You’re obliged to pretend respect for people and institutions you think absurd. You live attached in a cowardly fashion to moral and social conventions you despise, condemn and know lack all foundation. It is that permanent contradiction between your ideas and desires and all the dead formalities and vain pretences of your civilization, which makes you sad, troubled and unbalanced. In that intolerable conflict you lose all joy of life and all feeling of personality, because at every moment they suppress and restrain and check the free play of your powers. That’s the poisoned and mortal wound of the civilized world.
– Octave Mirbeau, The Torture Garden
Twenty years ago today, a white-hot-scattershot-masterpiece of pure punk rage was released.
I only discovered it about 13 years ago at the height of my teenage angst at university and it offered the startling consolation of feeling personally understood.
But unlike many other bands and albums I have since loved and lost, it has outlived my hormonally-charged emotions and scarcely a month has gone by when I haven’t listened to it all the way through at least once.
And it only becomes fresher, more relevant, closer to home.
An album that deserves a place in the annals of great art alongside Beethoven and Warhol.
A piece of work that – to quote the sample of J G Ballard explaining the reasons for him writing his nihilistic masterpiece, Crash – that rubs the human face in its own vomit, and then forces it to look in the mirror.
Track 1: “Yes”
You can buy her, you can buy her. This one’s here, this one’s here, this one’s here and this one’s here. Everything’s for sale…
…Two dollars you can rub her tits. Three dollars you can rub her ass. Five dollars you can play with her pussy or you can lick her tits. The choice is yours.
Conservative say: there ain’t no black in the union jack.
Democrat say: there ain’t enough white in the stars and stripes.
Track 3: Of Walking Abortion
I knew that someday I was going to die. And I knew before I died, two things would happen to me. That number one, I would regret my entire life. And number two, I would want to live my life over again.
Track 4: “She Is Suffering”
Nature’s lukewarm pleasure.
Track 5: “Archives Of Pain”
I wonder who you think you are. You damn well think you’re God or something. God give life, God taketh it away, not you. I think you are the Devil itself.
Track 6: “Revol”
Yeltsin – failure is his own impotence.
Track 7: “4st 7lbs”
I eat too much to die. And not enough to stay alive. I’m sitting in the middle waiting.
Track 8: “Mausoleum”
Life can be as important as death.
Track 9: “Faster”
I hate purity. I hate goodness. I don’t want virtue to exist anywhere. I want everyone corrupt.
Track 10: “This Is Yesterday”
Do not listen to a word I say.
Just listen to what I can keep silent.
The only way to gain approval.
Is by exploiting the very thing that cheapens me.
Track 11: “Die In The Summertime”
The hole in my life even stains the soil.
Track 11: “The Intense Humming Of Evil”
Arbeit macht frei.
Teacher starve your child, P.C. approved.
As long as the right words are used.
Systemised atrocity ignored.
As long as bilingual signs on view.