Wendy Wetlip stares from a poster
Ignoring the drawing adorning her smile
Her lover has shuffled away
Looking the other way
Ronnie the Raincoat hangs out in a book store
He's never seen his own wife in the nude
Somebody called him depraved
But think of the money he saved
Dwarf on a moped speeds through the park
To Killroy's Renaissance the Temple of Art
Signs with a flourish and makes it his own
Pockets his pencil and slyly rides home
Annual cultural African dancers
Bereft Isabella in rubber thigh boots
A man was arrested today
For something he put on display
my favourite bonzo's song - and i never knew it was actually about duchamps, similtaneously one of my favourite artists and one of my favourite chess players. i thought they just used it as a daft title like with 'rhinocratic oaths'. but those lyrics are actively beautiful, even more so now i understand them. there was such a great tension between niel innes and viv stanshall - not like usual songwriting partnerships, they actually seemed to be heading in quite different directions with very little middle ground. innes was all beatley and psych-pop - this is clearly an innes composition, which he also sings - while stanshall seems to me to have more in common with gilbert and george than most musicians; he was his own work of art, although perhaps the artwork swallowed the real man and left a confused mess who tragically died in a mysterious fire in his flat.
so now i know wendy wetlip refers to the mona lisa, the temple of art is a public lavatory, and the final rhyming couplet refer not to flashing, as i always thought, but to art scandal. which just goes to show how bloody broad the bonzos were - writing songs about flashers in the park and societal misfits is well within their established work, look at 'postcard' for de-romanticised sauciness and 'rhinocratic oaths' or 'my pink half of the drain pipe' for revelling in glory of pettiness. still don't understand ronnie the raincoat, but it makes me think of the release of lady chatterley's lover, all those queues of men in macintoshes. can anyone shed light on 'kilroy's rennaissance'? 'bereft isabella'? some of these references are so obscure.
the song comes on 5 minutes in on this vid:
ps. i've said it before and i'll say it again: niel innes' solo career after the bonzos paled in comparison to viv's. yeah, it was sub-stanshall.