Something for the Weakened

Archive for February, 2014

The Anagram Song

February 10th, 2014 by Alastair

A couple of months ago my good chum Simon and I hosted the pub quiz we both regularly frequent. As well as co-writing the quiz itself, I also ended up creating a sonic abomination. Here it is.

Anagram Question

Some background – the words of the song have been sung every week before the quiz’s anagram question for at least the past three years. On the occasions that I’ve presented the quiz before, I had gotten them wrong more often than I had right, so making a recorded version seemed like a solution to that potential minor moment of embarrassment. Having no desire to record myself singing or talent to create any accompaniment, I instead took inspiration from a track I’d heard that had replaced every word from the BBC version of Lou Reed’s Perfect Day with a different artist singing that word. I’d provide a link to that now, but I can’t remember who recorded it. Thought it was nervous_testpilot, but can’t find any evidence of that under any of his aliases. Shame really, as it would help to demonstrate what I was trying to do and quite how badly I failed.

Over the course of seven hours or so, I tracked down songs that featured the individual words that I needed to make the song, ripped them from discs, cut out the word I needed, transferred the files from one computer to a slightly better one (whose disc drive had been playing up), put them altogether in order in a single file and then added some gaps to create the call and response sections needed for playing the song in a live environment. After this full Sunday’s work, I played it to my housemate. He could not make out what was going on, but he’d never attended the quiz, so I felt sure that the fault was his, rather than mine. After all, this was an in gag for regulars. They were sure to get it. I played it to my good chum Simon when we were finalising the quiz itself. He could just about follow what was going on, but couldn’t fully make out the words. Just my crappy headphones, I rationalised. When played through the pub’s shitty speakers, surely everything will be fine.

On the night, I did play the song just before question eight. The call and response section was met with silence, except for one half hearted reply on the third “Anagram question.” You have no idea how hard it was to find a song with the word anagram in it. At one point while it was playing a Canadian team visiting the pub for the first time shouted out, asking whether there was actually a question contained within this horrible racket. The indifference became a little too much for me and I bottled out of playing the Gardner’s Arms refrain right at the end, so this is the first time I’ve let those out into the open.

It’s a long way from being a brilliant piece of music and is significantly worse than the aforementioned Perfect Day thing, which you’ll have to take my word for or let me know who done it (if you know who done it). That benefitted from having the instrumental parts of the song surrounding the seemingly random samples, giving it a bit more structure. I think the samples were more carefully picked there too, using a lot more soul artists than I had instant access to, with their far more distinct pronunciations of words than the folk I used. I probably wasn’t helped by some of the more obscure words or spellings used in the anagram song either. Still, it’s a solid concept and I utterly stand beside my decision to steal it.

I briefly toyed with the idea of doing this as a ‘How many artists can you name?’ quiz, but frankly no one reads these less than sporadic burblings these days, so I’ll just list them here now.

A – N.W.A. – Straight Outta Compton

and – Pink Floyd – Us & Them

N – The Residents – N-Er-Gee (Crisis Blues)

A – N.W.A. – Straight Outta Compton

and – Pink Floyd – Us & Them

G – The Residents – N-Er-Gee (Crisis Blues)

R – Tony Ferrino – The Valley Of Our Souls

and – Pink Floyd – Us & Them

A – N.W.A – Straight Outta Compton

and – Pink Floyd – Us & Them

M – Frankie Howard & June Whitfield – Up Je’Taime

Anagram – Massive Attack – Blue Line

Question – Vivian Stanshall – The Question

[Call & Response repeat]

It’s – Syd Barrett – Dominoes

question – Vivian Stanshall – The Question

eight – Pizzicato Five – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 Barbie Dolls

of – The Kinks – Death of a Clown

G – The Residents – N-Er-Gee (Crisis Blues)

K – N.W.A. – Straight Outta Compton

two – Pizzicato Five – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 Barbie Dolls

You – McAlmont & Butler – You

all – Nirvana – All Apologies

know – Smog – No Dancing

what – Monty Python – Do What John

to – Pizzicato Five – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 Barbie Dolls

do – McAlmont & Butler – You

Anagram – Massive Attack – Blue Line

Question – Vivian Stanshall – The Question

[Call & Response repeat]

You – McAlmont & Butler – You

take – Spandau Ballet – True

the – Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band – Joke Shop Man

letters – Radiohead – ┬áMotion Picture Soundtrack

give – Parliament – Give Up the Funk (Tear The Roof Off The Sucker)

them – Pink Floyd – Us & Them

a – N.W.A. – Straight Outta Compton

spin – Vic Reeves & The Wonder Stuff – Dizzy

we stole – The Jam – Thick As Thieves

this – Spandau Ballet – True

song – Public image Ltd. – This Is Not A love Song

from – Kano – 140 Grime Street

another – The Charlatans – One To Another

inn – Bill Withers – Take It All In & Check It All Out

Gardener – The Divine Comedy – Eric The Gardener

’s – David Bowie, Philip Glass & The Aphex Twin – Heroes

Arms – Bardo Pond – Despite The Roar

[Call & Response repeat]

Gardener – The Divine Comedy – Eric The Gardener

’s – David Bowie, Philip Glass & The Aphex Twin – Heroes

Arms – Bardo Pond – Despite The Roar

Plantation – Pixies – Lovely Day

Road – Tony Bennett – The Rules of the Road

And that’s that really. Good bye and good luck to Ian and Sarah. You will both be sorely missed.