Skip to main content

Guinness – The Drink (World Records)

Here's a wheeze and a half: Guinness are/were a wonky pop duo with tentacles in various Edinburgh College of Art-sired bands, including Commie Cars and Edinburgh Leisure. Armed with John Shuttleworth-style toybox keyboards and wilfully rudimentary bass and de(con) structive guitar, throughout 2016 they produced deadpan absurdist vignettes, some of which were possessed with a tragicomic intent worthy of Tony Hancock.

After seven months they decided to split up, figuring that was quite long enough for them to have done their bit, thank you very much. Their last gift to the world is this twelve-track album, released solely on YouTube, although there's a download link if you want one, and it really is pure genius.

The opening instrumental title track somewhat appositely bumps and grinds its way across the dancefloor like very early Cabaret Voltaire, its primitive drum machine, motorik funk bass and wailing banshee guitar giving few clues to what follows. I'm A Zookeeper (Not A Goalkeeper) takes a reggaefied suburban stroll to the careers fair before settling down with a cuppa and some daytime telly in Trish, a sardonic soundtrack for the self-help age as our world collapses around us.

Kinderpunsch opens with a painfully cheery sample from a 1970s TV ad before shuffling grumpily into a withering litany of Christmas-time torpor punctuated with a drunken saxophone that farts its way through the grimmest of seasons. Bowling Green is a thumbnail sketch of pan-generational leisure pursuits, Readymade a sarky dig at art school dilettantism.

For all the bleak humour on show, the insistent delivery of the male/female vocals and little explosions of guitar suggest a more subversive intent. Practical Song reinvents Supertramp's earnest piece of 1970s self-absorbtion as a morbid Mogodon dirge that segues into Coolio's Gangsta's Paradise without batting an eyelid. The manic screech of a viola buried beneath shows just how scary the grown-up world has become. Signs of Life in the Computer confirms it with a plummy-voiced SatNav guide to an existential crisis played out on social media by a chorus of internet trolls.

The Comedian begins with what sounds like someone falling down the stairs before a grim tale of a self-loathing stand-up's rise to the dizzy heights of the London Palladium begins with the line “Do You Ever Feel Like You're Laughing At The Wrong Jokes?” The monologue's sparse backdrop hisses with discordant menace before the punch line comes with the deadly “I Find it all Hilarious But I Never Laugh At All.”

If the band's name hints at drink-fuelled obsessions, it continues with Schweppes Bitter Lemon, an electro-pop Cossack bop of a song which manages to reference Lenin, Putin and an unspecified Czar. In its desire to quench its thirst, a sample of what sounds like a TV shopping channel is followed by a list of all the things on the label that gives the pop its fizz. Scottish Water is an oddly touching off-kilter plea for self-determination through the medium of fresh drinking water north of the border. Finally, Doberman is the shaggiest of dog stories concerning what happens when the song's protagonist walks into a bar. Like the rest of The Drink, what happens next is no joke.

 
Product, December 2016
ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Art School Dance Goes On Forever – Snapshots Of Masters Of The Multiverse

Intro – Snapshots – Deaf School

1

In 1980, the same year as the Manchester band, Magazine, released a 7
inch single called A Song From Under The Floorboards – a three verse
and chorus distillation of Dostoyevsky's novel, Notes From Underground
– an art school scandal occurred.

This scandal took place in Liverpool, and was based around a project
called the Furbelows, although it became better known in the Liverpool
Echo and other organs that reported it as the Woolly Nudes.

The Furbelows, or Woolly Nudes, were a group of artists who had come
out of Liverpool College of Art, who, dressed in grotesque woolly
costumes which featured knitted approximations of male and female
genitalia, made assorted public interventions around the city centre as
kind of living sculptures acting out assorted narratives.

The Furbelows project had been funded by what was then Merseyside Arts
Association, and, after the participants were arrested and taken to
court on obscenity charges after what…

Peter Brook – The Prisoner

Peter Brook is no stranger to Scotland, ever since the guru of European and world theatre first brought his nine-hour epic, The Mahabharata, to Glasgow in 1988. That was at the city’s old transport museum, which by 1990 had become Tramway, the still-functioning permanent venue that opened up Glasgow and Scotland as a major channel for international theatre in a way that had previously only been on offer at Edinburgh International Festival.
Brook and his Paris-based Theatre des Bouffes du Nord company’s relationship with Tramway saw him bring his productions of La Tragedie de Carmen, La Tempete, Pellease et Mellisande, The Man Who…, and Oh Les Beaux Jours – the French version of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days – to Glasgow.
Thirty years on from The Mahabharata, Brook comes to EIF with another piece of pan-global theatre as part of a residency by Theatre des Bouffes du Nord, which Brook has led since he decamped to Paris from London in the early 1970s. The current Edinburgh residency has alr…

Romeo And Juliet - Shakespeare's Globe Comes to Glasgow

Open-air Shakepeares are a summer-time perennial of the theatre calendar, attracting picnicking audiences as much as midges. More often than not, such romps through the grass are frothy, heritage industry affairs designed to be accompanied by strawberries and cream and not to be taken too seriously. Shakespeare’s Globe theatre company look set to change such perceptions when they open their outdoor tour of Romeo And Juliet in Glasgow next week as part of the West End festival.

For the two young actors taking the title roles of the doomed lovers, it will also be something of a homecoming. Richard Madden and Ellie Piercy both studied in Glasgow prior to turning professional. Indeed, Madden has yet to graduate from the acting course at RSAMD, and, as well as facing the pressures of playing such a meaty role in close proximity to the audience, will have the added anxiety of being assessed and graded by his tutors.

“This is the end of my third year,” says Madden following a Saturday mornin…