John Walker's Electronic House

Rum Doings Episode 46

by on Oct.21, 2010, under Rum Doings, The Rest

Episode 46 of Rum Doings begins with confusion over Ghostbusters cartoons. It turns out that Nick was talking about this, while John was talking about this.

Not being discussed this week: Staycations. But Nick does want to discuss synthesised theme tunes. After quite a long diversion into this week’s vile drink, John steers the conversation toward the Insane Clown Posse. This video being key:

This was inspired by a wonderful article by Jon Ronson, which you can read here.

Then it’s time for Nick’s polemic against Poetry, which gives John an excuse to rage about how much he dislikes Poetry Please.

And now here’s your homework. A full critical analysis, and what it means, sent to our email address. By Tuesday morning, please.

An ode to the tcp/ip protocols.

A war of ice but doomsday thaws beneath
A map of ink, once breached, a world unsaved;
A frigid winter beckons, deadly wreath
To words not launched, so bombs subsume the grave.
But missiles questing on their morbid route
Still need some tangled speech to guide them through
A chain of words in terminal pursuit
But wordly packets glitter forth like dew
They spread themselves betwixt the frosted blades
Fecundity of knowledge jumbled up
Re-formed at every end in liquid braids
Of speech now flowing into Man’s shared cup
For Cerf and allies thought it for the best
That flames be naught but datagrams of text

We consider if accents can be racist, ban “How are you?”, and complain about dreaming. Then Nick sings for us. And then completely ignores John’s attempt to sing back. There’s a teaser for a future discussion of CAP Alert, and then thoughts on Mary Poppins.

Tweet it, Facebook it, as strangers on Formspring about it. Do whatever it is that makes the internet work. And writing a review on iTunes makes us happy in our tummies.

If you want to email us, you can do that here. If you want to be a “fan” of ours on Facebook, sigh, you can do that here.

To get this episode directly, right click and save here. To subscribe to Rum Doings click here, or you can find it in iTunes here.

Or you can listen to it right here!


22 Comments for this entry

  • Jonathan

    Stop making new episodes — I’m way behind. Does Nick need another holiday, perhaps?

  • Bryce

    No, don’t stop!
    Thank you kindly.

  • Dan Milburn

    I’m not particularly big on poetry, but have been to see John Hegley at the Edinburgh Festival the last couple of years and he is excellent. He does audience participation and songs and is funnier than a lot of stand-up comics. Also, not northern, unless you consider Islington to be the north..

    I’m not sure why people writing to request poems to be read out is worthy of mockery, given that every music radio station I’ve ever listened to plays requests.

  • Arthur

    An alternate theory about Poetry Please (a show I admit I’ve never heard): Everyone who is calling in knows that the only other people are listening are people who are interested in poetry. So calling in and requesting a poem is an act of sharing among a group with a common interest. If you think of it like a message board, it’s that sticky thread called “You’re favorite videogame moments?”

  • John Walker

    Exactly, Hegley is a stand up comic. And we’ve decided he’s Northern.

    And I say exactly how stupid it is to request songs on radio stations in the part of the episode to which you refer.

  • scotchmi_st

    I agree with Arthur! It might be egotistical of the callers to Poetry Please to think that a particular poem is worth sharing with the proletariate, but then isn’t all human expression egotistical in a sense? Also I quite like poetry, and I don’t think that the worth of something should be measured by how hard it is to do.

    Lovely episode!

  • Vague

    “How are you?” is probably my most hated question. A grasping attempt at small talk, which inevitably only leads to a dead end after both parties say “fine”. People should try to come up with good responses each time. One of the better ones is “Dangerously well”, but I tend to stray towards “Could be better, could be worse” and see if people respond with “What’s wrong?” or “Good”.

  • MrTwitchy

    Possibly it went though multiple generations that I’m not remembering, but wasnt the Tomorrow’s World theme an orchestral segment from The Divine Comedy’s “In Pursuit of Happiness”?

  • Xercies

    I have ever listened to Poetry Please but I don’t mind the poetry they put on that Saturday program on radio 4 which I forget the name of now, those are usually entertaining enough I have to say.

    Oh and as for the ICP, these guys have made a parody video which is pretty good.

  • Geejay

    “How are you?” is better than “how’s it going?”, “allright?” or even worse “aight?”

  • TSA

    Requesting songs on the radio is a tradition from a time where that was less dumb. Giving the public access to the radio station’s record collection and to music that wasn’t otherwise available.

