(NB The tracks 'Babies', 'The Charm of Innocence' and 'Baby I've Got News for You' are omitted from this online version)
YEAH it had been one of those weeks where I'd tripped over to Copenhagen for a conference on the Scandinavian Situationists and kinda got caught up in running riots and political repression. I was staying in Denmark and the authorities had declared a state of emergency; which meant the cops were rounding up and deporting non-Danes to 'prove' the burning barricades on the streets were the work of outside agitators…. Well I think the only thing that could have made the situation more perfect was a performance by The Pink Stainless. It's getting on for three years since I last saw them in a Melbourne pub (as far as I know they've never played outside Oz) and the experience is seared onto my brain. Live the band really rock out but it's singer Simon Strong who goes totally ape, putting so much energy into their shows that I end up thinking he must have been Enola Gay in a previous life. If The Pink Stainless had been added to the street warfare going on around the eviction and demolition of a squatted social centre in Copenhagen, then the Danish authorities might have been almost justified in declaring a state of emergency. And me, I'd been distracted from writing notes on The Pink Stainless by my ongoing involvement in throwing flowers and planting trees. A new "People's Park" was not to be, but we tried in Copenhagen, we tried….
Anyway, copying the MP3s of this new Pink Stainless album across from my flash drive to this computer, the order of the songs on the platter somehow got reversed and in this 'Satanic' form the triolectic on which this anti-work is built stands out even more starkly – we thus move 'backwards' from the notion of mind ('mine mine mind') via the emotions ('you've got the best of my love') to the realm of the body ('pump up the volume') rather than vice versa. But let's kick off by dealing with this as The Pinks intended. A New-Fangled Spanner is a post-modern hymn to the proletarianised body, a nostalgic invocation of factory work and the manic geometry of machines. From wage slavery and mechanics we move to the higher realms of sensual pleasure with the Momus cover The Charm of Innocence,; then finally we are lifted to the liquid joys of orgasm, because for Pink frontman Simon Strong "Blutregenbogen" and "I'm coming up your ass" mean exactly the same thing. Indeed, Strong had to emigrate to Oz after calling then British Prime Minister John Major "effeminate". At the time Strong insisted that in his philosophy "effeminate" meant "spirited and hamster-like" but unfortunately the British establishment was enraged, and as a punishment offered him the choice between transportation to Australia, or, the far more terrifying prospect of a "night of passion" with Edwina "Egg Em On" Curry. In fear for his very life, Strong wisely declined the offer of remaining in Blighty in exchange for anti-sex with the "almost woman". John Major be damned, what Oz needed was the strength of The Strong in The Pink Stainless Tail!
Returning to The Pinks' new platter, with Dial 'S' for Sundial we move upwards and onwards from the body and into the realm of culture and the emotions ('you've got the best of my love' indeed), but this track simultaneously links back to the body ('pump up the volume') through its invocation of Alfred Hitchcock's "Dial M for Murder". The Pink Stainless very much want to do away with the murder of the body and the over privileging of rationality in capitalist societies (what Rolf Harris in his Templar anthem "Two Little Boys" denounces as "instrumental reason"), and in "Sundial" they use Bergson's notion of durée to assail the tyranny of mechanised time and digitised culture. Everybody Loves Plasticman takes this tendency further by bursting the bounds of proletarianised post-modern consciousness, and The Pinks then reverse the process with their cover of the Pulp song Babies, an exploration of the process of infantialisation. However, we cannot remain childlike forever, and the transition from 'pure appetite' to the 'life of the mind' (what Pamela Anderson in "Baywatch" theorised as 'erotic speculation') is explored in Please, Miss?, a song which rewrites Hegel's master/slave dialectic through the rubric of gender relations and mass education (not to mention sexual desire, since it should go without saying that I can't think of a time during my secondary schooling when I didn't want to get down between the legs of my history and English teachers to perform cunnilingus – although these days it is, of course, Carmen Electra and Jenna Jameson who function as the focus for my ongoing forays into creative visualisation of this type). The Pinks' fabulous cover version of Baby I've Got News for You thus serves as a metaphorical investigation into the first laying out of historical materialism by Marx and Engels in their introduction to "The German Ideology", while Neil Palmer Knows Where I Live announces the unleashing of the General Intellect. However, rather than escaping the body, through the triadic movement explored on this platter we come to endow it with emotion and intellect, overcoming alienation and finally finding ourselves able to indulge in truly sensuous activity unfettered by the apparatus of morality or the state….. In short, on this here platter The Pinks lay out a blueprint for world wide proletarian revolution with unlicensed pleasure as its only aim!
Oh, and if anybody has Traci Lords' phone number then I'd really appreciate it if they could put her in touch with me, so that she might help me better my understanding of the practice of theory… But for now, in terms of far out sounds, let The Pink Stainless take you as far as you can go! Pass lightly thru the trip, and have a groove today! (Stewart Home)
released March 30, 2008
Recorded and produced by Mark Carson at Dilapidated Home Recordings, Collingwood. Mastered by Paul Fox Mastering. Cover by Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson.