Sunday, 18 May 2014

Cut and Paste

09:39:00 Posted by Shaun Brookes , , , , , 2 comments

This week on the blog we've been looking at music. I used to think that music had a lot in common with poetry because, at the end of the day, they both have lyrics set to a rhythm but, in trying to piece together the blog today I've noticed that there has always been a lot to learn from music- and that I've always enjoyed learning it, even if I hadn't realised. 

If I told a class of children that poetic analysis might have a lot in common with a club remix, they'd try and eat me alive. I wouldn't get a chance to explain that by unpicking the piece you can work out just what the key parts are and that, given the proper care, they can be highlighted further with an edit. They would probably gawp at me if I asked them whether words have quite the same meaning when not accompanied by a guitar solo, a powerslide or a saxophone. Do these elements of performance translate to poetry and without them, do the lyrics hold true at all or can they be reshaped and take on different values? 

Thinking on these lines led me to compile the kind of list I haven't made since my early twenties. I assembled all the 'influential bands' I could remember, flicked through my records and picked out some of my absolute could not live without artists. Below then, is a compilation of lyrics and words taken from some of my favourite artists- all out of context, all lacking riffs and kicks and all reformed into some kind of cut and paste found, stolen and salvaged poem. 

There are 27 artists in all, with two of them having an extra lyric. I've been nice in alternating the colours when the performer changes so with that in mind, have a go at unpicking the piece below- and don't be using google!

Cut and Paste

I'm so happy 'cause today
I've found my friends ...
They're in my head
Slowly walking down the hall
Faster than a cannon ball
We smoked the last one
An hour ago

I'm pushing an elephant up the stairs
I'm tossing up punchlines that were never there
Get up, stand up
That's how it goes
Everybody knows.
Well, it ain't no use to sit and wonder why, babe
We gotta move these colour TV's
Smoke some fags and play some pool, 
Pretend you never went to school
We don't need no thought control
The beautiful people
The beautiful people.

Like a drunk in a midnight choir
I've seen fire and I've seen rain
I could be one of your kids, white America
Don't let it go to waste
I love it but I hate the taste
Commencing countdown, engines on.

I don't need your civil war
It feeds the rich while it buries the poor
So if I can shoot rabbits
Then I can shoot fascists
An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth
And anyway I told the truth
This is what you get when you mess with us

He's got morning glory, life's a different story
Everything's going jackanory
They call it paradise, I don't know why
You call someplace paradise, kiss it goodbye
And you realise then that it's finally the time
To walk back past ten thousand eyes in the line

I'll show you a picture 
A picture of tomorrow
Paradise put up a parking lot
This is our destiny calling now
Smashing up the woodwork tools
Don't think twice, it's alright

Say you stand by your man.

Thanks for reading, S



Colin Davies said...


Lyrics have long been a passion of mine. This 'salvaged' poem demonstraights the qualities found in songs, and being as some of these have come from what many would consider "throw away pop" it goes to show that wonderful lines of poetry can be found in the least likey of places.

So from todays scramble creatures
Lost is tomorrow's double features
Wave goodbye.

vicky ellis said...

I wouldn't have guessed that Joni Mitchell would make your 'can't live without list'...Respect.

Interesting blends that say a lot about you. I hadn't thought about found poetry that way before.