow that high, kid. It's OK to steal from the giant, he's a foreigner. Let me sing you a song!

Don't check the price
Don't kick the tires
Just believe what I tell you is true!
You'll have all that you ask for and all that you need
If you only believe in the beans.

Believe in the beans
Believe in the beans
Believe in the magic beans!

SIMPLETON: Believe in the beans.

SALESMAN: Believe in the beans!

SIMPLETON and SALESMAN: Believe in the magic beans!

SALESMAN: Well, do you? Ya gotta believe in the beans, or they don't work.

SIMPLETON: I believe in the beans!

SALESMAN: Great. Give me your cow.


SALESMAN: Fantastic. (hand him sack of beans) Here you go!

SIMPLETON: Thanks mister.

They shake hands.

SALESMAN: See you later!

The SIMPLETON runs off.

SIMPLETON: (OS) Look, ma! I got a sack of beans!

MOM: (OS - Monty Python "Pepperpot" voice) Beans?

SIMPLETON: (OS) Yeah, ma. They're magic beans!

MOM: (OS) You bleeding idiot. You traded the cow for a sack of magic beans?

SIMPLETON: Stop hitting me!

He whistles. Some guys roll up with a cart.

SALESMAN: (OS) Speed it up boys. Let's get Bessie outta here. I got this thing about life expectancy.