  • mister k

    I bumped into a friend at the supermarket the other day, and was feeling a bit dazed, as I usually do when I meet people while shopping (I shop in an efficient manner that leaves no room for human contact). He said hi, commented on my shopping, I on his. There was a moments silence, and then

    “I’m fine thanks, how are you?”

    … Ah the passive aggressiveness of the British person.

  • Dan Milburn

    John: So you did, I missed that first time round. I still don’t agree.

    Why must it be about ‘educating the proles’? Why not about sharing something you love with others? Maybe you’re right – I’m not going to second guess the motivations of people who write in to a show I will never listen to, but I really don’t see why you have such a problem with a radio show’s content being listener driven.

  • Jambe

    I don’t care enough about poetry as a discrete “art form” to seek it out, but that’s a matter of taste. Had I been brought up by a family of writers my outlook might be different. fwiw, though, I find “poetry” in plenty of writing and singing and derive similar reactions from the boldness of, say, expressionist paintings.

    Also, I find the staid patterning of rigidly structured poetry almost painfully dull. Yes, Shakespeare and the lot of it. I can appreciate the nuance of such writing and in some instances its utility wrt the pacing and flow of theater, but regardless, it sounds extremely silly. Again, a matter of taste.

    I think you’ve made your point about Art with a Capital A. It’s pretentious. But this really isn’t revelatory. Ancient philosophers debated the nature of originality and their modern counterparts still do, but now we’re also looking at the issue through the lens of various developing sciences of the mind.

    Call-in shows are necessarily populist and thus crappy. I don’t know that callers are inherently pretentious, though. Surely some are just flaunting their knowledge, but many folks call in just to hear Pop Song #5384 for the fiftieth time or to ask that Spring Rose be read for their dearly-departed relative.

  • Alex

    You mentioned the Simpsons theme as an example of TV orchestral music done right, begging the question of what you thought of the ‘new’ Futurama score (it hasn’t aired in Canada yet,so no spoilers, please!). In case you hadn’t noticed/hate the show, one of the conditions of bringing it back on a cable channel’s budget was to axe the live music and force their composer to fake it all on his computer.

  • Rosti

    Will be listening to this today – before I do I think it’s important to add one thing to the ICP discussion. This video is *perfect*:

  • Kirrus

    I don’t really ‘get’ poetry, it invokes no emotional reaction, normally.

    Nick’s TCP/IP poem did make me chucke though :D
    (It’s a description of how traffic is sent across the internet. Sort of. It’s complex. )

  • EthZee

    The theme to History of the World in 100 Objects reminds me of the incidental music from the Broken Sword games. Which is a positive association for me.

  • James B

    Nice episode although your hatchet job on Poetry Please! is a pale shadow of the “Peter Blind” episode that remains your finest hour.

    Perhaps I’ve imagined the exclamation mark after the show’s title. It seems somehow apt though.

    Our receptionist has a slight variation on “How are you?” with “Are you alright?” in an immensely annoying singsong voice.

    I’ve fine tuned my interruption over the years: “are you…”, “In a hurry, yes”, “keen to speak to Mr X, yes”, “fucked off by you always asking me same question with no desire at all to hear a meaningful reply, also, yes” (okay, not yet used but being saved for my last day at work).

    Posted in the sincerest desire that you do feel appreciated after your somewhat plaintive appeal for feedback a couple of episodes back.

  • Nick Mailer

    John: a friendly reminder.

  • devlocke

    I DJ at a radio station and I really like getting requests. I think you are a meanie, John Walker. When people call and make requests, I get feedback on what I play, and I get to let someone who might not own the song hear it, and sometimes I get turned on to something I’ve never heard of.

    I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a request from someone who was trying to “educate the proles.” That is a huge assumption on your part. (Music) Radio is a dialog between the station and the community, when it’s good. If the community doesn’t talk back, it’s letting itself down, and both parties suffer.

    It’s also worth pointing out that lots of people – ESPECIALLY people who listen to the radio, these days – don’t have access to the internet, and even the people who do might not have access to all of the songs they’ve ever heard instantaneously. I don’t. As far as I know, anyways – apparently that’s how Spotify works, but we don’t have Spotify in the US, a proxy seems like more hassle than it’s worth, and similar services I do have access to here are much more limited in what they’ll play.

    Finally, if someone wants to hear a song, I’d rather they hear it on my show than cut my show off to listen to something on their lonesome. I like having an audience, and I like it when my audience likes my show.

  • Mrs Trellis

    Similarly to Nick, I was always able to produce good poetry at school but was then and still am not in the least bit interested in doing it “properly.”

    I also find my eyes skimming over poems when I see them in the middle of prose text. I think it developed as a self-preservation technique when I attempted to read the Silmarillion.