For 9 to 5 office worker drones, Fridays often have a curiously paradoxical vibe, featuring simultaneous boredom at still being stuck at work while the imminent weekend beckons, and excitement due to that imminently beckoning weekend. One thing I’ve often found that’s helped me make it through those last few tantalising hours to (temporary) freedom was inventing rubbish band names, and over a couple of years or so I built up a list – a list which I share now for the delight of you, dear reader, in all its meta-pretentious glory:
- Proton Pump Inhibitors (stern EBM from Chichester)
- Thee Luftwaffe Thinmints
- Surgery Bombshells
- Thee Jane Horrocks
- Bury St Edmunds Divorce Unit
- Japanese Knotweed
- Habermas and the Public Sphere
- The Perfecitonists
- Dead Metaphors
- Chocolate Fireguards
- The Moon on a Stick
- Bollocks on Wheels
- Solicitors on Wheels
- Bollocks on Stilts
- Stilton Wheels (jangly indie from Mumbai)
- George Is In The Fridge And We Can’t Get Him Out (Nu-motorik meets free-form collectivist jazz from the founders of the Grimsby School)
- Derek on Wednesday
- Your Mum on Thursday
- The Tuesday Welders
- Without Prejudice and Subject to Contract
- New Age Sex Freaks (half a dozen denim-clad psych-rock jamming mountain-dwelling longhairs from West Virginia that change their name to Acid Grassland when the lead singer’s wife, an earth mother hippy called Flower (real name) joins in on flute)
- Nigel and Susan (6-piece crushingly heavy doom/sludge metal outfit from Northampton, obvs)
- Blanket Condemnation
- The Water Table
- Cars You Never See Anymore
- Chairman Mao’s Handwriting
- The Plan marked ‘A’ on the Copy Provided (‘Angular statistical analysis rock at its most angular and statistical. And analytical.’ – Shittocks fanzine)
- Barbara L’Arbre and her Macabre Candelabras
- Penoid Inexactitude (Californian thrashcore punk)
- Gonadic Catastrophe (Californian thrashcore punk)
- Testosteronal Demolition (Californian thrashcore punk)
- Venetta Get Back in the Pram (Stereolab-influenced pop from Gothenborg)
- The Deep Vein Thrombosis Band
- Ultrabuttocks (Ozric Tentacles meets ramshackle but enthusiastic squat party techno, the band decked out in pound shop “cyber” stylings featuring the post-ironic use of tinfoil as a signifier for “future”) (Their new, and so far only, album ‘WARNING – ULTRABUTTOCKS’ was mired for years in a legal dispute regarding the band’s name (see below) but should be released on Laxative Tapes ‘soon’.)
- Expecting White Space – debut album Elucidating the Vibrational Fingerprint of the Flexible Metal–Organic Framework out ‘soon’ on Haemorrhoid Industries
- Eileen and Wendy (Britain’s only plastic spoon chamber orchestra, from Leeds)
- International Sex Brigades
- Show Me The Invoices
- False Vacuum Fiascos
- Traffic Signal Faults (jangly doom/sludge metal from Bolton)
- Ablaut Reduplicants (more post-ironic grot party futurism, but this time the band members are festooned with bits of old circuit boards and red LEDs) (rumoured to consist entirely of members of Ultrabuttocks but because everybody including the band(s) has been so out of it when they’ve played, nobody’s entirely sure)
- Migratory Toads
- Fork Hunts
- Pom Pom Macoute
- Lower Back Pain
- Bradley Walsh’s Ultrabuttocks (after a lengthy, costly and ultimately futile legal argument with the ‘original’ Ultrabuttocks as to who came up with the name first (of which the Ultrabuttocks mentioned above have been entirely unaware from start to finish due to being so out of it), lawyers for both sides agreed on this name as a suitable compromise.) (Bradley Walsh was unavailable for comment yesterday.)
