You won't have a single atom left to call your own

Robyn Hitchcock has given us a great many peculiar gifts over the years, but few are quite as peculiar as a thing I learned about this week.

First, I don't know how it is that I've gone nearly a whole year without talking about Robyn Hitchcock.  It's a dreadful lapse and requires correction.  Here he is with his band The Egyptians in 1985, playing "Kingdom of Love," a song he wrote for his earlier band The Soft Boys in 1980.  I don't know why the videographer is so much more interested in Andy Metcalfe, but it's worth watching nonetheless:

I'm grateful for this video because I've been listening to "Kingdom of Love" for decades and I've never figured out that the line is "I would travel all through time and space/just to have a butcher's at your face."  I always heard "butcher," and couldn't figure out why this love song got so aggressive in the last verse.  But "butcher's" is Cockney rhyming slang for "look," and now it all makes sense.

Hitchcock is beloved, prolific, and has a really sad success-to-talent ratio.  He's less famous today than he was in 1985, and he wasn't very famous then.  He and Andy Partridge just released a lovely record (Planet England) that nobody's listening to.  It's just wrong.

It could be because Hitchcock's idea of a love song is, "You've been laying eggs under my skin."  He's a surrealist of the first water.  Sadly his brilliant opening monologue to Jonathan Demme's Storefront Hitchcock isn't on YouTube, but the minotaur segment is, and if you haven't met him, it's a fine example of what's going on inside his very weird brain:

So, one more thing I need to you to hear before I head to where I'm going today is the excellent "I Wanna Destroy You," from the Soft Boys' Underwater Moonlight (1980):

Despite the Ramones-ish refrain and the ringing guitars, it's at best punk-adjacent, a bit of angry psychedelia that's much closer in tone to early Pink Floyd than to the Sex Pistols.  It's a song that many artists have covered over the years (Uncle Tupelo and the Replacements, notably).  Including the Circle Jerks, the LA punk band whose bass player, Zander Schloss (not his real name), had a notable turn as Kevin in Repo Man.  ("There's room to move as a fry cook!  I could be manager!  King!  God!")

Which is how this outstanding artifact of the 90s exists.  Remember that time that Debbie Gibson stage-dived at CBGB?  No, neither did I.


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