Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Shell Shock

          Things have been a little heavy around here of late so as a way of lightening things up I thought I’d take the time out to introduce you to a couple of friends of mine and consider their role in the world of popular music. Meet Ruby and Donny – a couple of red-footed tortoises who happen to live in my house. Well, that is they belong to the youngest Tin and spend half their lives trying to escape from living in my house.

          I’d be the first to admit that I wasn’t too sold on the idea of a tortoise – its hardly a rock'n’roll pet is it ? I mean I can see the appeal of walking down the road with a panther on a leash, cuddling a crocodile or even perhaps keeping a wombat as a conversation piece (See the glorious Retronaut here)* but a tortoise – I mean what do they do…? except live for an incredibly long while?

           I was wrong of course and over the years have grown to love and respect these little Chellonians, they – anthropomorphically speaking – have such great personalities, they don’t say a lot but they do manage a fair bit of body language for an animal mainly encased in a hard shell. Strangely, and this is true, they respond to my voice and come over when called….OK I know you don’t believe it but its true, apparently they respond to the lower  register so I’ve tried cheering them up by playing some dub to them – it seems like they appreciate the bass and are especially fond of Sly and Robbie.

          Troublesome? You’d think not, but Ruby here escaped at the end of the summer – on my watch as well – never have I had a more panicky 48 hours searching before the kids returned. I sought her there I sought her here to no avail, wanted posters went up around the streets and at the eleventh hour the nice punky lady down the road found her in their garden…relief (and a considerable reward paid out since I really was ready to shell out (sorry) for a replacement that I might be able to pass off as the original).

          But what of the tortoises role in rock n’roll ? Sadly my research didn’t turn that much up – there’s the band Tortoise of course, although they aren’t that much to my taste, there’s also a few folky type songs about tortoises and hares (showing up the paucity of original ideas in folk), but generally speaking they don’t feature on too many tracks. Turtles on the other hand have a plethora of songs, and of course the band, named after them. But we won't go there.

          So the main contribution of the tortoise to musical history has to be one of the strangest and finest covers by one of music's strangest and finest lunatics/visionaries – I refer of course to Mr Julian Cope and his classic album Fried – with Saint Julian labouring under a tortoise shell for a reason that probably seemed like a very good idea to him at the time. Now you’re gonna tell me it’s a turtle shell, just save it and let me believe !

          As for songs – like I said not many – but this does give me the excuse to post the following classic from The Cramps – suitably enough from that wonderful album Songs The Lord Tortoise (possibly…).

You ain't no punk you punk....

* for the record I really don't like the idea of keeping big wild animals as pets...before the ALF start picketing the house....

1 comment:

  1. Nicely cheered up, thank you! Bless their little red-footed cotton socks. How could tortoises and Cramps fail?! Been trying to think of tortoise songs but the nearest I can get is... erm...Porpoise Song... well it's only one letter away and such a great song, does that count? ;-)
    I do believe you about them coming when you call 'cause mine did too. I loved Timmy so much I had it that I felt sure I would marry him one day - it seemed perfectly viable to my child's mind. I'm sure Saint Julian would understand.