- Pruritus Ani (who, perhaps inevitably, have released a cassette of lo-fi harsh noise (‘Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc’) with a grainily photocopied monochrome cover featuring a photo of two unsmiling young men standing in front of a war memorial) (initial copies included a signed certificate of meaninglessness)
Luftwaffe Thinmints appeared in my mind about 20 years ago when my girlfriend at the time asked me how to pronounce ‘luftwaffe’ .
Surgery Bombshells is from the front cover of one of those lurid ‘Take A Break’ type magazines.
Ultrabuttocks is based on a band I saw at the George Robey back around 1995 called something like Genetix. They were an Ozric Tentacles spinoff doing Shamen-style techno/guitar crossover stuff in a distinctly post-ironic style that I really enjoyed. We’re talking wraparound shades and a certain smirk suggesting ‘we’re not taking this entirely seriously’ that paradoxically made it all brilliant. I thought that I’d found their cassette on the main record collector site Discogs once despite the fact that there are quite a few Genetixes on there, but annoyingly I can’t find it there now.
Traffic Light Faults is the heading of a notice on the front of an electrics box by the level crossing near where I live. I noticed that the vowel intonation in that phrase has an up, up, down intonation which led me to Ablaut Reduplicants, which I decided would be a good alternative version of Ultrabuttocks.
I think entry 37 may have been at least partly inspired by the missing short film in Peter Greenaway’s The Falls, which is supposed to have 93 short biographies in it but skips one entirely, no reason given. (I’m not really a fan of Greenaway these days but I’ll happily make an exception for The Falls, and would say that if you haven’t seen it, please do.) Maybe there’s a bit of John Cage in there too, with the implication that the band in question have taken 4′ 33″ out of the concert hall into, well, everything, even though that’s kind of what 4′ 33″ was about anyway. Or something.
Bury St Edmunds Divorce Unit was rubber stamped on a court bundle I saw at work a few years back.
False Vacuum Fiascos is a phrase in Jim Holt’s book Why Does the World Exist?
Proton Pump Inhibitors are a type of anti-ulcer medication. I’ve been on one since 2009 due to developing an ulcer that I suspect in part was due to cooking ever-hotter chilis con carne (or veggies) over a period of years, along with stress and drinking too much.
Habermas and the Public Sphere was the title of a book that my girlfriend in the mid-90s studied as part of getting a social work qualification. I saw it on her bookshelf, and imagined a large sphere in a town centre, perhaps a modern art installation, maybe somewhere in Holland or Belgium, and Habermas had something to do with it while not being its creator, perhaps he commented a lot on it, and the author of this book had in turn written about the relationship between Habermas and this sphere, and clearly the relationship was so important the publisher agreed to publish it. Maybe it included a chapter on the modern ballet dance performance that took place at its opening ceremony where the dancers all wore one-piece white body suits with a hole for their face – alas, we’ll never know, as none of these things ever happened.
Cars You Never See Anymore and Chairman Mao’s Handwriting were thread titles in a discussion forum I used to post on.
Expecting White Space was an error message that cropped up (just once and never again) on the work database (a kind of database hapax legomenon) – their album’s named after a research paper I found on the internet.
Venetta Get Back in the Pram was an overheard comment at the Victoria Station M&S, barked by a fratefully posh-sounding woman at her small child, who’d gone on the loose and needed to be brought back to her buggy.
At one point I had a markedly irascible boss who portentously snapped ‘show me the invoices’ at me for some reason, which I found inexplicably amusing (I nearly started laughing at the time but thought better of it as he was so very very cross about whatever it was he needed to see those invoices for).
If you don’t know what pruritus ani means, I’ll let you look it up.
And so, to round things off in a Rabbi Lionel Blue way, I would say that you know, isn’t it funny how in a very real sense, repurposing random guff can be a good way of changing the mundane into something magical, or mildly amusing anyway. The raw material is everywhere, and can be encountered at any time. And it can be a decent way of dealing with otherwise climb-up-the-walls boredom on a Friday afternoon at work (and if you type it up at your desk it even looks like you’re doing proper work – it helps not to smile while you’re doing it though…)