Thursday, December 17, 2015

I had always,somewhere at the back of mind, wanted to write something about Stump, mostly about what a superb lyricist Mick Lynch was, a man who now will mostly be remembered for repeatedly singing “big bottom” on The Tube.


When A Fierce Pancake first came out I was a bit disappointed; the Holger Hiller production was a little too monochrome and unmoored for me, lacked the drive and colour of Quirk Out or the fiercer elements of Mud On a Colon (Ice the Levant is essentially a retread of Release the Bats) Later I appreciated that as an album about depression personal and political in all its shades of grey, about trying to keep body and soul together in the money grubbing  80s, the pressure of poverty and bad habits on relationships, and the flights of  fancy, willful absurdity and gallows  humour  needed to get through, it was something of small, sui generis masterpiece. The  album it reminds me of most, oddly, is the Blue Orchid’s vastly more euphoric and acid-fuelled The Money Mountain. If the Orchids  were still riding the diminishing blast  waves of the Sixties on through to the early Eighties a Fierce Pancake’s ashen, punch-drunk psychedelia was more attuned to the drained, queasy, scattershot state of the counterculture by the end of the decade.


A Fierce Pancake, Wikipedia informs me, was Flann O'Brien's term  for “a  deep conundrum”, the conundrum of how to go about being an artist and an avant-gardist as the 90s arrive, and here’s perhaps the reason why it’s  easy not to look too closely at Stump or Lynch’s lyrics, there’s  a superficial or surface wackiness that has prevented a proper critical appraisal.


As a small personal tribute I have tried to transcribe the lyrics to Heartache, a brilliant, punning conflation of personal and political states .Though I can't quite get the bit where the vocal effects kick in.


Nothing grows in the shadow of heartache
House plants wither, time grows old
Entropy is a lousy friend
When you are in from the cold and at your wit’s end
It’s a leech, it’s a landlord calling for the rent
demanding the loot when you're already spent.


when hunting a headline means walking a breadline
when you're strangled on a shoestring,
blisters on a new thing (?),hooked
by fine line
wriggling


Nothing grows in the shadow of heartache
House plants wilt, time grows old
Entropy is a lousy friend
When you are in from the cold and at your wit’s end
It’s a leech it’s a landlord calling for the rent
demanding the loot when you're already spent.


meet me and (?) the wound won’t heal
well that’s the rub of the deal
so much for chemistry
you’re just a suppository
for a pile of old memories


It’s a leech, it’s a landlord calling for the rent
demanding the loot when you're already spent.





3 comments:

tom said...

nice

essaykings.co.uk said...

Your poem made me think on the account of the eternal things. It provokes it by means of content and the very structure that prompt the unrelenting thoughts! thanks a lot!

learnandsing said...

Mick was definitely an under-rated lyricist

My Stump Oral History and Radio Doc can be found here:

https://medium.com/@learnandsing/lights-camel-action-the-story-of-stump-3746f101dd8b#.thd57y1ps