When Scolar joined the band he brought with him this perennial masterpiece, and it soon became the band theme-song. We even made an 5/1 scale model of a bicycle and covered it in fake leopard-print fur, which we then suspended from the ceiling at gigs. For years, every set we ever played began with this song. Why?
Whereas Fluffy Bicycle was comprised of random words vaguely rhyming with the last syllable of Bicycle, this song only had randomness in its favour. It was never once played.
Another of my adolescent obsessions was, of course, the Vietnam war. Me and my mate Ross used to go to the video shop and rent a different Nam film every week. Like all my other obsessions it soon found an outlet in the form of an inane song. I remember making up the words on my paper round, although such a reminiscence is of no interest to anyone. We once recorded it at Chichester College, and managed to find a 7-foot Russian called Ivan to play flute on it. Although I never got to meet Ivan, his beautiful improvised melody line still haunts me to this day.
This song was written by someone called Ollie who went away to boarding school and changed his name to Jamie. When he returned he had to change his name again because everyone still called him Ollie.
When Scolar and I did our own school newsletter, we started to get pissed off with all the people who never bought it and just read it after their mates had finished with it. This song was intended to discourage such behaviour. It warned that the Soldiers of the Basin would make small incisions in the chins of those caught reading someone else's newsletter. I wanted it to sound intimidating so we sung to the tune of The Teddy Bears' Picnic.
A rare diversion into the realms of experimental acapella. At one time Scolar used to make up loads of really annoying, infectious little tunes - which he would sing to deliberately irritate people. I thought it would be a great idea to superimpose them all on top of each other, and make a song out of it. I was wrong.
I once pretended to be a diplomat from Indonesia in Hove Town Hall, where I orchestrated a deal with all the middle-eastern nations to force the U.S. to sell us arms at reduced prices, and the motion actually got passed in a big vote at the end of the day. It was part of a 'Model United Nations General Assembly' (MUNGA). Bruce Kent was there who is a rather famous UN person apparently, and he was giving out free copies of his book 'The Global Village'. It occurred to me, after reading it, that the best way to achieve world peace was to focus on a concern everyone has in common, such as food. The song is about the diplomatic advantages to be gained from appreciating the cuisine of different cultures (France: Brie, Belgium: Chocolate, Russia: Vodka, Africa: Rice). It also starts with a big quote ripped from Bruce Kent's book about a Rabbi and trees.
Take one of the best pop songs ever. Change the words so that it's about cheese, play it really badly, and this is what you get. I don't know what it is about food-stuffs and world peace that makes me confuse them so. We also recorded this one at Chichester, and when Scolar went in to sing on it we discovered the producer was a massive John Lennon fan. I can still recall seeing his head sink into his hands through the glass of the studio window.
"Oh" was an expression Scolar and I used a lot at the time, particularly when someone was telling us boring things. If you said it with the right amount of sarcasm, whilst tilting your head slightly forwards, it was a devastating retort. Although it had a brilliant tune, this song was only ever funny to me.
One time, Scolar was disgusted at someone in school because they confessed to not knowing what a 'pike' was. To those of you who are equally ignorant I will explain. As well as being the name of a fish, the word 'pike' refers to a weapon used during the late medieval and renaissance periods. It was comprised of a long wooden pole, sometimes 12-foot in length, with a sharp metal spearhead (with optional barb) attached to the end. It was primarily used by infantry units to hinder the advance of cavalry charges. Although its extraordinary length prevented cavalry from closing on the pike-men's ranks, it did mean that they suffered a -3 attack modifier in close combat. The pike can still be seen today, albeit in a token and vulgarised form, in the hands of the Beefeaters who 'guard' the Tower of London. Despite the fact that pikes are generally great things, it continues to baffle me why we sung about them to the tune of Sting's Every Breath You Take. However, the one redeeming feature of this song is that Scolar always insisted on saying "Sundried Tomato Bread" right at the end.
Instead of the normal revelations puberty is supposed to bring, Scolar and I seemed to become very aware of our limbs. We were often concerned about what would happen if one of our limbs fell off, or got mutilated. We projected these fears onto a kid in school, and wrote an article in our newsletter claiming that his limbs were actually false, and made by a company called 'Attach-a-Limb'. This kid then wrote to our problem page confessing that, yes, his limbs were false, and that he had indeed lost them in the Nam. Whether he had actually started to believe it himself, I don't know - but that's what I hoped. The song involved some crap about a mad scientist who abducted children and welded them onto his own body.
This song was once one of our classics, although now it is looked upon as a black spot in our history. Even the very mention of it induces apologetic smirks. The chorus was another of Scolar's annoying tunes, but this one was genius. For him the words 'Nazi' and 'Tea' were probably entirely arbitrary choices, yet when I wrote the verses I foolishly tried to make some sense of it. The only way I could do this was to invent an imaginary beverage developed by the Gestapo, which when imbibed, turned ordinary National Socialists into evil Nazis. The lyrics were horrible and totally without irony, justification or merit. We can only hope to learn from the mistakes of the past.