Tuesday, 16 June 2009
278: Bonzo Dog Band - Trouser Press
(Disregard the images in the video)
“Trouser Press” by Roger Ruskin Spear
From "The Doughnut In Granny's Greenhouse" (1968) by The Bonzo Dog Band
The Bonzo Dog Band were one of the delights of my late teens. (Balls to U2 and INXS. So very heartfelt, and so very loud: Woah, woah, feelings, with the amp turned to eleven). Intelligent nonsense and parody will always win over turgid rock n’roll sincerity, in my book. (My book is ‘Ulysses’, if you must know.) Every one of their records (five in 1969 -1972) is just crammed with gags, throwaway weird effects, songs that demolish whole genres of music. There’s so much happening in just this one silly little song. However, it’s the spoken word bits which must attract our attention today.
One, two, three, kick!
Come on everybody, clap your hands
Ooooh, you're looking good
Are you having a good time? I sure am
Do you like soul music?
Well, do the Trouser Press, baby!
You’re so savage, Roger!
Ecstasy, Bruce, ecstasy!
This rather effeminate camping about is in contrast to the raucous noise of the main part of the song. These bits are spoken by Joel Druckman, a temporary member of the Bonzos. He was also American, which may go a little way to explaining “Ecstasy, Bruce, ecstasy”, since as I’ve pointed out on several occasions Americans will not be dissuaded that “Bruce” is an innately Gay name. "You're so savage" also seems to be a 1960s West-coast gay stereotype too. The Bonzos weren’t averse to little liner note gags about “Hairstyles by Maison Poov”.
Viv Stanshall’s early performances made for a decidedly camp stage presence, posing on stage in attitudes which don’t just grab your attention but hold it hostage (he had studied under Lindsay Kemp), essaying assorted upperclass drawls. Vide his rather fey Elvis impression when performing “Death Cab for Cutie” on the Beatles’s film of “Magical Mystery Tour”
While I must go and try figure out everything that’s happening in “Rusty (Champion Thrust)” – “Marty and Frank were just full of this Gay Front. They just wouldn’t stop talking about it. What’s with this Gay Front? I mean I only just got the front painted up. Jezuz, aint that gay enough?”